I wrote an article I’d planned to post this week. It was a poem on the topic of climate change. Once Was Blood, That River is the title. Yes, I have committed another act of poetry, and shall be punished for my crimes. But, after completing it this week, I changed my mind. I decide not to add it to my blog.

Instead, I decided to submit it to a few markets.

Honestly, I’m not sure if it’s any good. It could suck. Probably does. But I liked it well enough I thought it worthy of giving it a shot. If it doesn’t sell, my website will be waiting to receive it. At some point, y’all will get to read my ramblings.

It’s a stretch for me. Are you stretching yourself? Or are you writing the same things you’ve been writing all along? While I don’t believe in monoliths of writing advice – those “you musts” that some want to carve in stone and fill in the cracks with blood – I do believe in a few things. Things that I think have improved my writing.

One of them is trying new styles of writing. Don’t think you’re good at dialogue? Write a ton of it. Hell, write a whole story that’s only dialogue. Think your world building is weak? Spend a week or a month creating a world without any plan to write about it. Design people and cultures and religions and places. Think your prose is repetitive? Crack open the thesaurus and change things up. Learn new words you can use. Don’t let folks scare you away from the thesaurus, it’s super helpful to avoid repetitive words.

So, I did poetry. I’ve written some before (check under Work on the menu above for the Poetry entry), but never submitted it to any markets. What better way to stretch myself than to try and get it published. Failure will likely mean I write more of it and try again until something sticks. That’s sort of how things work for me these days. Keep plodding along, keep writing, keep trying. See which efforts get a response from folks (especially editors). Not all of them will sell, but all of them are a chance to learn something new.

Stretch yourself. You might surprise yourself at how far your reach extends. And please commit random acts of poetry. We always need more of it in the world.

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