Over the last six weeks, I’ve been sharing my conversation with Katie Keys, who writes @tinylittlepoems on Twitter. We talked about everything from her residency at Camden Town Unlimited to the construction of a poem. I hope you’ve enjoyed this series.
It’s hard to sum up everything Katie and I talked about, so if you missed any of the series I recommend going back and reading. You can find them easily enough if you click the Katie Keys link at the bottom of the blog. But the one thing that stuck out, for me, was something Katie said in the first part of our conversation about how she got her residency.
I’ve always written, but it’s always played second fiddle to my day-job. I’m the director of an arts organization in North London. And spend a lot of my time encouraging other people’s artistic dreams to come true (whilst not following my own).
I’ve seen this a lot in writers. We use the words up and coming to describe ourselves and I have to ask – what makes a writer an arrived writer? I say, if you write then you are a writer – drop the up and coming and believe in yourself. If you don’t believe you’ve arrived yet – think of that as a secret you are keeping from your readers, like a plot twist. All writers, whether they’ve been on Oprah or the New York Times Best Seller’s List, are only as good as their next piece of writing.
Katie is a great example to follow. She said:
So I got a bit sick of hearing myself make excuses and (finally) decided to do something about it.
She made her own opportunities. She started with Twitter, than suggested herself for a residency at Camden Town Unlimited. Remember – no residency existed at CTU before Katie. She put together a proposal and showed them why this idea would benefit them both.
Writers are at our soul artists. And artists are joined by one characteristic – we think outside the box. We have all the tools we need to find success at our craft, if we just apply our creativity to making ourselves relevant to our audience. We can take a lot from Katie’s example. Let’s put ourselves out there, create our own markets and get the word out.
Want to see more of Katie: she’s headlining at Raw Poetry at Zenith Bar on the 19th of April.
Yes – I write a poem and it’s done…… 30%
Yes – after painful revisions……………. 20%
No – my poems are always evolving…. 20%
Interestingly enough, when I asked this question of Katie, I was a solid answer Number 1. But her response was so unexpected to me; she saw a deep meaningful glass-of-wine-worthy question. (And by the looks of the poll she was right.) My conviction was shaken. And once I started thinking about it, the way I approached my poetry changed. Now, I don’t stop at draft one, but reconsider and revise, at times the revisions are painful, at other times, they are subtle. I don’t know if I’ve made it down the scale to answer Number 4 – only time will tell. But I can definitely say, with absolute sincerity, that I am a definitive “Sometimes.”