I have kept my head down lately, trying to complete some half-finished writing projects, not least because there seems to have been an unusually high number of competitions and submission opportunities this month.
I’m still out there, trying my luck with poetry, flash fiction and stories (and wondering if I’ll ever find time to finish my ‘prize-winning’ novel!).
Proof that persistence pays off has been publication this month of my poem in literary magazine Skylight 47. I went down to Galway for the launch with my friend *Jessamine O Connor, who was representing the Hermit Collective, featured in this edition. We both got to read our poems, with a warm reception from a good sized audience, which was a nice way to spend a Thursday evening. The magazine was launched by lovely poet and novelist Penelope Shuttle.
Meanwhile, although I’m rarely short of new ideas, I have recently found myself recommending all writers have a go at revisiting some of their own old work from time to time – after all, why reinvent the wheel? Now that’s not suggesting you go off with someone else’s material, that’s plagiarism and is not what I’m on about here.
I’m talking about how a sideways look at something you wrote ages ago might just present a new opportunity. Often, old work can benefit from a refit.
Just because a story or poem has been rejected by a publisher, magazine or competition, doesn’t mean to say you can’t do something else with it. It may not have been what the publisher or judge was looking for at the time, but if you thought it was good enough once, why not again? And why should one really good idea be confined to a single form?
In my case, I’m often flirting with old flames (literary ones, of course) – I’ve even won a short story competition with a piece that started out as a poem, and I’ve recycled (upcycled?) poems into flash fiction and been subsequently competition shortlisted.
As I said, why reinvent the wheel?
*Jessamine O Connor launches her latest book of poetry ‘Pact’ on Friday, December 8th at King House, in Boyle, County Roscommon (ROI). She’s invited a few other poets to read some of their work too – and I’m one of them. A 5pm start – all welcome!