I have not been in the habit of submitting my poetry to publications for some time. It has only been in the last couple of years that I have started to reopen my notebooks and take a look at these poems, which were written between 2019 - 2021. They feel like different poems to the ones that I had written previously. They have matured. I have also been looking inwards and writing more about my mental health, than when I was younger. When I was younger I wrote more about the lives, or stories, of other people. I find that fascinating. Stories are great. I have a great interest in the lives of other people. In their stories.
So I type out all the poems that I plan to submit to publications. Having them in one Word document has tended to be my direction of organisation. The only flaw, I have discovered, in that method is when I ‘borrow’ a poem from another document, I then have poems dotted around in several different Word documents. I have a vague awareness of a poem, and what it is about. I have a hunch of the document that it is in if I need to find it. However, early on this week, I lost a poem.
I assumed this poem must have been typed up at some point but I just could not find it. That is not a problem, I thought, I will go and fetch it from a notebook. My notebooks are all stacked in a plastic bag. Accompanied by supplements from magazines, loose pieces of paper, bills, and bookmarks. It is when I started to root through this bag, the task I had ahead of me began to loom large. The loose pieces of paper have somehow multiplied. I was flicking through, reading poems from, well, I must have been a teenager when I wrote them. I was in danger of turning myself inside out from cringing at the words I had written. I then went through the notebooks themselves. The poems in the notebooks are older poems and I thought the poem that I was looking for was a newer one. It was fruitless looking at them, but I did anyway. By this point I had committed myself to doing my annual let's go down memory lane and see if any of the poems have aged well. There might be some hidden gems. (There were some poems of intrigue)
I did not find the poem that I was looking for though. Damn, I thought. Now what? I have vague memories of this poem but there was no chance I could recall it word for word from memory. Right, back to Google Drive I went because, knowing me, I probably scrolled through a Word document too fast or I hadn't left enough space between poems to differentiate them. Guess what?
It was the latter.
How do you organise your writing? Are there any methods you use that are helpful?
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For those who are curious