I first became involved with social media a number of years ago when I received the ACNI Artist Career Enhancement Award. Sites such as Facebook and Twitter were recommended as a way to increase artist profile and keep in touch with what was happening – and it’s true – I have built up a network that allows me to hear about a lot of submission opportunities and competitions. On one level, it’s great; never miss a thing and I do love to hear about other poets’ successes and new books. But on another level it induces great anxiety in me. I write very slowly and sometimes long periods of time go by when I don’t write at all. I simply don’t have enough poems to keep up with the opportunities.
Time is a strange thing. In my career as a poet I have always juggled writing with a full time job that pays the bills, with bringing up a family, with other interests and with all the stresses and strains that are part of life. I always seemed to be able to find the time, even if it meant sitting up into the early hours. Even when traumatic things were happening, there always seemed to be time to write. Now time seems to have shrunk – or maybe it’s my energy levels.
I had imagined that as I got older, life would become less frantic, less emotionally demanding, less of a roller-coaster ride. Not a bit of it – if anything it’s more intense. I probably have more time to myself than I used to have – in fact I know I do – but it seems to drift past me in ways it never did before.
Which brings me back to all those opportunities for publication - I’m frustrated with myself that I can’t be more disciplined with myself, that I can’t focus more on my writing. I’m never going to be prolific, but I should be doing more. Time is running out.
So – what can I do? Energy foods? Throw out the TV? Employ a muse that wields a cattle prod?