When and why did you begin writing?
I started writing when I was in the fourth grade, mainly because I was too shy to stand up for myself and speak my mind. In the beginning, I was just venting in my diary. Then, I learned about onomatopoeia in class and was given a homework assignment where I had to use it in a poem. With that assignment, I did what I still do today, I wrote about my life.
My poem was about how I lost my house keys and had to wait until my mother got home from work to be let into the house. That assignment was fun for me and I got an A. Writing creatively felt natural.
After that, I started writing short stories. The next year, two of my friends and I made up a girl group where I rapped and wrote some of the lyrics. That’s when I really fell in love with rhyming words.
How do you think you’ve evolved creatively?
My creative evolution mirrors my girlhood to womanhood evolution. Shyness is the reason I initially picked up the pen. I didn’t share the things I was writing and I was always afraid that someone would read my diaries, so I held back a lot even though writing was my “safe place.”
I’m fearless now. I say and do what I want, I take risks, and I don’t give a damn about people’s opinions of me. I love who I am, the beauty and the flaws and because of that my writing has become raw and unfiltered.
There were many times when I was writing my book, “Blossom’s Wine Bar” where I struggled to see what I was writing because my vision had been blurred due to my eyes being full of tears. It was difficult to write about my relationship with my alcohol and my mental health struggles, but I was looking at the bigger picture. It would have been selfish for me to hold back when I know my stories can help other people.
Instead of holding onto shame and struggling to keep secrets, my growth as a writer taught me to live in my own truth.
What have you written so far?
My chapbook, “Blossom’s Wine Bar” is my first published book, it’s my baby. Before putting this project out, I was a freelance writer for about five years. I wrote everything to get my foot in the door, the most random thing was a user manual for a lawnmower. I was a ghostwriter, I didn’t get credit for that or anything else for about a year, but I learned a lot.
I found my voice and eventually got to write things that fulfilled me, including articles about beauty, interviews with female entertainers and entrepreneurs, and articles where I spilled details about my past relationships and struggles with body image. I’m working on building my own website for new articles, in the meantime, my past work is published on the Huffington Post.
Can you share with readers a little bit about your latest book?
“Blossom’s Wine Bar” is a small collection of poems that I call “stoems” because my work isn’t like traditional poetry. A stoem is a short story that rhymes the way a poem does, it’s inspired by the storytelling style you hear in a lot of old-school hip-hop.
My stoems are autobiographical. I’m writing about things I’ve gone through that I know many others can relate to, like how I felt when my father walked out on me when I was 13 and what my relationship with him is like now that I’m 27.
Not only am I rhyming and telling you these stories for entertainment, but I’m sharing background information and details about my creative process. After some of the stoems, I talk about things like the struggles I may have had while writing, I explain metaphors that may have initially confused the reader, and I share personal details like how I cope while living with anxiety and depression.
What made you decide to sit down and actually start writing this book?
I had a friend challenge me to publish a collection of poetry in 30 days. The idea behind it was that I have tons of poems saved from having written for so many years, so I was just supposed to throw 10 of them together and call it a book. Once I became invested in the idea of putting a book out, I wrote all new material over a period of four months and really put my soul into it.
“Blossom’s Wine Bar” became a labor of love. My best friend drew the cover to look like me. We collaborated on it for about a month. He sent me several drawings before I was satisfied with the final one. Then I went and added the colors and chose the font.
My aunt has called me Blossom since I was a little girl. She’s also the first person to tell me I was a talented writer, the title was my way of dedicating the book to her and saying “Thank you for believing in me.”
It was really important for me to involve people I love with this project. I wouldn’t have worked on it if it wasn’t for my friend challenging me though.
What is your next project?
I’m already working on my second book of stoetry. I have a cover design in my head, I know the title, and I know the theme, but it won’t be released for a while. My website is the very next thing on my to-do list, the goal is to have it up by the end of the year. It’ll be a lifestyle blog with a focus on relationships and dating. There will also be interviews with myself in the position as the interviewer, very similar to the content I have on the Huffington Post.
What advice would you give to aspiring authors?
Find your voice and use it to scream as loud as you can. Your uniqueness is what will become the thing people respect you the most for because it cannot be duplicated. Work hard, but also live your life. Adventure, taking risks, and loving are all cures for writer’s block. Find stories in the things you feel passionate about and don’t hold back or show mercy.
What is one great lesson you have learned as a writer?
Rejection isn’t worth my tears. I can’t count how many ideas I’ve pitched that were shut down, but I learned that’s alright. I chose to grow thick skin and stick to my instincts and by doing that, I’ve made my childhood dreams come true. I’m still learning and growing and not taking rejection personally keeps me focused on my end game.