Okay, so when I decided to go on a Fielding Programme retreat, I thought great. Some time away to work on my collection. I'll have all my poems, and I'll edit all the ones I don't hate, and something will emerge. I do still think this, but it's dawning on me how much work editing actually is - and why I go to such seemingly great lengths to avoid doing it, without even realising until hindsight kicks in. I am more than a little daunted about sitting in a room with Bookbook and 'putting a collection together'. I actually have no idea what this actually, minute-to-minute, involves.
Also, I have questions. Questions that I know don't really have definitive answers. Like, what's the deal with adding new poems? When is it too late to add new ones, which haven't had as much time as the others to settle and mature? Does it run the risk of becoming disjointed, if you keep old ones as well as adding new? Does anyone's voice really change enough for anyone but the author themselves to notice? Should I just save new ones for the next collection? What if I want some of the poems to be gathered together in subject-matter in a pamphlet-length collection? Should I try and get something like this published before a collection? Is it okay to have poems in both?
I'm sure Polly will be able to help with these questions, but for now I feel like I'm about to leap into some sort of poemy abyss of indecision. I guess I'll have to have a good go at discovering my own answers to these questions next week, even if it's just for the sake of getting my money's worth. I am taking my running shoes, and my swimming costume (in case there are any tempting-looking lochs and half-decent weather) for physical, worthwhile thinking-time distraction. And my camera, for non-related creative distraction.
And Teach Yourself Writing Poetry - just in case.