Thursday, July 23, 2009

Feature: Stephan Anstey Day 5

existing quietly with socks on

i wear two socks
because three is too many
one not enough

exactly like breathing
before I was alive
or after I'm dead

only different.

digital art & poetry © Stephan Anstey

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Interview Question:

What is your writing process?


For me, it's a daily decision. I don't feel some overwhelming need to write, but I do enjoy it. It is the hardest thing I do every day, contrary to popular opinion, writing is not easy for me.

However, I do have a bit of a system.

Step 1: I read for at least 15-30min MINIMUM before I write anything. Generally, I am reading poetry, or whatever book I happened to pick up that day. But, for the sake of writing poetry, I think it's key to read poetry. Anyone that does not actively buy and read poetry and then thinks they're on the path to being a great poet is probably a bit of a fool.

Step 2: I perform 1-2 exercises. Normal exercises for me include using key words from a poem I just read, writing a poem in the same style or with the same theme as a poem I just read, or connecting random things together, whether they are nearby objects, words from TV shows or something that just pops in my head.

Step 3: From the results of these exercises I craft 2-3 poems or short paragraphs. It is at this point that form is selected, text is styled, vocabulary tweaked, and most of the time I read it aloud to myself if I can.

Step 4: Most days I respond to a poem or two that I've read, these poems I often do not save and they are lost forever in comments and such all over the internet.

Step 5: I try to comment on 4-5 poems that I read that day, whether it is a public note, a private IM, or a brief email, I think it's important to recognize the work being done by others. That isn't to say I think I need to kiss their buts. If I really hate something, most likely, I won't say anything, but most of the time, if you look hard enough, you can find something nice to say. Often times, if you look at someone else's work with questions like: What were they trying to say? Could I understand what they were saying? Are there any bits that are said in interesting ways that are unique and original? Are they successfully employing any poetic techniques? Often, I can find something positive to point out and encourage them to keep writing. Which I think is vitally important.

Step 6: From the pile of 4-6 poems generated this way, I post 2-3 most days. The posting process offers another chance to edit, and more eyeballs and feedback for edits and changes.

Step 7: Repeat.


  1. interesting process.. thanks for sharing

  2. Wow! I told Jen when I read this.. that I'm a real slouch. You are very dedicated as a writer. I do some of these things.. but not everyday or consistently. But that is probably why you end up with three poems a day and I don't... But I especially like steps 2 and 3 ...

    Like the poem as well..

  3. who finds socks everywhere i need them in my boots i get them off the tarmac and get them dirty looks

  4. You are doing really good

    I like art too -- is it just for this series?

  5. Hi Mike, The artwork is original Stephan Anstey Digital Art. So in this case, yes it is only for this series, unless he teaches me his secrets. hehe