This week we’re joined by Claire Sexton, and we’re talking about the cathartic benefits of writing, and that great sense of achievement that comes with getting one of your poems or stories published!
When and why did you first start writing?
I have been writing for quite a long time but hadn’t really had the guts to start submitting to publications such as Peeking Cat Poetry until the early part of 2016. Around that time I kind of had a rush of creativity whilst I was off work on long term sick leave, and I kind of thought ‘why not try?’
Who is most supportive about your writing?
I have a couple of close friends, especially the fantastic Phoebe Harkins and the lovely and amazing Lynda Looney, who support my work and encourage me to carry on.
What do you enjoy writing, and what do you find yourself writing about most often?
I enjoy writing about whatever is affecting me most emotionally at the time of writing. Writing for me is most definitely an emotional activity and outlet. I suffer from depression and anxiety and writing brings me the hope of connection and understanding with the reader. In the last year I have found myself writing about my experiences with mental health and my desire for stronger and better connections with people over and over.
Where do you write? Do you have a writing space or a particular process/routine?
Because of my depression I find it very difficult to stick to routines, so I just write whenever and wherever I can. When I am inspired or overwhelmed by a particular experience or feeling, I try to get something down on paper (or my tablet), there and then. Often this is first thing in the morning or last thing at night. Then I rework what I’ve done over and over. Sometimes I’ll just keep a single phrase I like, or pare it down to its most sleek and minimalist form. I’m a great fan of brevity in poetry, and I think that overstatement can kill something stone dead.
What’s your favourite word?
Lullaby or mellifluous are beautiful words, but I also like more common, or regional words, like canny, lush, or swither, which my Scottish housemate Eileen, is fond of.
What do you find the most difficult or challenging about writing?
Just sticking to something, shaping and molding it until it reaches its full potential. I don’t have children, and someone has already said to me that they think my poems are my children, which is not altogether true, but I do care for them and nurture them in a similar way.
Tell me about the piece of work that you are most proud of writing, or about the writing accomplishment you are most proud of.
I am very proud every time I see a piece of work in print or online! When my flash fiction piece ‘Cheer up misery guts’ was first published in Peeking Cat Poetry I was absolutely delighted, and the same for when my poem ‘I have no fear now’was published in Ink, Sweat and Tears. Every time an editor or publication takes a chance on me I am both astounded and comforted that I’ve not been completely wasting my time.
What are your writing plans, goals or dreams for the future?
I’d like to get a full collection or pamphlet published soon, and I’ve been working towards that recently. I’d love to connect with more people through poetry; whether they suffer from the same mental health issues as myself or not. I’d like to think that something beautiful could come from something oppressive and painful, and that for me personally, I can become a more and more accomplished writer.
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