I recently resigned from my job in a business process outsourcing company where our work shift changes every three months. Now that I’m still trying to regain my footing in freelance writing, my biological clock is still adjusting to waking up mornings and sleeping by evenings. I have no regular writing gigs yet, so aside from looking for online work, I have been spending my entire days since last December 10 writing, reading and watching stuff on the Internet. But definitely, I will commit myself again to the same writing routine which I had during the eight-hour workday from my previous job, and the following will be a typical weekday:
Immediately after breakfast, by 7:00 AM, I write a poem for an hour on my desktop. There are times when I write initial drafts with pen and paper. Then from 8:00 AM to 9:00 AM, I open my Gmail, mainly to check on replies from the editors of literary magazines I submitted to, and to participate in the Rats’ Ass Review online poetry workshop in which I’ve been a member since 2016. There, I may read comments and suggestions on any poem I’ve posted previously and revise accordingly until I am satisfied. Also, as expected of every active member, I also give feedback on the poems shared by other poets. And if I think that my just-written poem needs some more work, I’ll put it on the “firing line” of our workshop. Usually, I do this for poems that are ten lines or longer; if it’s a traditional haiku or quatrain, I barely bother consulting another.
Then I work for the next nine hours, with one-hour lunch in-between. After work, by 6:00 PM, I check on my Gmail again for the aforementioned reasons. And usually, while going over the poems and comments, I start writing another poem. At 8:00 PM I have dinner, take a shower and then I’m back on the desktop. If I have poems which I feel are publishable already, I submit them to literary magazines, anthologies, etc.
By 10:00 PM, I go to sleep. Though, there are nights when I am already drowsy and tucked in bed when another poem starts to form in my head. I am compelled to wake up each time and pick up my pen and notebook or sit before my desktop again, for an hour or two, just to finish writing.
On weekends, I spend almost the entire days writing on my desktop. And the entire week, to improve my writing, I sneak time to read other poems and articles on writing and literature – print or online.
I am glad that I am prolific in writing poetry. However, this is really due more to passion and spontaneity than discipline. I may finish writing a couple of poems every single day, but I have heavy backlogs in creative writing projects I have committed to. They also involve poetry but I don’t write the poems specifically for them right away – and I often end up renegotiating the deadlines. Anyway, I believe my procrastination is another story.
Karlo Sevilla of Quezon City, Philippines is the author of the full-length poetry collection Metro Manila Mammal (Soma Publishing, 2018) and the chapbook You (Origami Poems Project, 2017). Recognized among the Best of Kitaab 2018 and twice nominated for the Best of the Net, his poems appear or are forthcoming in Philippines Graphic, Ariel Chart, DIAGRAM, Small Orange, Black Bough Poetry, The Wombwell Rainbow, Line Rider Press, Melbourne Culture Corner, Quince Magazine, Last Leaves, Raven, 3 Moon Magazine, Splintered Disorder Press’s Red Skies anthology, and elsewhere. He is also one of the contributors to Pandemic: A Community Poem, Muse-Pie Press’s nominated poem for the 2020 Pushcart Prize.