Draft, Edit, Submit #04: Finding Inspiration in the Self

Draft, Edit, Submit #04. Finding Inspiration in the Self

April is celebrated as the National Poetry Month. As some poets do, I wanted to challenge myself in writing a poem a day.

Usually, I let poems come to me, and so I only write when an idea strikes me. However, this was different: I had to open a blank document and think on what I would have to write about. I also wanted to stick to one theme for the whole month. The purpose of poetry is often self-exploration or therapeutic, and hence I chose the theme of autism & self so that I get to know myself better in a creative way.

The first week was a breeze. I used day-to-day experiences, including ones that I experiences way too many times but never wrote about. As we approached the end of the month, I started to run out of innovative ideas, partly because it is hard to detach autism or the self from everything that happens in life. And in itself, this has been a revelation. I am who I am, all facets intertwined, and even the way I act in relationships and social situations is determined by my traits.

In the end, I managed to write more than thirty poems about being different and quirky and just being myself. In the process of writing, not only have I gotten to understand myself better, but I have gained a new perspective on my interpersonal relationships, as well as a deeper love for who I am. From an artistic perspective, I got to appreciate the value of ‘basic’ events and how we can create art from experiences that at face value, we might think of as mundane.

Overall, I am proud of my commitment and I’m extremely pleased with some of the poems I wrote. In fact, I already have a couple submitted. As for the rest, I’ll need to spend time to edit & rewrite, but they might make it into a chapbook or full-length someday.

Like what I post? Support me on Patreon or donate directly to my PayPal. For a list of my published works, take a look at Publications and consider getting a copy of my full-length collection, Welcome to the Sombre Days.


Draft, Edit, Submit #03: A Deluge of Drafts

For me, there’s a clear difference between when I work on drafting and editing. During drafting phase, especially for poetry, I don’t need strong ideas; I need strong emotions. My first drafts are often word vomit that I could coherently understand what I intend of showing. The editing phase is meant to make it stronger (or completely rewrite it), turning into an enjoyable piece.

It’s extremely rare for me to draft and edit a piece on the same day. I tend to undergo phases of either. Last year, I wrote so many drafts (I have over 200 loose drafts roaming on my hard drive, some are utterly scrap). Their purpose of writing was to get it out of my system, and even if they’re never published, they were necessary to write.

This month, I revisited plenty of those drafts, and well, some of them were nightmares (well underwritten). Others contained strong emotions that I was able to feel when reading months later, so I’ve been trying to polish them. There’s an oddity to it because my style and skills have changed, so merging older ideas with my current frame of mind.is not easy.

Having said that, it’s a pleasure reconnecting with some of my older work. As a writer, I am interested in hearing how others writers approach their works.

Book Round-Up: February 2019

During February, I read 4 books, which is a much lower number than January’s. However, I wanted to share two of these books (which were both just published this year) because they deserve your attention.

If My Body Could Speak” became one of my favourite poetry collections. I haven’t gotten around to posting the review yet, but, WOW, what a book! Speaking on personal experiences of anorexia, misogyny, sexual assault and coming out, Blythe Baird packs a lot of emotion in her words.

The Rosie Result” is a work of fiction, the third in the Don Tillman series. This book provided a very authentic and realistic experience of an autistic family, and it felt great to read something that was both fun and relatable. We often see autistic people portrayed through the lens of neurotypicals, and luckily, we are starting to get stories that explore different narratives.

Help me read books I love by donating on Ko-Fi or PayPal.me. My current goal is to get Jericho Brown’s The Tradition and Logan February’s Mannequin in the Nude.

Publication Round-Up: February 2019

During February, I was meant to have over 10 poems published. However, a couple of literary magazines have delayed the release of their issue, thus, I’ll be published in them at a later date. The poems that I had published during February are all reprints from “Welcome to the Sombre Days

I’ve also continued to upload the audio for poetry every Friday on Anchor, where I read poems.

I want to thank all those supporting me in my journey, whether it’s in giving me feedback, helping me submit or simply encouraging me and letting me know that they liked my poems. Every small word is appreciated.

If you are looking at ways to support me, you could purchase a copy of Welcome to the Sombre Days, donate on Ko-Fi or PayPal.me, or simply message me kind words.

Draft, Edit, Submit #02: & On The Seventh Day, We Rest

Most of us writers have other commitments: family, occupation, education, etc. Because of this, we often end up using our ‘free time’ to work on our creative projects. Between drafting, editing and finding appropriate markets for each piece (or planning a goal, e.g. preparing a manuscript), we end up always having something to do. Unfortunately, we may keep on doing our utmost while forgetting to take a break.

Resting is essential. I’m not referring to the incubation period in which you let a poem or a story rest before you take a look at it. Yes, that’s important. But we also must rest and take care of ourselves as writers individuals. It’s not unheard of that writers experience frequent burnouts, so we should be aware and attempt to avoid exhausting ourselves.

I have been unwell for the past two weeks, and I was ‘forced’ to rest. Having an excuse to postpone working on university assignments, I felt tempted to use the time to edit some WIPs. When trying to do so, I met severe brain fog and headaches, and it ended up being counter-productive, so I banned myself from writing related activities for a couple of days.

The results? I recovered very quickly from my first illness (the second was an allergic reaction, so it wasn’t due to poor well-being) — I think that should always be the priority. Moreover, when I was feeling well, I was quite rejuvenated and came into the edit sessions with vibrant energy and a clear head.

The difference is that when I usually prescribe myself rest, I end up feeling guilty for losing time and not being as productive as I could be. I realise that this is a harmful attitude as writing can end up being exhaustive, and we need to take care of our minds — the source of creativity. Perhaps we should be making it a goal to take sufficient rest, to spend time enjoying leisure activities and feeling good about it. I’ve come across several writers who end up feeling guilty over taking rest — especially when we’re set to arbitrary goals about manuscripts and also feel the compulsory need to be active in online communities. In hindsight, we all know we could tone down our goals, so let’s make sure we have plenty of rest for our bodies and minds to thrive.

Support me by checking out my collection, Welcome to the Sombre Days.
I accept donations through Ko-Fi and PayPal.me.

Book Round-Up: January 2019

According to Goodreads, I have read 12 books in January (a lot of them being chapbooks). I haven’t posted reviews to each of them [yet], but I regularly review most of what I read. Of the 12 books I read in January, the following are the ones I liked the most:

If you’d like me to review your book, contact me on jeremymifsud1994@gmail.com with details.

If you want me to continue providing content, consider donating via Ko-Fi or PayPal.me, so that I can continue reading. 

Publication Round-Up: January 2019

Several literary magazines have been publishing my poetry on their online magazines. As these poems are (mostly) not available on this blog, I thought of doing a round-up and presenting links to all the poems that have been digitally published throughout January.

Moreover, I’ve been interviewed twice. You can read the features in the following links.

That’s it for the public posts that are not featured on my blog. As I’ve said in some previous posts, most of these publications offer no payment, and hence I’d appreciate any donations directed to Ko-Fi or PayPal.me, or support by purchasing a copy of my collection, Welcome to the Sombre Days.

Draft, Edit, Submit #01: Expanding Horizons

This series will be all about the ‘behind the scenes’ poet and updates about drafting, editing, submissions, and so on. For my first blog post in the Draft, Edit, Submit series, I wanted to discuss how I’m challenging myself to expand my horizons and provide different content beyond written poetry.

Posting poems online usually excludes them from the possibility of publication in most literary journals. Sucks, I know. I brainstormed on what content I could provide, and since I have the rights to the published poems, I’ll be recording myself reading them and posting them to my Anchor. To start of this project, I started off by reading Welcome to the Sombre Days, the titular poem from my collection.

If you’ve been following me on social media or have looked at my Publications page, you might’ve noticed that I’ve had a handful of poems published by several journals. Thus, I’m determined to have sufficient content to read to you. I’m extremely grateful for the opportunities they’ve given me and many other talented writers.

Unfortunately, most of them are unable to afford paying contributors; we tend to publish our pieces simply to get our work out there. Thus, I set up a Ko-Fi page and a PayPal.me to accept donations from anyone who enjoys my content and is able to provide any support. I didn’t want to put any content behind a paywall, so I wanted financial support to be only optional.

I’m determined to pay back by working hard, striving to continuously improve and provide quality content both on this blog and in publications worldwide. Moreover, as an avid reader, I support authors by publishing reviews on this blog, as well as on Goodreads. In fact, I’ve had several authors contact me directly to review their books, which I think is exciting, and I’m hoping my reviews are helping their work getting more recognition.

At the end of the day, I’m grateful to be writing as much as I can. I’ve met wonderful writers already, and am happy to be part of the writing community. I hope you join in as I continue to write more blog posts. If you have any topics you’d like me to discuss, send your suggestions in the comments below.