I must admit, one of my favourite aspects of interviewing most writers is that the majority of them do not write for the money but for the expression -- Shaun Smith is no different. Shaun’s poetry is born out of cathartic release and expression. When I read the title of Shaun’s first book, I wanted to simply cry -- the title alone “The Results of a Failed Abortion: A Collection of Poems” completely hooked me in. I thought of the ramifications of a failed abortion how an unwanted child would be treated -- as a mother of 3 this resulted in plenty of tears. I can’t image the darkness a soul feels after it’s been exposed to the experiences that Shaun so openly speaks about through his pieces. Obviously, life is not easy, it is our experience that shapes the kind of human being that we become. To have started in the darkness, one would have to house an immensely strong soul to be able to endure the adversity. Shaun, does not shy away from difficult subjects – I strongly believe that writers help each other through the work they create based on their experiences. It helps to realise when you feel alone that you are truly not – that there are individuals who have been exposed to horrible situations who had to escape torment and torture. Any kind of abuse on any level is really not ok – absorb the pain etched in the writing to comprehend someone’s personal struggle and try to ensure we are consistently kind. Both of Shaun’s books “The Results of a Failed Abortion: A Collection of Poems” and “Perfection” are both available on Amazon here!
RMMW: Have you ever been creatively blocked? If yes, how did you overcome it?
SS: Yes…and on a regular basis. As I write so much, I often find times where the thoughts I associate with writing, seem to just stop. I overcome in a couple of ways:
- I force the words to paper. These are cheap and typically don’t make any final cuts, but it’s writing, nonetheless. It’s better than nothing.
- I write about writer’s block. These pieces have turned out to be some of my favorites, and to be honest, some of my best.
- I don’t push myself. I write every day. On days where I struggle, I still write at least just one word. I never stop.
As these are implemented, I seem to find a point where I break past.
RMMW: We all have an inner critic how do you contend with yours?
SS: My inner critic is the worst I face. For me, I tell him how and why I’m the best, and I do that by writing about it. I call these, “I’m The Best Poems.” One might refer to my pieces Shaun Smith (S.O.S) or Perfection is Here to Stay. When my inner critic is loudest, I write my pieces to shut him up, and it works.
RMMW: Do you have any artist rituals before you start a new piece?
SS: No rituals, no. I just write. I don’t want anything holding me back from getting words on paper.
RMMW: How many unfinished manuscripts do you currently have?
SS: That’s a difficult question and I’m unsure of how to answer. I’ll just say this: I write at least one poem a day, I have over 550 notes in my phone alone, and I have my next 8 books titled with set dates for release.
RMMW: Do you feel social media hinders, or helps independent writers?
SS: Depending on the author, it could be either. Some people are social media writers, and there is nothing wrong with that. Personally, I write for me and my books, that’s it. When I wrote for social media it hindered me from writing in my purest form. For me, it hinders while others it might suit perfectly. I guess this would be a good time to formally announce that I’ll no longer be posting poems on Instagram except those that I’ve chosen to promote an upcoming book.
RMMW: I have to admit, I found the title to one of your chaps very clever - The Results of A Failed Abortion: A Collection of Poems this offers so much potential and scope for the imagination to contemplate the subjects your poetry is based on. What do you feel is the toughest subject you've ever written about?
SS: The sexual, physical, emotional, and mental abuse I’ve had to face in life. But I’m at a point where that stuff doesn’t come out in my writing anymore. I have a sequel planned for The Results of a Failed Abortion, but it may only be Limited Poetry as Opposed to a full collection. What I have left to say is, well, limited.
RMMW: With regards to your second book Perfection, what do you think was the biggest challenge to bring it to publication fruition?
SS: Haha…everything. I wrote all of the poems right after I finished TROAFA, and had to edit a month or so after, which is difficult. I then had issues with a local printer who was doing the physical edition. Then I fell into a deep and dark depression which I am still struggling to get out of. A lot of delays and shortcomings have resulted from that, but alas, I will prevail.
RMMW: What are your favorite poems written by you?
SS: All of them. They are also all my least favorite poems by me. I am my favorite poet and my least. It keeps me humble and helps me to continue doing what I do.
RMMW: How has your writing evolved over the years?
SS: It evolves with me. With my different feelings, dealings, and influences my writing evolves in a natural way that can only be done so with time, no matter how short or long. Its nothing special, it’s just me. As I evolve, so does my writing.
RMMW: What is the best money you've spent from royalties of your books?
SS: Writing isn’t a hobby and it isn’t a job. It's my life. I write to be read, not for profit. I give my books away for free. One day that may change but the fact that it’s my life never will. For now, I haven’t made a single penny writing. I’ve invested personal funds and one who has graciously purchased my books, well that went towards recouping losses. Thing is, the losses will never be recouped monetarily, but responses to my works have made me rich in ways I never imagined. I am truly grateful for those who read my works and made me feel purpose in this life.
RMMW: What do you think are the biggest challenges contemporary writers face today?
SS: Living in a world where everyone has a microphone, and everyone is looking for attention. I’ll just continue to “ring my bell.”
RMMW: What do you enjoy so much about writing poetry?
SS: I have trouble speaking my thoughts into words. They get lost in translation between entering my mind and being spoken aloud. Poetry doesn’t make me feel that way, ever. That’s why I love poetry.
RMMW: If you had a superpower what would it be?
SS: The ability of flight. My best dreams have all involved me flying. I’d like that in real life.