Updated: Jan 22
Chaz Allen, local poet and author of The Thirteenth Circle, discusses his early days as a writer and some of the ways that new writers can establish themselves.
Chaz Allen began writing in his early teens with his first passion being journaling. Many writers start their careers with journaling and like them, Chaz soon discovered his journal entries turning into a unique voice and style that would become his poetry.
From there he went on to be published in the Phoenix journal at Chattanooga State and he became an active member of the Chattanooga Writers Guild. While Chaz has had works published in the past, he has just released his first major work, The Thirteenth Circle: A Confessional, which is a collection of 66 poems by Chaz.
One of the lessons Chaz learned early on with his writings was that establishing yourself as a creative can be a long journey. There are many resources artists from all art forms now have easy access to, including social media which Chaz utilized to promote his work. Through it, he has been establishing a following and spreading information about The Thirteenth Circle with ease.
A huge tip Chaz gives to aspiring local poets is for them to refine their own unique styles while also being able to speak with people and reach them on an almost universal level. While this concept doesn’t apply perfectly to all writing forms, in poetry it is important to be able to connect with the readers on a personal level while staying true to the unique style of the writer.
“It’s very important to have a real-life component to what you do,” Chaz said. “Someone you can physically talk to, see and learn from. Social media platforms are great tools but having mentors, teachers and like-minded friends are unparalleled.”
There are several important questions a writer has to consider when they are starting out. They include things like what kind of language they want to use, what genres they want to go into, what the goal of their writing is and so much more. Once those questions have been addressed, Chaz recommends writers to start looking for outlets to meet and discuss with others. He says that there are a lot of people willing to speak with others about their writing than people realize- meeting them is easy.
Another big part of not just writing but any art form is finding sources of inspiration. While there are many common elements that can inspire: artwork, music, locations, experiences, and so on, Chaz says that the process is unique to everyone. He jokes sometimes about “hearing the voices”, the idea that certain moments and experiences can spark sudden internal dialogue which leads to creativity. For creators the possibilities of what can inspire are endless.
“Maybe you're not a poet. Maybe you’re a murder-mystery writer, or something else completely different. Just find your rhythm and stay true to it. Be able to adapt and compromise, to learn and grow. It takes time, and if you can’t do it, get help from someone who can. You can’t wear every hat. Embrace the process and you’ll get to where you want to be.”
Make sure to go follow Chaz on Instagram with the handle below and to check out his new book, The Thirteenth Circle, with the link below!