Another year

When I sat down to write this latest blog update, I did so thinking that 2017 has been a quiet year for me as a writer, but it was actually anything but!

In terms of writing, I haven’t spent anything like enough time on new work – the vast majority of the poems I’ve drafted this year were written in two big splurges on Simon Williams’ Poem a Day group on Facebook in April and September. I approached the first as a kind of journal of my month, which worked well as we were busy as a family, especially over the Easter weekend where I got to grips for the first time with the full horrors of a touring caravan (and its harrowing plumbing arrangements…).

In the second month (September), I concentrated on trying to write poems from the little list of ideas I keep on a Google Doc on my phone. I note thoughts down when I don’t have time to sit down and write, which is the beauty of having a phone about my person 24/7; it seems to work better for me than trying to carry a notebook around.

I haven’t yet gone back through the 30 draft poems I wrote in September, but April yielded about 15 poems which have promise, and one which was published in Simon’s excellent The Broadsheet in October.

Aside from that I haven’t really found any kind of rhythm with my writing this year, which is partly due to time constraints and possibly down to the fact that between May and September we were having an extension built at home. Builders traipsing in and out, ripping things down and putting things up with all of the associated mess isn’t really conducive to the sort of peace and quiet I prefer when I sit down to write!

Thankfully, I have found time to submit work to a number of journals, with mixed results. I managed (finally) to get poems into Acumen and The Lake, as well as old favourites like The Interpreter’s House, The Broadsheet, London Grip, Open Mouse, Amaryllis and Ink Sweat & Tears. I’ve also had work published in new journals like Smeuse and Atrium. I’ve tried several times, without success, to get into Antiphon, Envoi and Thrush (a US online journal), but I expect I’ll try again!

I’m not sure if anyone’s interested in this kind of thing or not, but my submission stats for 2017 were: 28 submissions – 13 acceptances – 1 pending. You can read most of the poems I’ve had published this year over on my Published Work page.

Hopefully, now that I’ve decided to close Clear Poetry, I’ll have a lot more time and general head-space to get into a writing routine. I’d like to try to write more prose next year, probably flash fiction and short stories for the time being as I don’t feel like I can commit to a novel at the moment.

I’ve been enjoying writing in response to the monthly images posted on the excellent Visual Verse website, and I’m going to try and produce 12 new pieces of work based on their selections in 2018.

I also plan to return to Jo Bell’s excellent 52 poetry workbook and follow her weekly prompts throughout the year.

2018 is going to be a big year for me publication-wise because my first full collection, We Are All Lucky, is going to be coming out early in the new year. I’ve seen two sets of pdf proofs so far so we’re hopefully almost there. Then, once the inside text has been signed off, Indigo Dreams’ Ronnie Goodyer will work his magic on creating the cover artwork! I’ll make a page for the book here on my blog soon, including a few sample poems both as text and audio recordings.

I plan to organise a launch event in my neck of the woods shortly after the book comes out, but also hope to be able to support it with a few readings around the country, so if you either organise regular events with a guest reader, or know someone that does, do please bear me in mind!

Hope everyone has a great year in 2018 – it’d be great to bump into you on my travels!



  1. Hope you have an amazing 2018 Ben! I look forward to reading your collection. You have also inspired me to try the 52 poetry workbook… I wanted to do it this year, but it never happened. I will start with the first prompt on Monday 🙂


  2. Howard R. Debs · · Reply

    Keep up the good work, all the best for 2018.

    Liked by 1 person

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