Writing is my passion. I’ve always loved to write, but only in the past ten years have I begun to take it seriously. In 2009 I enrolled in AllWriters Workshop and Workplace, a local writing studio in downtown Waukesha. The particular workshop I am enrolled in has a practice where each student brings in up to 10 double-spaced pages (or 3 short poems, if a poet) of writing every week. They then read the work and their seven or eight peer critique the work. It is a supportive community where we encourage one another while being honest when something doesn’t sound right or relevant to the story.
When I first enrolled I wasn’t sure what to think. Here I was among other probably more talented writers, some of them even published! But by the end of the first class, I knew it was exactly where I needed to be.
So I started bringing in my nonfiction stories. I wasn’t sure what to do with them, I only knew that it felt good getting them out of my system. Writing seemed a natural thing to me, it wasn’t laborious or a drag in any way.
While I was in the class, I was intrigued by a fellow student’s poetry. I literally had not written a poem since grade school, so the craft piqued my curiosity. So, I started messing around with a few poems. When I brought one particular one to class, my instructor said, “Oh, you have to submit that. That is great!”
Anyway to make a long story short, I submitted it to Verse Wisconsin a publication dedicated only to poetry. Before I knew it they accepted it. I was published! It was a feeling that is difficult to describe. Even though it was only a 20 line poem, what it did for me was fuel my desire to be published elsewhere.
I was hooked!
I began submitting with regularity and despite my fair share of rejections I also experienced a fair amount of acceptances. These acceptances gave my poetry credibility and led to my wanting to put them into a collection. By this time Dirty Shirt, my first nonfiction book was published, so I approached my publisher about doing a book of poetry. They agreed to publish it and Written Life came to be.
Since that time I’ve had another nonfiction book published, The Portland House as well as two other books of poetry, Reciting From Memory and On A Road. My writing has taken on a life of its own, and poetry is a big part of it. The funny thing is I never planned it that way. It is what happens when you follow your creative muse.
So that is how I got started in writing poetry. It is a winding road, but I’m glad to be on it. My advice to any aspiring writers out there would be threefold.
- Be persistent and diligent about your writing practice.
- Get involved in a writing group if at all possible. It makes you a better writer.
- Don’t be afraid to cross genres. Experiment, mess around and have fun.
Thanks for reading. See you soon.
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