This week we caught up with Aimee Williams, prolific poet and children's book author, to learn a bit more about what keeps her busy. From her bespoke poetry business to her social media 'lockdown series', Aimee taps into people's emotions with every word she writes.
Who are you? Tell us a little bit about yourself.
Hi, my name is Aimee. I’m 37 years old, married and have three wonderful children. I live in a village near Bristol and am hugely blessed with a supportive network of family and friends around me. I am a social worker and have been fortunate enough to be able to introduce my love of writing into my work with young people. When I’m not writing, working or looking after the family, I like to keep fit and I also enjoy relaxing in the garden with a nice chai latte!
I have written poetry from a very young age and started a bespoke poetry business in July 2016 called ‘A Way With Words’. I write personalised poems for any occasion (weddings, funerals, birthdays, anniversaries etc.) and provide them either by email or in framed gifts. It was always a dream of mine to write children’s stories though, and in May 2016 I had my first children’s book published with Rowanvale. It is a collection of rhyming bedtime stories called ‘The Fairy, the Dreamer, and a Rabbit named Woof!’ and I wrote this especially for my three children.
What first inspired you to start writing?
My inspiration has always come from my own life experiences, my faith, and in later years from being a wife and mother. I do remember when I was around 10 years old though my Grandma gave me a book of poems written by Pam Ayres. I loved her humour and knew that I wanted to be able to share my rhymes and make people smile like that too!
Writing soon became an integral part of my life. My family has always supported my passion and from a very young age I was asked to write little ditties for any family occasion. They encouraged me to follow my dream and start up my own business, and since then I have had proofreaders on hand and supporters who share every poem I write. I write when times are hard, I write when times are good and I write because it’s something that I simply love to do!
What made you want to work with Rowanvale and be published?
A friend introduced me to someone who was in the process of having a book published with Rowanvale. She highly recommended them. As it was my first time getting a book published, I was keen to have a lot of support and guidance and Rowanvale certainly provided that! I found the whole process amazing and was surprised at how much they involved me. I am thrilled with the finished product too!
When you’re not writing, what are you reading?
I like to read about real life and so read a lot of autobiographies. These tend to be the more harrowing accounts of people's experiences. I find these always have, and continue to, inspire me to be the best social worker I can be.
What has kept you going during lockdown?
When lockdown started, I challenged myself to write a poem a day and post them on social media. I call these ‘Poems from a Lighthouse’ and the whole intention was to spread some light and positivity during this difficult time. I have continued to write and share almost every day and only missed some when I was poorly myself, although at that point I wrote about my experience of battling what the GP thought was Coronavirus.
I have written about the highs and lows of lockdown, about home-working, home-schooling and how life has changed. Some poems are humorous, some are more thought provoking and some are grounded in faith. I wrote about Easter, and I wrote about VE Day by putting a poem to music and video. I committed myself to again write and share a poem every day during Mental Health Awareness Week. I have experienced mental health difficulties in various ways myself over the years and so, again, my hope was that by sharing with others it may provide some support and comfort.
During lockdown I have also written rhyming quizzes to give people something else to get involved in and I have done ‘Word of the Day’ where people have sent me words to describe how they feel and I have written a poem about it for them. Local churches have asked me to write specific poems on specific themes that they can share during their services. Many individuals have contacted me to share their own experiences of lockdown and have asked me to write a poem for them to keep as a memento. I am currently working on some more poems to music, one which aims to give hope to others and one which will hopefully provoke thoughts and conversations about the pandemic. This particular poem will feature one of my daughters as she inspired it with her heartfelt ‘why’ questions.
What I initially thought would be something I could do for my local community has become something much bigger, something really interactive, and my poems are being shared across the globe. This feels like one thing I can do to help during this crisis and my hope and prayer is to reach as many people as I can because the whole world is in this together!
You can read any of my poems on my Facebook, Twitter (@author_aimee) and Instagram (@awaywithwordspoetry).
What’s your best advice for handling writer's block?
Seek inspiration – the world around us has so many wonderful elements and treasures that it can spark inspiration at any time! I also find it helpful to have my own peaceful thinking spot! During lockdown this has become my garden bench that my children and I have painted like a rainbow. I love sitting on my bench with a cup of coffee, enjoying the world around me, especially when the sun is shining and the birds are singing too!
What’s one thing you always have with you when you’re writing?
Usually my phone! Thoughts and ideas will come to me at any moment on any day so the notepad in my phone is always full!
What is the one book you would take with you if you were stuck on a desert island?
It would have to be my Bible as it is my constant source of comfort and guidance.
What is the best part about being an independently published author?
Having my own book and being so involved in the process was a dream come true! It felt like a huge accomplishment!
What’s next for you?
I will keep writing poems and hope that sharing them will bring comfort, joy and laughter to others. I have more children’s stories ready to go too and so hope to get more published.
People have asked if I will get a collection of ‘Poems from a Lighthouse’ published as they have documented lockdown and the journey through the Coronavirus pandemic. This is something I am now really considering!