This will be a series of posts about my Inspiration and the process I went through to self-publish my debut poetry book, My Heart in Ink. These topics will be Inspiration, Research and the Release. Starting with Inspiration, I hope someone finds the information useful.
I have been writing poetry since I was 10 and have written over 400 poems, so this was long overdue. I would share my poems with my friends and family, but I was always nervous about publishing them. At some point I had given myself a goal to publish a book by the time I was 20, that didn’t happen. There’s a phase where I just stopped writing poems, lasted a few years, but I gradually got back into it. I started to seriously consider publishing a book early 2018. I did my research, asked friends who had self-published about their experience, then I shelved the idea.
September 2018, I started an MA in Creative Writing and Publishing. One of the lecturers was an expert in poetry, this was music to my ears. We got talking about my poetry and he gave me feedback on some of my poems. I went on to write a poetry collection for the module he taught, and I did well. It got me thinking, I could write another collection for my dissertation.
Fast-forward to May 2019, I wrote the proposal for my dissertation and I decided to do poetry once again. I was lucky enough that the lecturer I mentioned earlier was my supervisor. I struggled with writing new poems for the 1st tutorial as I had also written another poetry collection for a different module. You can read it here…. poetry series. I was emotionally spent, and I feared that I was going through writers’ block. I managed to few poems for the tutorial and my supervisor saw potential, which motivated me to keep going. By the time I had my next tutorial I had written over 20 poems. I tried to experiment with different styles and themes (you will see this in my book) and I read so much poetry in that time, I read poetry by poets such as Kei Miller and Kayo Chingonyi.
I submitted my dissertation early August; mid-September I received my results. Not only did I pass, but I got a distinction for the dissertation. I was honestly in shock; I don’t know how many times I reread my results. My supervisor along with the second marker both suggested I pursued publication. I was feeling inspired, so I entered a poetry contest, The Brunel International African Poetry Prize. My thinking was, if I make the shortlist my work would gain more attention. The deadline was end of November, so I picked my best poems and submitted. The shortlist was announced in March this year, I didn’t make it. I’m entering again this year though, with different poems.
I was going to start working on my book after the shortlist was announced. Unfortunately, Covid-19 happened, I put the dream on hold. In June, I started looking into publishing again and started doing my research, (read the next post for more on this). I couldn’t keep writing poems and never publishing them. Even if this ends up being the only book I publish; I would be glad I did it.