Here’s a quick plug for this forthcoming anthology from The Poetry Business. I’m so happy to have a poem in it, but I also have a confession to make: I very nearly didn’t submit any poems. Oh, the reasons for not sending work out were endless: I don’t run, I don’t write about running, I haven’t been writing enough poetry lately, I have work but it’s not good enough, etc. I could go on.
Most of the time, I respect my inner critic. I have a lot of bad poems on file and that is where they should stay. However, it’s a fine line between filtering out what works and what doesn’t before submitting, versus holding back from sending work out at all because you fear it isn’t good enough. In The Artist’s Way, Julia Cameron has some ‘Rules for the Road’ for the artist to follow, one being ‘Remember that it is my job to do the work, not to judge the work‘. I like this because it cuts to the chase. It’s so easy to waste time evaluating your own writing, time that could be much better spent on new writing or some other form of creative discovery that will enhance future work. Moving forwards is vitally important. So, listen out for that voice that wants you to weigh every word and then tells you it’s not quite good enough; when you hear it, ignore it. Send the work out anyway and let someone else be the judge.
Julia Cameron, The Artist’s Way: A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity (Tarcher/Putnam, 2002, f.pub. 1992)