A new beginning

Hi everyone,

I promised my writing partners on the book for Benchmark — LYNNE KULICH and TIM RASINSKI — that I would start working on my part (50 new poems, 10 each for grades 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5) by September 1. That’s this Thursday! Turns out I’m running ahead of schedule so I plan to get going on Tuesday.

Photo by Nate Papes

There’s always a nervous anticipation when approaching a new book. I’ve signed a contract. I’m obligated to produce the new material by a specified date. My partners, experts in their fields, will depend on me to provide what they need to do their own work. What they will write also takes thought, research, and time. They need appropriate lead time. If I don’t send them 3-5 poems every week from now until we reach the end, the project could fall seriously behind. Our completion due date is February 3.

My first consideration is, where to begin. Lynne and Tim have suggested some possible themes and I’ll add some of my own. Fifty poems is enough for four trade book collections. Do I pick a grade, 3rd for example, and stick with it until I’ve finished ten poems before moving on? Will that help Tim and Lynne more than if I skip around from grade to grade as ideas come to me? I’ll consult with them. I think I know the answer, stick with one grade at a time, but partnerships involved a lot of chatting back and forth to keep everyone involved and all points resolved as we go.

I’ll be busy for the next several months but not too busy to engage in other projects. Some weeks I’ll have a day or so to focus on other ideas. I’ll also take time out now and then for other matters — trips to Portland in September, the condo in October, Kansas City (The Writers Place), Anaheim (NCTE), a week on the California coast in November, plus things and places I don’t know about now. I do love being a writer.