My friend Kat has recently published a book of her poetry called "shadowstalking" and I asked her 3 questions about her work. I have always had an interest in writing, but have never really tried to do anything beyond blogging, so I asked her questions that might help others like myself that just "think" about it and never actually do it. Way to go Kat! I am so proud of you.
You can visit her blog here.
1. Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
I don't find too many challenges with the writing itself; it's more the management of my time around the writing process. I typically get an idea and either let it "stew" for a while, or sit down to write immediately. The one challenge I find is that I often think of things in the early morning hours and I can't remember them exactly the next day. I know most people would advise that I have a pen and pad near the bed, but if I turn on a light, then I might as well just admit that I'm going to be up for the next few hours, rather than getting back to sleep. Even a small shaft of light entering my pupils activates my brain and then I'm wide awake. I spend many the Saturday morning, in particular, rising before the dawn to head downstairs, crank up the laptop and let the words spill forth. Of course, then by the time my husband wakes up to put on the coffee, I'm ready to go back to bed!
Another challenge that has daunted me since my blog started to gain followers, is the balance of blogging and blog-visiting in company with the time needed to just write. I often write for the blog, but other times, I write and set the work aside to be reworked, or to be sent off somewhere to a competition. I don't do the competitive thing often because then I find it consumes my mind, wondering if anyone's going to even like what I've written. I'm better off sharing it with my blog-friends; they are much more forgiving.
2. Do you have a desire to write anything other than poetry?
Well, as you know Brenda, I have more than one blog. In truth, I have far too many and not just on Blogger. I really enjoy exploring other things and expressing myself through journalistic-style writing with lots of humour. My blog, "Blasts From the Past" is a place where I can really let loose and recount the madcap days of growing up as a suburban kid in Southern, Ontario. All the pop-cultural things I remember are unleashed on anyone who wants to share in them and if you enjoy when I reveal myself in some of my autobiographical poetry, then you'll LOVE, "Blasts".
I have a little haiku blog that I like to indulge in periodically. It is usually spurred on by something I see and photograph and most often involves nature or wildlife. I don't write typical haiku though; I like to have a pun in there, lots of alliterative words and something related to the seasons. That's why I call it "Kigo (Japanese for season) of the Kat".
I am also co-creator of the Ancestry and Photographic Memoir blog, "Sepia Saturday" along with Yorkshireman, Alan Burnett, of the "News From Nowhere" blog. It's a very different sort of writing that I do for the weekly posts for that site. It is personal, but also gets into history and geography and story-telling. There are a few poems that I've thrown in, but the writing is generally, straightforward reporting and anecdotes. It is highly engrossing to participate in this group and every person's story is different and worthwhile.
As much as I love poetry, I do crave the opportunity to express myself in many different ways. I haven't ruled out song-writing, or even producing a cook-book! I guess my writing is as diverse as I am.
3. What did you learn from writing your first book that could help you in the future?
Well, that's a very good question. First and foremost, I learned that it IS possible to do it yourself. As far as what will help me (and perhaps others who want to do the same thing), I would say,
v It really helps to have someone who's done it before to give you a bit of guidance. There's a great deal to learn in the process, both before it turns into a book and while it's being "self-published."
v Look at lots of examples of other work that is similar to your own to get a sense of the right way to set it up.
v Have someone who knows what they're doing format your book. I don't know what I would have done without my husband who took on this meticulous and arduous task. I'm a a writer and I really don't like working on the layout of things, but I did really enjoy having total control over the cover design, and the finished product.
v Know who you're dealing with when you choose someone to print your book.
v Trust your instincts. If something feels wrong about the way things are going with the printer, ask questions and don't be afraid to remove yourself your project, if you're not satisfied.
v Have someone else read your work before you create a file to be published. Read it yourself and reread it and read it again. This is the tough part because quite honestly, you'll be sick of your own writing before you're through!
v Stick to your guns about the vision you have for your project. You should be in the driver's seat and always have the right to veto any decisions.
v Decide how you're going to publicize and have a plan. Enlist the help of friends (such as yourself) who are willing to promote you.
v Always repay in kind. Go the extra mile to give back to anyone who has helped you along the way.
There are many things I could tell you, but it is also important to go through the learning process for yourself. If I can do it, so can you!