What motivates you to write, particularly poetry?
Mostly I write for my own self-interest. I doubt there’d ever be a huge audience for the poetry I write. A lot of the time it’s to process my thoughts and dump my stress onto the page and out of my body, but also it’s to help anyone who’s reading it who may be struggling with similar emotions. It’s quite normal in teenage and young adult years to experience a lack of direction, frustration, and depressive emotions because trying to sort your life out is very hard! Sometimes, people think they’re alone in what they’re feeling but it simply isn’t true and I hope people realise this when they read some of my pieces.
On the other hand I write to get better so I can one day become a published novelist. At the moment, I write poetry because it’s such a good medium for the emotional venting I spoke about and I find it quicker to craft a poem than a story because poetry is so fluid, there’s no real rules or restrictions. Any style of poetry can work if executed well. I also love the ‘snapshot’ element of poetry. It captures single moments, specific images that can hold a lot of weight and there’s something comforting about staying contained within smaller scenes.
Are there any other projects you’re working on, apart from the blog?
Yes, I would dearly love to publish an illustrated collection of poetry one day. I’m in the process of trying to get enough good poems together and I’ll submit some of them to journals or competitions to hopefully get some feedback and guidance on their quality. As for the illustrations, if you know any fantastic pencil illustrators send them my way! Beyond this, I have two or three novel ideas which I’m quietly confident will work if I’m good enough to write them well (a big if!) They’ll all have a strong foundation in family, relationships, the environment, and morality. Oh, and they’ll probably all be fairly dark/moody.
What was the first piece you had published? What did that feel like?
I might go back further than that and talk about when I first received recognition for writing. In high school, I won the senior poetry competition for NAIDOC week. The principal read my work at the school assembly and even on a local radio station I think. Obviously I was very pleased with that and it was the moment when I thought to myself that perhaps I could pursue writing further, both creatively and professionally. It also taught me more about myself. I was obviously relieved to find out I was someone who could show compassion for others, balance cultural sensitivities, and see things from a perspective completely different from my own. It may sound strange, but up until then I wasn’t sure if I understood these things. Now, I have a few little pieces published and am motivated to achieve bigger goals. I’m also writing for a living as a copywriter so I’m extremely happy that I’ve been able to do what I love and get something out of it.
Do you have any advice for other emerging writers, particularly those who are just starting out and may not have anything published yet?
Hopefully they’re already avid readers but if they aren’t they should start working on a reading list. Read as much as possible and try to encompass a diverse range of writers. Reading widely is great for learning, vocabulary, and inspiration. As for writing, regularity is key. Write as often as possible in conjunction with your reading and you will get better. Also, it’s important to find your niche. Find what inspires you and find what excites you the most when writing. For me, music and film inspire me and I really enjoy writing pieces strong in imagery and emotion. For someone else they may find they’re inspired by the study of history and adore writing fantasy. But that’s the important thing, write what you enjoy and never be afraid to submit your work to the numerous competitions and publications that are still very much alive in the industry. Know one thing for sure; rejection will happen and more than once. This does not mean you’re a bad writer.