Week 7: Love at First Write

Taylor P -

Hello, hello! Welcome to week seven of my senior project. This week, I focused a lot on writing, and I had my final interview with a published author. I am really happy with the progress of my project and hope to be finished with publishing my book by my deadline. So, without further ado, I will bring you into my writing process!

To put it simply, my writing process is complicated. 

And annoying. 

And very, very distracted. 

This week, I set out to write at least fifteen poems, and I ended up with ten. For me, writing poetry comes like a spark—it’s quick, but it can be powerful. When I sat down to write this week, no sparks came to mind which made reaching my goal a little bit difficult. 

Also, I decided to start writing a new book last week, one that interferes with my publishing process for this project. You might say hey, just put that book aside and work on your poetry, but it is not that easy! I had to take breaks when writing poetry to relax and write a different novel instead. That has been my life for about a decade already, though, so I have learned how to balance what I need to work on versus what I want to work on. It takes a lot of self-control to harness my creativity into one single project. I know that will be extremely valuable in my career, so it is something I intend to work hard on improving. 

As for my poetry book, I wanted to introduce the topic to all of you. When I started my project, I had a collection of about one-hundred poems. I examined them all closely and realized that grief was an overarching topic I had written about. Grief comes in many different forms and is sparked by many different reasons, but every human essentially experiences the same process of grief. My poetry explored this through many different lenses, and I wanted to use that to my advantage. So, my poetry book will have five chapters: 1) denial, 2) anger, 3) bargaining, 4) depression, and 5) acceptance. It will be a guide, an exploration, a journey, and ultimately a piece of my heart spelled out in metaphors. I hope you all will get a chance to read it!

Lastly, this week I finished my interviews with authors. I had the opportunity to interview Brenda Whiteside, an author of over thirteen books, ranging from romance to murder mystery to children’s books. She also works as a freelance editor and had a lot of wonderful advice for me! You can buy her books here and visit her website here.

Brenda planned to be an artist with her career, but she found so much joy in writing that she decided to pursue publication later in life. After not finding much luck with agents, she found a publishing company that accepted unsolicited manuscripts: Wild Rose Press. Brenda published around eight books from a series with them, but she ran into difficulties with the look of her book covers and how they were edited. When I asked her if she had much say in the traditional publishing process, she said she did not. It was a journey to get her rights back and make her books what she wanted, but she told me she did not regret publishing the way she did. 

Now, she self-publishes. Back when she entered the world of publishing, the stigma surrounding self-publishing was strong; however, the narrative has changed immensely with the growth of Amazon KDP and so many other services. Brenda told me how lucky we are to be in the world of publishing today. But, of course, growth in this industry has its drawbacks. Competition, AI, and lack of professional work makes book publishing a very complicated process nowadays. Brenda’s main piece of advice to me was, “keep soaking up education! The industry is ever-changing, so be aware. And, take it all in.”

Brenda writes romance and mystery novels! Here’s a look at the first book in one of her series.

I learned a lot, and I am grateful I got the chance to talk with her! Next week, I’m going to write up an analysis on all the data I gathered from these authors. I am really privileged to have worked with so many authors that supported me and my project. I have a lot on my plate with publishing, but I am determined to be successful!

Until next week, if you ever feel exhausted, just remember: in the words of Geralt of Rivia, you can do anything—doesn’t mean you have to!

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    Hi Taylor! I am so excited about your poetry book!! I think grief is something so universal and such a unique way to organize your book. How big of a problem does AI pose in the publishing world? Are there any mechanisms in place to limit the challenges of AI?
    Taylor Phelan
    Hey, Maddie, great question! With AI on the rise, it is becoming a big problem in the publishing world from book covers to written work. Right now, companies are trying to fight against it, but the process is slow. For Amazon KDP, for example, they don’t allow any AI writing or art, but they recognize they cannot control self-publishing and hope authors will be honest. It’s definitely going to be a bigger problem in the future, though!
    Hi Taylor! I love the overarching theme of grief for your book and the way you are planning on organizing into different stages of grief! Do you have any ideas for a title for your book, or is the main focus right now writing all the poems?
    Taylor Phelan
    Hey, Zoey! The title of my book is “life & breath.” It’s a little weird, but I’ll go into what it means in my next post!
    Hi Taylor! I am enjoying the literary puns! I also think the organization idea is very creative. How many poems to you plan on using in this book? Are you using all of you previously written ones? Also, editing wise, do you think it would be difficult for others to edit your poetry because it is so personal?
    Taylor Phelan
    Hey, Gianna! In total, I have about 95 poems in this book. I’m not using my whole collection because some of my other poems didn’t fit into the theme at all. As for editing, yes, it is quite difficult to edit poetry! The author and editor have to work together closely to discuss what is intentional v. unintentional when it comes to each line of each poem. I’m a little worried about how personal my poetry is, but I know it’s a step I have to take :)!

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