Archive for 19 January 2014

Planning Blog Posts For New Year

Put plan into actionDespite blogging for a number of years, I’ve never planned ahead with the topics for my blog posts. If a topic presents itself at the last minute, I’ll write about that. If I didn’t have anything to write about, I’ll just muddle my way through. That worked. Unfortunately, the rest of my writing life was the same way. Like writing a daily haiku, one of my initiatives for 2014 is to stay ahead of the curve rather than fall behind the eight ball.

I created a spreadsheet with three tabs: writing blog, personal blog and ebook publication schedule. Each tab has all the dates for the blog posts and ebooks that I plan to publish this year. Looking at the official holidays for 2014, I added the dates that fall before, on or after a particular publication date.

The writing blog has a bi-weekly publication schedule with a single post on Sundays. The first post is 1/5/2014 and the last post is 12/28/2014. The relevant holiday is Ground Hog Day (2/2). I also added the general dates for Read An eBook Week (March), Smashwords Summer/Winter Sale (July), and National Write A Novel Month (November).

The personal blog has a weekly publication schedule with one to three posts on Fridays. The first post is 1/3/2014 and the last post is 12/26/2014. The relevant holidays are the Chinese New Year’s (1/31), Valentine’s Day (2/14), Independence Day (7/4), Halloween (10/31), and Black Friday (11/28). I also added a few personal dates that may or may not result in a blog post, say, the tenth anniversary of my mother committing suicide by breast cancer.

I’m publishing 25 SHORT ebooks (i.e., short stories and essays) on a bi-weekly schedule from January through November and one ebook in December. Since the publication dates fall on a Saturday, I’ll have an opportunity to promote my ebook with a blog post or two.

The spreadsheet will allow me to look ahead across the various dates to see if can write some posts in advance, stay on schedule, and keep track of what gets published.

Writing A Daily Haiku Poem

Catkin In SunlightI wrote various haiku and tanka poems to distract myself while being sick over the holidays. Each poem was a puzzle that I needed to figure out by breaking the words into a specific syllable pattern (5-7-5 for haiku and 5-7-5-7-7 for tanka) that conveyed the meaning I wanted to express. Once the puzzle gets figured out, the poem was almost done (tweaking takes longer).

One of my new initiatives for 2014 is to write and publish a daily haiku poem on tumblr.cdreimer.com, a Tumblr micro-blog that I started to showcase my poems, including all my published poems from Fictionaut and my FREE poetry ebook. The daily haiku poems will appear on Tumblr first. Tanka and free verse poems that I’m not submitting to a poetry journal will appear first on Fictionaut and later on Tumblr.

The nicest feature on Tumblr is queuing my poems for daily publication. I can usually write three to five poems each night. With weird news of the day being the primary inspiration, a haiku allows me to put a twisted spin on that weirdness. If you read any of the original Japanese haikus, the form demands witty commentary on current events. I have ~30 haikus waiting in the queue.

Being on Tumblr means reading the other poets who also post their work there. Some of it is quite strange and very different, probably because I’m not a poet by training or profession. I took many literature courses in college, but I never had much exposure to poetry other than attending an occasional William Shakespeare’s play in the park.

The one time that a poem got dissected in class like a dead frog involved a two-line poem about a red rose with thorns, a pricked finger and a drop of blood.

My reading of the poem was literally what I saw on the page. The instructor insisted that the rose was a vagina, the pricked finger a penis, and the drop of blood was from a girl loosing her virginity. This rather sexiest interpretation didn’t sit well with me, probably due to my lack of sexual experience. I got into an argument with the instructor on when is a rose isn’t a rose, which was the point of this particular textbook exercise.

My enthusiasm for any form of poetry was pricked that day.

During the holidays in late 2009, I was too sick to write prose. With a 15-minute attention span and a restless pen, I tried writing some free verse and haiku poems. Read some books about writing poetry. A couple of editors I knew published my early poems, which became the basis for my FREE poetry ebook. I later went back to writing prose and forgot about poetry, as submitting batches of poems to the journals was a pain in the ass.

This time around I’m more determine to write poetry. Mostly for personal illumination as I study Zen and Japanese history, but also to jazz up my prose and essay writing. I’m also reading “The Haiku Handbook: How to Write, Share, and Teach Haiku” by William J. Higgison. The syllabic form is easy; the nuanced meanings are not as easy.

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