A few weeks ago I got to interview Paul Penn, a poet and an entreprenuer. We were able to talk about life in general for at least an hour before we really got into the interview, which I really enjoyed. It’s rare nowadays to just talk to people, we are so distracted by our phones, our endless apps, and how busy life can be.
If you read any of his poetry, you will find that it has a neat rhythm and is typically lyrical. Many times, for example, he has collaborated with @babsginger on Instagram.
Find more of his poetry in Bleeding Hearts All For You In Seven Shades of Blue
What inspires you to write?
I used to write when I got upset. My grandma inspired me to write some poetry. I don’t read cover to cover. We went to New York for the funeral. I wrote a eulogy but I wouldn’t have been able to read it, because I would have cried.
And people also inspire me to write.
What genre do you write in? And how often?
I write songs. In ways that would become full songs. I write every day. I have something in my head before work and when I have a break. I have been writing everyday for the past two years, otherwise it’s been sporadic.
Who is/are your favorite author(s)?
Edgar Allen Poe, because of how he writes; and Dave Matthews, from the Dave Matthews Band.
Why did you start writing?
I always liked to write in school until two to three years ago when it became more consistent. I have always loved songs and lyrics.
Do you enjoy being a part of a large international community of writers/poets? How does it add value to your interactions? Do you ever have any negative experiences associated with such a large community?
That’s why I like Instagram, it’s global. There are people out there looking out there. I like teaching Kaylie what I like. I didn’t get feedback until I put my work on Instagram. People like what I write. Other people help me to motivate me. I just write.
I love it, because there’s a lot of love on Instagram, especially in the writing community. A few people may be overzealous, but it has been really positive. I find it really refreshing. People are putting themselves out there, so I think it’s pretty cool that people support that.
What sets your writing apart from others?
I write very lyrically. It’s been cool on Instagram. I usually write from the bottom of my heart and some positive stuff. I liked reading poetry as a kid. When you write lyrics, it’s pretty basic. A good lyricist rhymes creatively, other words that usually don’t rhyme.
What advice would you give an aspiring author?
To trust their own instincts with what they write and how they feel in life. Once you are free from what people think, everything that you believe in is what you do.
How do you define success as a writer/author?
Success is when you complete what you do. And you are happy with what you wrote. That you are completely satisfied with it.
What is one of your favorite pieces you’ve written?
“Through the Storm” “Love Drug,” “Dreams” published in a book. I have also written a piece or two about Kaylie, my daughter, that are my favorites that include “Angel Eyes” and “Through Her Eyes.”
What’s your favorite quote?
I am interested in starting my own business but have no idea how to start, what advice do you have?
To put in the work. I have always had an entreprenural mindset. We just learn. You have to have that mentality. Keep going. Successful people work a lot, always ask questions and learn from others.
What are some challenges to founding your own business?
Being able to accomplish everything in 24 hours. There’s so much to too. The most important thing is finding the right people to work with you, connecting with people who are on the same page. I put in the hours. Do an event with MS, met the mayor of Flint, MI. There’s a lot of shitty people but there’s also a lot of good people. Formulate a network of people.
Now the opposite, what are some rewards?
Having something that is yours, that you’ve created. Whether it’s small or not. That you’re really passionate about. I want to make enough money to support my family but also enjoy what you do. It’s not a job, it’s what you’re working towards.
Who inspires you most as an entrepreneur?
My dad. He has a really good work ethic. His management style. He has always inspired me, helping others. Corporate America has inspired me to be an entrepreneur. I enjoy going to work every day.
How do you define success?
I don’t know what it is yet. I am proud that my ideas have come to fruition. I am proud of what I am doing. I am putting in a lot of work. My personal life of raising Kaylie.
What motivated you to start your own business?
Maybe it’s my generation. Since I was 14, I have been interested in small business. That’s how they lived. You put your heart and mind into it and work at it. Immigrants from overseas have done it; they’ve built their small businesses from the ground up. That inspires me.