Stopping Something Old to Start Something New

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Sometimes you don’t know when the last time will be the last time, but as I was slogging through a group project for my Literacy for Emergent Learners class, inundated with texts and emails from group members, I realized that I needed to shift my focus.

When I saw the Writer’s Digest poetry prompt today, where I had to use 3 of 6 words in a list (one of my least favorite prompts, btw), I realized, after three years of participation, that it was time to retire “Writer’s Digest Wednesdays.”  November Poem-a-Day challenge will be coming soon; even though I feel I’ve mastered it, my focus needs to be on finishing school and building my (paying) writing career.  

I’ve always said that serious bloggers should blog at least twice a week, so #Micropoetry Mondays and #Fiction Fridays will be a mainstay, as those posts I can schedule in advance.  My work-school-life schedule has gotten too intense, and I’m ready for the shift to less timely writing projects. 

The time I’ve spent on my Wednesday blog installments has been well-spent—it’s instilled in me the power to meet 24-hour deadlines (which are a must in the incredibly shrinking newsroom), it’s helped me write a ton of poetry I wouldn’t have written otherwise, and it’s helped me cross over the 1000-post threshold—but I’m looking forward to working on longer form projects.  

I can finally work on editing my novel (for about the eighth time).

I will still post my short Instagram poems on weekends and writing tips on my Facebook page, but it’s time to do more “behind-the-scenes” writing on a regular basis.  I’ve already proven to myself that I can write something everyday; now, I want to work on projects that will take at least a week—projects I will actually take the time to edit.

I also want to learn how to illustrate my own work.

I enrolled in University, thinking I would be writing for the student newspaper regularly until I graduated, but I’m shifting focus to freelancing gigs.  I might still contribute an article if I happen to be attending an event that interests me, but creative writing will always be my first love (I don’t have to worry about transcribing audio or having to deal with flaky people whose information or interview I need to write my article).

I realize I’ve spent a lot of time writing for sure things—my blog, the college newspaper, etc.—instant gratification pieces. 

Now, it’s time to get serious and start writing those query letters.   

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Me, in one of my many offices, after a particularly trying day.

The Grammar Girl Returns

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Today is the day I start my Baccalaureate program as a Creative Writing major.  I was fortunate to be able to take two months off from work to read, write, and spend time with my family; I even got to catch up with friends.  I got back into the habit of strength training (as weightlifting doesn’t sound very feminine) and took up water aerobics; I’ve also focused on updating all my online presences (including my portfolio), professionalizing them for potential employers as well as uploading my resumes to all the usual suspects (e.g. Indeed, Glassdoor, etc.).  The university I am attending also provided invaluable feedback on my resume and cover letters.  

After refreshing my Upwork account, I was hired as an independent contractor to proofread documents submitted by Grammarly clients.  Even though I work from home, the job has a very Silicon Valley startup feel, which I love.  I am learning so much already; it’s a great gig.  Though there is nothing quite like being able to set your own hours, walk into the next room to go to work, and never answer a telephone, I will always be the type of person who has to have an outside job where I communicate face-to-face.  I’m a people person who also happens to be an introvert.

In addition to my jobs as an office assistant at uni and as a professional writing tutor, my plate will be full, but it will be full of things I enjoy, and that makes all the difference.  

Writerly and Grammarly,
Sarah Richards, Class of 2022

She’d graduated a Titan
before The New Millennium,
watching her training grounds
as a gladiator
in the public school arena
disappear.
Loosely prepared
to become a Pirate,
she laid down
her educational armor,
only to pick it up again
with eyes wide open,
diving head first
into the land of magnolias,
with their spinach green leaves
& mascarpone white petals.
Now, well-prepared
to become an Argonaut,
her armor fortified
with precious mettle,
she dove once more,
under graying canopies
of Spanish moss.
As a Titan,
she had brought home
the bronze medallion;
as a Pirate,
the silver chest;
but as an Argonaut,
she would put upon herself
the Golden Fleece
& battle with her wits
that had no end.

Poem-a-Day April 2019 Writer’s Digest Challenge #22. Theme: Correspondence #aprpad

Beyond Paper & Pixels: The Theory of Relatability

His favored correspondence was texting–
with its acronyms & abbreviations;
hers was lengthy letters
written in cursive.
Both were considered a form of code
neither could understand–
his without her 9-year old niece
& hers,
without his 75-year-old great-aunt.
When they met & talked to each other in person,
as all human beings should,
he couldn’t speak in shortcuts
any more than she could in cursive,
& they finally understood one another.

https://www.writersdigest.com/editor-blogs/poetic-asides/2019-april-pad-challenge-day-22

Poem-a-Day November 2018 Writer’s Digest Challenge #5. Theme: Private

Rebel of a Lost Cause

When Lily Bedletter ran for political office,
her private life was made public—
her divorce,
her bankruptcy,
her emotionally-Facebook posts—
even the two black eyes
she’d given Susan So-and-So
way back in third grade.
The voters made their judgements—
not by casting stones at her,
but by casting ballots against her,
for they knew so much less
about her opponent,
and the less they knew,
the less they could dislike.

2018 November PAD Chapbook Challenge: Day 5

Sweet Little Nothings

Like someone in person

He’d been a friend of a friend,
till she wasn’t friends with that friend anymore.
She’d liked what he’d collectively share
with 149 other friends,
family,
& acquaintances.
When she finally met him,
keeping her identity secret,
she shared all that he couldn’t touch
through a screen.
“You remind me of someone,” he’d said,
& she knew then
what he would’ve never told her
anywhere else,
for with the 1 sense he knew & liked,
she had put a face with the other 4 he loved.

Writer’s Digest Wednesday Poetry Prompt #414: Connection

Broken Connections

She kept him alive for the world,
breathing through machines.
Through his cell phone she did this,
texting his friends and family
in that language of his she knew so well,
posting on his Facebook account,
Photoshopping and age-progressing his pictures,
crafting the narrative of the life he’d wanted to continue living,
so that people continued to wish him a “Happy Birthday,”
long after he’d had his last.

Wednesday Poetry Prompts: 414