How to publish your own chapbook part 2

A Writers Journey

I will start with telling you about the book that I did release and explain how I arrived at that collection. It was somewhat unintentional that this would be my first book and my approach was very different to the one I am currently working on. 

The Round Journey is a stand alone set of 12 poems. I wrote all of these poems specifically for this book, all linked to the same set of experiences, landscapes and purpose. I felt this was something I needed to get out of my head before I could really focus on anything else. There was a lot going on at the time. The pandemic had hit and for long periods of time the only experience of the outside world was on daily walks around the village I live in. The world became quieter, there was less background noise and there was plenty of opportunity for contemplation and reflection. It made me think a lot about mortality and my experiences of life and death, both in people I knew and those I didn’t. There was something that felt cyclical about all my experiences at that time. The journeys round the village, the beginnings and ends of people, nature, seasons. There was a strong sense of static and immovability of life without purpose. This was kind of where the book came about, ruminating on all these things and the history of the places I was walking around that I had not really considered until then. This was when the poems started, and the whole process was relatively easy. I put the whole book together in a couple of months and sent it to a publisher for consideration. 

I did not consider what it meant about me as a writer, or, given that it was one of the first things that would go into actual print that people had seen of my work, what impact that perception might have on any future works I created. I have said before I don’t regret putting it out. This was important to do and am glad I shared it with the world. Moving into the next year and preparing my next book though, somehow The Round Journey doesn’t feel like me. That book is a serious piece, it’s very introspective and perhaps it shows a part of me I don’t really understand that well. It was occupying my thoughts more because of the circumstances at that time. The new book, whilst it has dark edges, is much lighter in content, broader in scope and more like me I think.

The point is that you should give yourself time to experiment in pulling together your work to understand what sort of writer you are and what you want to be. I will be setting out how I organised my current work in progress book in a future blog but I will explain what I did below.

I had this idea of a round journey of sorts, the one I did almost every day. Essentially this was a walk around my village which, in case you are interested, sits at the edge of a large municipal town in the north west of England. The history of the place means it was once agricultural, then industrial and now mainly a suburb of a larger place. This is important because it is the remnants of these things that were left behind that became key factors in the designing of the poems. The structure and order of the pieces became easy. Starting out from home, following the natural path of the journey on a mapped out circular trip to arrive back at home having visited every spot along the way. Each spot would have its own meaning or purpose in a found thing or nature spot along the way. Although my little labrador came with me on these journeys out, I must say she was little or no help with the writing phase. The more I found out about the places though, the more I could find little snippets to include in various poems. There are elements of nature, historical artefacts (including a meteor and a headless statue of a Roman Deity) all mixed up with the emotions of home. I like to layer pieces with added dimensions so the reader notices something new each time. 

Does this help you with how to write a chapbook, perhaps. It made me believe that I could continue to write and build on this stepping stone towards future works. Maybe even being able to put a book out myself. Next time I will focus on where I am at with my current project and some insight into the challenges and the fun in putting your own book together.

Published by G Turner

Gavin Turner is a poet and writer of short fiction. He lives in North West England. Some of his work is published here on this site and more recently in other journals and publications.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: