Drumroll, please! The final tally:
82 / 80 poems
14355 / 15000 words
I started ROW80 with a higher word count (20,000), but I revised this goal to 15,000 after Week 3 when it became apparent that I wouldn’t be blogging for the duration of the challenge.
This round, I learned several things. One of which: blogging & using Twitter don’t help to me achieve writing goals. They rather insidiously suck up time; I would write off a few hours spent on Twitter in the evening as “research” or “responses.” I’d respond and respond, and not get any poems written. Giving up Twitter isn’t an option. Professional contacts are important to a writer (and a designer). Friends gather on Twitter, and it’s nice to blow off some steam on a particularly hard afternoon. What I will do from now on is no longer include social media / response goals in my writing challenges. It’s all too easy for me to neglect the important stuff in favor of the “research”. A side-effect of this new resolution: I will also no longer include blogging in my word count totals, unless the blogs are creative, publishable pieces (essays, short fiction, poems, etc). Work blogs, and status updates, portfolio updating…all of that is business or pleasure… the stuff around the writing rather than the writing itself.
The project fared well. I made good strides towards writing the rough draft of my next book. I finished 82 poems, and I can now see the shape of the project. I need at least double that amount of poems to flesh out the narrative arc of the poems’ speakers. In reading a few of these poems back, I can see how inelegantly they are written. It will no doubt take a herculean effort to revise them.
My final realization was that despite my no longer updating ROW80 progress on this blog, participating in the event still gives me structure. Despite my quietness during ROW Round 3, I have not given up on the challenge. To that end, I believe that I will participate in either Round 4 or Round 1 of 2013. Though I may be as quiet as ever, I am still pulling with the rest of my fellow ROWers and I am there with you in spirit.
I hope your challenge was satisfying, and that you can look back on your goals and see how far you’ve come in the past 12 weeks. Good luck to you all!