I had a chance to ask Brandon Diehl (B. Diehl) some questions about his work and experiences as a writer. We met via Five 2 One Magazine, where he once wrote a column and has been a contributor.
Brandon was kind enough to send me his latest book of poetry, Zeller’s Alley (www.whitegorillapress.com, copyright B. Diehl, 2016)
You can find his book on Amazon Here
I highly recommend this book of poetry. Edgy, organic, and powerful, his words will speak all the way to the marrow of your bones.
1. Please tell our readers who are you as a writer, and did you always want to be a writer, or did your passion for writing evolve over time?
My name is Brandon Diehl. My “pen name” is B. Diehl. I was working full-time at some really lame warehouse job when I first started getting published. I didn’t want it to be too easy for my employer (or any other potential employers) to find me online and read all of my crazy/unprofessional material. At the same time, though, I wanted certain people to know who I was. So I went with “B. Diehl.” I don’t even have a day job at the moment. I just write for now and attempt to sell books. But the name stuck.
I’ve been writing since age 5 or something. I didn’t take it seriously until I was 23.
2. What is your take on writing contests, free and otherwise, and do they help a writer get noticed?
They could help, for sure. I tend to stay away from contests just because I don’t really think any writer is better than another. I don’t think I believe in good or bad art. Everything is subjective. We all have different preferences, though.
3. Your work has appeared Hobart, Cultured Vultures, Five 2 One Magazine, BOAAT, Yellow Chair Review, Torrid Literature Journal, Words Dance, and many other places. How has your publication, self-publishing or otherwise, affected your writing and your career?
I don’t really see “getting published” as anything other than more exposure. I don’t know what credibility is or what legitimacy is. It’s all silly, in my opinion. When other writers ask me “how to get published,” I just tell them to post things as Facebook statuses. It’s the same thing, honestly.
4. How do you query those places where you sub your work? What do you do with rejections (declines)? (How do you handle them)
I just blindly send emails or use Submittable. I’m fine with rejections. Rejections have nothing to do with your work being “bad.” Rejections are just rejections.
5. Did you work on your author platform before, during, or after you began to publish?
I’ve always been a social media addict, but I didn’t start calling myself a “writer” or a “poet” until some magazines started to accept my work for publication. I don’t think you need to be published in order to call yourself a writer or poet. I guess I just needed a self-esteem boost. I needed to hear that someone actually liked my stuff. That made me more comfortable about sharing my writing.
6. What is your advice to writers who are getting started, young or old or in-between?
Pay absolutely no attention whatsoever to criticism…unless it’s solicited advice. The Internet is filled with trolls and psychopaths. To writers who are just getting started: if you’re “edgy” and honest, there will come a time when people will attack your work. These people will most likely be other writers who are bitter about no one reading their work. They will attack your work in an attempt to gain exposure for themselves. Ignore them. If you’re pissing people off, congrats. You’re on the right track.
7. How has being a writer changed your life?
It has made me more antisocial. It has made me weird to be around. If I’m hanging out with you, it’s because I plan on writing about you. I’ll use a fake name, though, so no worries.
8. Who are your favorite authors, those you read growing up and/or read now, and what influence do you think they had on your writing?
Growing up…I read a lot of R. L. Stine, like every kid. Then I read a lot of Nicholas Sparks for some reason. Then I got into some of the more classic writers like Salinger. I didn’t care about poetry until I discovered the magic of free-verse. Charles Bukowski, Billy Collins, Dave Newman, Dan Fante – these are just 4 of the poets who made me want to write poetry.
9. What is more important—writing for fame and money, or writing for the sake of writing? Do you think you could ever stop writing even if you made little or no money from it?
For the sake of writing. For the some of creating something that’ll still be around once you’re dead. No one makes money from writing unless you’re writing about vampires making out with werewolves or whatever.
10. Who in your life has been most supportive of your writing journey?
My parents, hundreds of kind strangers on the Internet, and the NJ/PA poetry scenes. ❤