The Possible Poet – blog by Stephanie Arsoska

Why I am having a Year of Submissions.

I love making New Year’s resolutions, I even have a special little notebook that I fill in on
Hogmanay with the resolutions my husband and I make each year. It’s interesting to look back over the years to see where we have achieved our goals and where we have failed miserably. Not to sound too smug, but I actually have a reasonable rate of success with resolutions (my husband not so much, but then his resolution last year was to have a Christmas Number One – I don’t think he takes it as seriously as I do). This year I wanted to set myself a challenge.

I wanted to do something a bit different. Not just my usual exercise more/eat well/ give
something up resolutions. Those ones rarely last the distance anyway. This year I wanted to do something that would really push me as a person and as the writer I hope to be. So in the run up to the bells I decided 2014 would be my year of submissions. It was time to start sending my work out into the world. And just to push me that little bit further, I set myself the challenge of sending one submission a week for the entire year.

Why did I want to do this? Firstly because it will help me to develop a regular writing habit. I am going to have to create a reasonable amount of material if I am going to have at least 52 pieces of work to submit during 2014. I have wanted to develop a daily writing habit for some time now but to date have struggled with maintaining it. My year of submissions has sparked a morning writing routine, and while I am not filled with joy when my alarm buzzes at 5:30am I am loving the quiet of that part of the day, it is a lovely time to write.

My second reason was because I believe it will give me focus and make me ship my work. I will need to work to deadlines and I will have to meet certain submission requirements such as topic, length or style. No more pages of endless waffling that never see the light of day, I will need to edit, perfect and complete – I need to produce results.

Finally, I chose to set myself this challenge because it fills me full of fear. I am new to writing, I did not do particularly well academically at school and I am riddled with insecurity about the work I create. Often we hold onto the work we make because we are afraid and I am no exception. I am afraid of failure, of ridicule of making a fool of myself. But another part of me knows that growth only comes from feeling that discomfort and pushing through it. I also wanted to take the advice of Ray Bradbury who suggested writers begin, not with a novel but with a short story a week, claiming that it is impossible to write 52 bad stories in a row. I am holding on to the hope that it is equally impossible to write 52 bad poems in a row and that at least one of them will find success. Of course it is entirely possible that I am wrong, and that I will get to the end of the year with a list of 52 rejections, but if that happens I can always take a leaf out of Aptowicz, by Cristin O’Keefe, and write a poem about it.

Biography:

Stephanie Arsoska lives on the east coast of Scotland with her husband and two children. She originally trained as an actor before gaining a BA Hons in Drama, Applied Theatre and Education from the Central School of Speech and Drama in London.  She has worked extensively in theatre and education, and trained to be a Drama Teacher in 2005. More recently she gained a post
graduate certificate in Physical Theatre from Royal Holloway University.

Stephanie writes at her own blog Beautiful Misbehaviour where she runs a monthly virtual open mic night for mothers to perform their creative writing without the need of a babysitter. She was featured in Word Bohemia’s first quarterly journal and in February 2014 she will have a poem published by the Emma Press in their Anthology on Motherhood.

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