What I learned this year, Part 1

In no particular order.

1) I can’t write Ted Kooser’s poems or Louise Gluck’s poems. I can only write my poems.

2) I can make them much better than I ever think I can at any particular stage of editing.

3) Forward momentum is the single most important thing.

4) I need to read poetry to feel consistently inspired to write it.

5) I don’t write for acceptance. I do it to have meaningful work, and to feel consistently alive. Of course I want acceptance from the rest of the world. But it’s really important to not get those two things tangled up.

6) I wrote about this previously, but it bears repeating: Don’t pursue the result of heightened awareness. Reach for the state of heightened awareness itself.

7) Writing anything generates motivation for writing anything else.

8) Writing anything generates motivation for doing anything else. In writing, I become real to myself. I become hopeful. My choices seem to matter. My life seems to matter.

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