Five For Five: New Beginnings



I.  Sometimes with writing, we can get stuck between starting over and pushing through where we are. When do you decide its time to start over versus to continue on from where you are in your pieces?

When I start over it doesn’t mean totally scrapping what I had. It doesn’t mean starting over from a new page, I can start over with a new purpose, a new lens, a new thought...

That's a good question. I think it various from piece to piece. I also think that space between where you are and starting over is not that big and it really just comes down to a simple decision that people make based on purpose or emotion. When you make the decision to start over based on emotion its usually because where you are is frustrating and or difficult and it would just feel easier to start over. When you decide based on purpose, then the purpose is usually that something isn't working effectively so you start over or you push through because you know that the process is gruesome and not meant to be easy. For me, I toggle in between. When I decide to start over its because something isn't working. However, when I start over it doesn't mean totally scrapping what I had. I just put it away somewhere because I can come back to it and continue where I left off or take a line or two and use it in something else. When I decide to push through, I do it because of discipline; I have to finish what I started, yet at the same time if you think about it, I can (& do) also start over with a new purpose, a new lens, a new thought...etcetera. So, it's all a matter of how you choose to see things and what you are intending to do with your poem, work, and or project.

II. Do you push yourself to do something entirely new /from project to project or poem to poem / book to book/ ? is it an important part of your process? 

Not necessarily. It's not as important for me to do something completely new because it can create a very heavy burden or expectation on my shoulders when going into writing and I try not to do that to myself. I believe that something "entirely new" can come from something already done, an old thought, an old piece its just a matter of how you choose to view things. So when going from project to project or piece to piece I don't worry so much on creating something entirely new but rather what challenges, hurts, or inspires— etcetera — and work toward a newness. 

III. How do you get passed the "beginning jitters" of writing...the frustrating "I don't know how to start/ I don't know what to write" jitters. What are your go-to warm up techniques?

It various for me. When I was in school I use to laugh at myself because when I would sit down to write my assignments, I would write my heading and that's literally all I would have for like two hours sometimes. I'm not in school anymore and that hasn't changed. Sometimes I would have a word or a sentence and that's literally all I would have for a while. When I get those beginning jitters I start doing other stuff which is aka procrastination. I would watch tv, scroll instagram etc. Then I look at the clock, go back to my page and just start writing the first thing that comes to mind concerning what I have to or want to or attempting to write about and  eventually I get into a flow from there. That's how I get passed them.

Other than that, some go to techniques I have is to just do preliminary, basic research. I look up, say, the topic I'm writing about and see what's out there and I find something that's interesting or challenging or annoying and draw from it. I read poems by other people and a lot times I just read my own old poems. I don't know if that's narcissistic in anyway or not lol. but I mean I'm not doing my best if I'm not even inspired or challenged, or moved by my own work because how is some else going to be if I'm not. 

IV. Sometimes when starting a new notebook we get particular about not knowing what to write,  making it the best it can be or writing very neatly & other things Do you ever get those feelings? What's your favorite thing about starting a new notebook?

I get those feelings but not as much as I used to. It's easy to fall into that trap especially if the notebook is beautifully made. I love starting a new notebook, It's the same feeling I get on the first day of's just something about newness; so my first page of my journals tend to be neat but then afterward my handwriting just fluctuates from neat to a mess, my pages go from focused writing, to random doodles, scribbles, quotes, ripped pages and even food or tear stains.

You know I use to just randomly start a new notebooks whenever I felt like it, even if I was only halfway through. I think I just like the feeling of starting over. {I use to do that with my aim screen names and stuff, my friends would roll their eyes and suck there teeth at me many you gonna have? why do you keep making new pages? (LOL) I really don't know why I do that though.} Now I don't do that anymore with notebooks because I'm an adult with responsibilities and need to be mindful with my finances so I don't have time to just keep buying nice notebooks. Beside the nice ones cost more so I don't worry about having a leather-bound journal or whatever anymore. I get what I find at the cheapest I can get it and sometimes that means just having an old fashioned composition notebook. I really don't know what's with the whole thing about if you're writer you have to have these gorgeous leather-bound journals or whatever. //shrugs// My favorite thing is just the newness of the first page & what the book will become and eventually encompass is pretty much unfathomable. 

V. What have poems or projects you recently begun & how do you maintain the joyous butterfly feelings of beginnings in the midst of completion?

I recently started putting together a new chapbook. But I haven't written any new poems lately which sucks but I'm not one to force myself to feel like I have to write new poems everyday. I plan to do some writing tonight though, speaking of beginnings. The thing with the butterflies is not that they go away but that they re-appear in various ways. It's sort of similar to a relationship or friendship. In the beginning the butterflies are great and everything is sweet but then time passes and the walls come down and things change and its easy to get frustrated that things aren't how they were. But it's like breaking though glass or a pulling away a layer of film, the butterflies only seem sweeter because you haven't seen the truth and reality of imperfections yet but if you are in love the butterflies can resurface in many. ways. It's: I've seen your shortcomings and struggles but you still make me smile like no other and I can't wait to see you again... it's the same with writing. The line, the stanza, the poem can refresh itself, surprise you and make you all heart eyes again and again if you allow it.