CONSCIOUS WRITER AND PUBLISHED POET ANTHONY LYRICS TALKS DRIVING A SOCIAL CHANGE, SACRIFICE AND SELF-BELIEF.
Anthony Lyrics is a 27-year-old versatile writer and published poet who by day is a full-time Social Media Officer for a children’s charity. He first started writing poetry in his late teens, but it wasn’t until his friends saw his work and were impressed that he realised his talent. His passion for writing poetry continued to thrive, culminating in hundreds of poems and a handful of short stories ever since.
Although he now works in Social Media, he always dreamt of becoming a Copywriter, writing content for creative marketing campaigns and TV ads. Rather than TV and billboards, his main focus is now on the Digital space – writing content and also involved in marketing campaigns.
We caught up with Anthony to get more insight on what he does, and his advice to upcoming artists like himself:
Do you remember the first piece you ever wrote? Was it ever published?
“The first poem I ever wrote was never published. It was actually written on a birthday card for a friend I had a crush on. I wanted to do something nice for her, so I bought a card and painstakingly crafted four lines. To this day, those four lines are the longest it’s ever taken me to write a poem. She smiled from ear to ear when I gave it to her, and gave me a hug.”
What would you say is your favourite piece of work of yours? Do you have one?
“That’s a touch question because I have a few poems that I absolutely love for different reasons. If I had to really choose, I would have to say ‘The Virtuous Concept‘ project. The eBook is a unique take on Ghandi’s ‘Seven Blunders of Human Virtue’ – a list of seven acts of passive violence that society needed to prevent in order to avoid reaching a point of violence. It features character illustrations alongside poetry. My short story called ‘The M.A.D. Encounter‘ is also one of my favourites. It’s a comedic story about a fanatic stalker who breaks into her favourite writer’s flat one evening.”
What is the hardest thing when it comes to being a writer?
“The hardest thing is experiencing writer’s block – it’s like being unable to breathe. All you want to do is write but for whatever reason, you just can’t seem to string words together. They just escape your mind and you’re left staring at a black page or screen. I’ve written a couple blog posts on the topic of writer’s block – if you ever find yourself in the predicament check it out – Beating Writer’s Block. If on the other hand you need help with finding inspiration, I’ve also written something for that here – How To Find Writing Inspiration.”
Were there ever times you felt like giving up? What made you keep going?
“I’ve been involved with poetry for 11 years now, so I’d be lying if I said I’ve never thought about quitting. Poetry is a very undervalued art form with every little income involved. Nevertheless, poetry is my passion so each time I think about quitting, I work even harder to bring myself one step closer to achieving my goals. Whenever I face negative situations or comments, I try to learn from the situation and use the experience to make me a better person/writer.”
How was your experience at university?
“My overall experience at university was good. I went to the University of Hertfordshire, which was far enough to live out but not too far to go back home whenever I wanted. I really enjoyed the independence of leaving home and venturing out to discover myself and gain a good degree. My first impressions of university life were largely positive; cool people, good vibes and lots of parties and raves. I made a lot of friends while at university so I never really felt homesick.
I always imagined university to be a fun and epic experience and for the most part it was (which the exception of third year which was largely spent in the library). I studied English Language and Communication with Creative Writing and eventually got a 2:1, which I was and am very proud of.”
What would you say was the hardest thing about going to university and studying? What did you struggle with the most?
“The hardest parts of university was the assignments. Coming from A-Levels where teachers helped you as much as they could – at university, you were pretty much left to your own devices. Lecturers would give you assignments and expect you to figure out where to look for information and write. Of course they would help here and there, but for the most part, you were own your own.
Nevertheless, once I understood what was required, each assignment become more manageable as time went one. My tactic was to always start the work as soon as it was set so that I could have enough time to research and finish it. There’s nothing worse than leaving an essay to the last minute and rushing through it. By third year, I was very conscious of my grade so I made sure I focused hard on each assignment to achieve the best mark possible.”
Do you have any tips or advice for those currently at university or thinking about going?
“Although it’s easier said than done, my advice would be to know what career you want to go into before you do to university. A lot of people pick a degree that sounds good but either A) have no passion for it or B) graduate and go into a completely different line of work. If possible, try and pick a career you’ll love, then find a degree that will help you achieve it. With university fees on the rises and graduate jobs at a premium, it’s important that you don’t waste your time and money on a degree you won’t use in the future.
What in your opinion is your greatest achievement so far?
“My greatest achievement to date is being a published poet. I was a member of a website called Forward Poetry (forwardpoetry.co.uk) a few years back and at the time, they had a competition to win a slot in their anthology called ‘Down Memory Lane’. I submitted a piece by chance and a few months later, I was shocked when I received a letter saying my poem was selected and the anthology would be housed in the British Library.”
What are the main problems affecting the youth in a negative way in your opinion?
“I believe the main problems are a lack of support and belief. Young people are always viewed negativity so it makes it hard for them to believe in themselves and their capabilities. However, once young people realise their power and true potential as future leaders, they are able to change themselves and the world.”
What advice would you give to anyone with career aspirations like yours?
“Learn from people who are older and have done similar things to what you want to achieve. Study great people in history and see what made them tick. Use all that information to become the best. Go after your dreams. If you work hard and believe, you will one day achieve them. The key to success is hard work, self-belief, faith, sacrifice, help along the way and a bit of luck.
When I look back on who I was as a young teenager, an unwavering belief in myself and my path ahead is the biggest change. My biggest life lesson is the sense of achievement. Sometimes when you’re doing so much and moving so fast, the realisation of what you have achieved may not hit you. It’s only when you look back that you truly realise what you’ve done, how far you’ve come and what you’ve achieved.”
What legacy do you want to leave behind?
“My biggest inspiration is Tupac Shakur. He’s the main reason I got into poetry. His honesty, creativity and desire to change the world are what I admire the most. I want to be remembered as someone who was passionate about poetry, driving a social change. Someone whose words, people fell in love with and cherished. I want my work to outlast me, so that in centuries to come, people will still enjoy reading my poetry.“
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