Today we are shining the Eckleburg blog light on an artist who has already accomplished so much in a few short years. As young artists, it can feel challenging to begin our careers whether it is getting an internship, or being published. This article is to provide a shot of inspiration all
for of the starving artists out there (broke college students), and hopefully provide some ideas that can be used to help start the path towards being a professional artist.
This is Annie Hwang, poet extraordinaire. Annie is a two time published author (third time coming soon), relentless blogger, and a junior in college. Annie is a beyond amazing poet/student/overall human being. I had the immense privilege of being in high school with her when she was publishing her first two books and it was impressive, like soul crushingly impressive. Not to mention she has managed to keep up her literary momentum since entering college, and travelling across the world to South Korea. That is why this artist spotlight is an exclusive interview with the inspiring Annie Hwang.
• What’s your major, what year are you, and how old are you?
My major is English Language & Literature. Surprise, surprise. But really, it is a surprise because I am living in South Korea. I am in my third year, and I am 21 years old.
• What university do you currently attend?
Seoul National University
• You’re essentially a poet, but do you dabble in other literary forms (i.e. prose)?
I think anyone who likes to write has the dream of one day writing that Nobel prize-winning novel or international bestseller. Although I feel most in my element with poetry, I am always dabbling in prose.
• How did you come upon the decision that you were going to publish your works and what are some steps you took to get there?
By sophomore year in high school, I had accumulated a significant amount of writing. I cannot vouch for the quality, but the quantity was there, and seeing as I was already keen on sharing them on my blogs, my father suggested I bind them in a book for family and friends. Publishing a book had always been my long-term goal, but it had never occurred to me before then that I could start off small, by self-publishing. I looked for companies near my area and became my own nagging editor and agent.
• How has your personal writing style evolved over years, particularly since being in college?
No matter how many times I despair that I have reached my limit, when I look back on my old writings, I always discover that I have changed. In regards to prose, I can see the influences I received from my favorite authors at the time, and with poetry, I can see the different themes that dominate for each period of my life. From God to death to love to etc.
• What are some tips to keeping a blog alive and thriving?
When I had a lot of time on my hands in middle school and high school, I did a lot of networking on blogging sites. I supported other people, exposed myself to them, posted about things that would interest others. Now I mostly write and post for myself, not as consistently or promptly, but I still gain just as much, if not more followers, by simply focusing on my own goals and passions.
• You are so young and so amazingly accomplished, do you have any advice for other young artists trying to build themselves up?
It would be a nightmare to think I am “accomplished,” past tense. I am far from being accomplished, far from knowing enough, or having done enough. I am still on the track, like most people my age. I would hate to give advice to people younger than me who have age on their side and probably talent, too, but – There is no secret: Learn to love something. You will know by the hours of energy you pour into it. You will know by how much it hurts when you realize how much you suck at it. Then you will fall in love all over again.
• Who/what have been some of your biggest inspirations to keep you going professionally as a poet?
Emily Dickinson, Anne Carson, Richard Siken, Ocean Vuong, Louise Glück, are some poets that come to mind, whose writings never fail to inspire me. People who have read a
nd sent me messages telling me that I am inspiration, keep me inspired.
• What has been, for you personally, your biggest accomplishment?
My biggest accomplishment was self-publishing my second book, Recovery Ritual. Sure, I want to burn it along with my first one. But the pride I felt at the time is unforgettable.
• How does one maintain motivation to endure the process of publishing a book?
I am so awful at tedious things. Why can’t I be popular enough already so that people want to do that stuff for me? Self-publishing was the most tedious thing I had to endure as a grade school student. I motivated myself with the surge of excitement I
felt at the idea of controlling every aspect of my work of art. It was like designing how my blog would look. It was tedious, but at the same time, I could find the fun in it once I change my attitude toward it.
• What gets you in the zone to write (snack foods, types of music/playlists, movies, books, podcasts, people)
Complete silence in my room. Dim lighting. Early morning or late at night.
• What excites you most about your future in poetry or anything literary (Like is there anything your looking forward to or even a small goal? you’re hoping to accomplish)
These days, I am coming up with a new collection for my college years. I am very excited because it is a whole new writing style, whole new themes I am dealing with, and completely new “self” that I have created and discovered. I don’t know what will happen to the manuscript once it is complete, but this small, humble personal project is something that is happening on the side, with no particular deadline or stress. It grows alongside my life.
To keep up to date with Annie’s most current works and to be apart of her poetic life adventures follow her blog on Tumblr.
Annie’s blog: http://www.somstory.tumblr.com