Saturday, July 23, 2016

Mikaela Castledine - Thoughts on Project 366

I joined project 366 because Andrew Burke asked me.
Because I was flattered that he thought my writing to be of a high enough standard. 
Because I believe in participation.
Because I am very aware of the value of belonging to a writing community
And because I am always up for a challenge.

Also, I will admit, I was hopeful that while writing alongside a group of highly regarded poets something good would rub off onto me …and I thought there was a chance that through getting to know you all I might be able to advance my goal of publishing a book of my writing sometime in the next few years.

I have used this description many times but it is still the best analogy I have. Trying to be a writer and an artist is like trying to ride two bicycles up a steep hill at the same time. Both have to be ridden hard and you cannot coast because if you ever stop peddling you will find yourself rolling backwards. For the last few years I have been firmly astride my artist bicycle and with some modest successes it has been rolling along nicely but I have not been able to do much more with my writing career than drag it along by the handle bars with one hand. I hoped that participating in project 366 would help me to do more with my writing than just have it slowly ticking over.

In many ways project 366 it has proved to be everything I wanted. I have been reminded that writing poetry is more a matter of tuning in to the right frequency rather than waiting for inspiration. I am writing every day and, more importantly, I am reading poetry every day but I am wondering if the updated adage of practice doesn't make perfect only perfect practice make perfect, is relevant here.

I have always written poetry – since I was quite a small child and I use it as a tool for recording my thoughts and for untangling my emotions. I have never really sought to hone the craft of it in the way I have with my art. I feel that writing every day, rather than improving my poetry, has shown up it’s inadequacies, the repetition of themes, the constant use of favourite words, predictable alliterations, and a sometimes monotonous rhythm. Though I have written a few pieces I am happy with or feel are worth spending some more time on, some days I feel I am writing just for the sake of writing. I guess what I am saying is that despite adhering to the discipline of posting a poem a day it is still possible to cheat sometimes, to pull out your usual party trick poetry – avoiding learning anything at all.

I hope that by articulating this thought out loud, and perhaps by participating in this metablog, I might force myself to pay a little more attention and exert a little more force on my poetry and generally become a better writer.