Relentless, the new theme

Last week at work, the idea of “relentless” came up–as in being relentless about getting things done. It reminded me of Kelli’s post about submitting like a man.

This isn’t my strong suit. Relentless looks fierce, like a twin of winning, and I tend to be more concerned about being nice and being liked than about winning (or nagging and not listening). But I’m layering too much onto it. Relentless isn’t about winning, it’s about not giving up, about problem solving (which requires listening) and channeling frustration into new ways around road blocks. It’s fierce in a creative way.

I challenged myself to come up with times when I’ve been relentless. I was going to start with submitting to Fine Madness, which took 10 submissions over 16 years–but now, that doesn’t feel like so much. At Barrow Street, I’ve tried 16 times in 13 years, and I’m not giving up. And then there’s BPJ and Poetry Northwest… And finding a publisher for Into the Rumored Spring (three years, many contests and open reading periods, and a conference).

This isn’t the same as beating my head against the wall. Because my writing evolves and I explore different styles, I pick different poems, different directions.

So I’m going forward with the new theme, seeing where I can apply it in all aspects of my life. At the same time I’m reading (for work) At the Speed of Trust. We’ll see how those two ideas play together.

How do you keep going when you hit the road block? How do you assess when it’s time to push ahead or around, and when it’s time to step back, change direction, support someone else’s idea? (Ultimately, what does success look like?)