Student Spotlight: Shelby Griffiths embarks on journey of self-published self-discovery
“Do not let the fear of criticism or the fear of rejection prevent you from doing what you want to do.”Shelby Griffiths
UVU student Shelby Griffiths, a current English major, recently published her first poetry novel, titled Wildflower. In an interview conducted on Wednesday, Aug. 28, Griffiths described the long yet healing journey of publishing her first poetry book.
Griffiths said that at first, she had no thoughts of publishing a poetry book since she considered herself to be more of a young adult novelist. However, after conversing with a coworker who had published their own poetry book, she thought she would as well.
The poetry book was originally designed for her enjoyment and healing, but Griffiths later decided to share it with others. She felt others might be able to relate to her experience.
The poems are specifically inspired by a past relationship that started flawlessly but ultimately ended in a break-up. To fully express the emotions that she felt, Griffiths uses free verse to paint the perfect picture of the joy that love can bring, along with the pain it can inflict.
The idea was daunting at first, mainly because it required allowing others to share in a vulnerable experience. However, Griffiths felt like expressing herself, despite what others might think, was more important. “Sometimes you have to use your creativity to express what you’ve been through,” said Griffiths.
Griffiths greatest challenge in creating her poetry book was the amount of time it took to compile the poems and put them into a flowing order. It was also time-consuming for Griffiths to put her illustrations through photoshop. Her goal was to allow the imagery in both words and pictures to carry the reader through the same journey she experienced from the relationship.
The first poem in Wildflower is her favorite because she feels it captures the intensity of the experience and sets the stage for the remainder of the book.
Griffiths hasn’t attended UVU for long, but since taking her British Literature class she’s been able to learn a lot more about the different types of writing, specifically the different poetry styles. Griffiths looks forward to applying this knowledge to future books and poems that she publishes.
Her greatest piece of advice, for students looking to pursue writing in any form, is to prioritize writing.
“If writing is important to you, and you love to write, I would say making time to do that is really important,” said Griffiths. She suggests setting aside a designated time to write, “whether that’s waking up earlier in the morning or making time in your schedule.”
Griffiths also recommends getting involved at UVU. Some ideas she listed was taking advantage of the opportunity to take writing and creative writing classes, and to look into the other writing opportunities UVU has to offer.
Griffiths’ book is currently available on Amazon Kindle. She’s currently working on getting the book available as a hardcopy, but that won’t be available for a few more weeks.
“If you want to write poetry or write a poetry book, do it. Even if the first publisher you contact doesn’t want to publish your book or your rough draft isn’t all that great, you’re only going to be that much closer to being where you want to be,” said Griffiths.
Photos courtesy of Shelby Griffiths.