Poet Interview Series: Ashlee Edens
This week we chat to the very amazingly talented poet Ashlee Edens, a Michigan resident, originally from Oklahoma. Ashlee is a mother of two wonderful daughters and balances her writing with caring for them. She obviously does a fantastic job of this as she has grown her Instagram following to over 5000 and already published two poetry collections. See her latest Poetry collection titled “The Revival of a Soul” which can be bought on Amazon here…
Read the inspiring interview with this wonderful writer below.
Where do you live and how does it influence your writing?
I live in Michigan, far from my hometown in Oklahoma. Although I can’t wait to move back to Oklahoma someday, the distance has been good in a way. I found myself out here. I’ve gained confidence as I have had to live so far away from everything I’ve known. I’ve had time to think about who I am and who I want to become. This freedom is visible in my work.
When did you first become passionate about poetry and what attracted you to it?
I first became passionate about poetry in second grade. My teacher, Ms. Skinner, taught us how to write poetry and was constantly encouraging us to be creative with our writing. Thanks to her, I fell in love with expressing myself and my ideas through poetry. I loved using words to create something wonderful.
What inspires you to write?
There is not one specific thing that inspires me to write. I write because I cannot stop.
Do you publish your Poetry on other channels but Instagram?
I have published two poetry collections that are available on amazon.com and I also use my website ashleeedens.com to share my work.
Who is your favorite Instapoet and why?
Alison Malee is my favorite Instapoet. I am drawn to the light and hope that shines through her work. Her posts are uplifting and heartfelt.
Can you tell us a little about your writing process? How do you come up with poems and how do you edit them?
I like to set a timer (for about 15-30 minutes). I write everything that comes to mind before the timer goes off. I don’t allow myself to edit anything before the timer goes off, even if I make mistakes. I just keep going. After the timer goes off, I allow myself to go back and fix mistakes, rearrange sections, add additional ideas or get rid of them. This helps me write freely without worrying about perfecting the work from the start.
Do you support yourself through writing financially, or do you have a day job and what is it?
I am the mother of two wonderful daughters. I spend my days caring for them and writing in any free time. I plan to be a full-time writer someday, but for now I have a wonderful balance in my life I would not want to change.
How many hours a day do you spend writing and what helps you to get into the writing mood?
I get between thirty minutes to two hours a day to write. This is a busy season in my life and I have to schedule myself dedicated time to write and create. If I’m not in the mood to write during that scheduled time…I begin writing anyways. After a few minutes, I start to get into a writing mood. I’m always glad I spent the time writing, even if I didn’t feel like writing at the beginning.
And what’s the best moment you’ve had with your poetry so far?
One of my favorite moments has been when I wasn’t afraid anymore. I wasn’t afraid to put my poetry out there. I used to be scared and worried about what other people might think, but now I know that it is better to be brave and share what is on my heart.
How do you respond to writer’s block or not knowing what to write?
If I feel stuck, I like to journal. It’s writing, but it doesn’t take as much thought to record the events of my day. Sometimes when I start writing about my day, it gives me great ideas for poetry pieces. Another thing I do is to be creative in a different way besides writing. Whether it’s photography, drawing, painting, or dancing, I find a different way to create. Expressing myself in these other ways often helps writer’s block dissipate.
What are you working on next?
I have two other poetry collections that I’m currently working on. I’ve also been working on some children’s picture book ideas.
Where would you like to see yourself in three years time.
In three years, I hope to have several new books released.
What is your strategy you to grow your audience?
My strategy idea is “a little bit everyday goes a long way.” I like to spend a little time everyday engaging with my audience. I think it’s all about consistency.
What advice would you give young poets just starting out?
Keep writing. Do it for you. Create something you want to create, not what you think others want you to create. Don’t write something just because you think it will be popular. Also, young poets are sometimes taught that you have to be in pain, depressed, and suffering in order to create inspiring work. It is true that we can use our trials and pain to create. Creating during these times is often therapeutic. But don’t believe the lie that you must continue to suffer in order to create something of significance. When you come to a place where you are light and happy and healed, you will still be able to create. You can still be inspired in a state of joy. You can still write beautiful poetry when you are in a good emotional and mental place. Don’t stay in a dark place out of fear that you won’t have anything to offer the world. Most importantly, write from your heart.
Do you think poetry has a greater purpose?
Absolutely. Poetry is magic, heartbreak, and joy. Poetry is a way of expression. Poetry is a way to relate to other people. Poetry is a way to not feel alone. Poetry is a way of creativity. Poetry is a way of life.
Don’t miss out on Ashlees beautiful poetry. Follow her on Instagram and on her website ashleeedens.com