Interview With David Jones: Internationally Bestselling Author & NFT Writer
There is something for everyone. Don't skip this!! - NFTs, Writing & More
In our series of interviews, today we have with us bestselling author David Jones from the Liverpool, United Kingdom. David is an amazing writer with a curious mind. He has enjoyed a great deal of popularity on social media (with around 300k followers (@storydj)), and his writing has variously been posted by celebrities including Cara Delevingne(@caradelevingne), Khloe Kardashian(@khloekardashian), Britney Spears(@britneyspears) and Camilla Cabelo(@camila_cabello). His books have enjoyed tremendous success, often ranking as best-sellers across the world (we have shared the links below). Take out some time to read our interview with David and learn from his experience. His valuable thoughts will help you become a better writer.
1. Please tell us something about yourself. What do you love to do in your free time apart from writing?
Writing is undoubtedly my biggest hobby but I do lots of other things too. Travel is probably my second biggest love - I want to see as much of the world as possible and enjoy spending time on the road. That also provides lots of inspiration for my writing. I’m a big tennis fan too (both watching and playing) so that takes up quite a bit of my time. Elsewhere, I enjoy video games (I’m still addicted to Skyrim 11 years on!) and of course, I like to read a lot too.
2. When did you start writing? Have you always wanted to be a writer or there was some kind of life event that led you to choose writing?
I’ve always wanted to be a writer and I’ve always written from the earliest age - I can’t remember a time when I didn’t write! I used to write short poems and short stories even when I was in primary school and then I started entering competitions and writing more “seriously” as I got older. Writing has always been a way for me to make sense of life events. It still feels like a hobby - something I do in my downtime - it’s a big enough part of my being to have taken up all of my life.
3. Do emotions play a vital role in writing? Do you think a person could become a writer if they don't feel emotions strongly?
They certainly play a big role for me! I write a lot; poetry, short stories, plays, novels, scripts, novellas - and emotions are vital for each. Emotions decide everything from the words to the setting and the characters. I think all art is at least in part associated with emotion, and writing is a way to get that emotion out and process it. I wouldn’t say that you absolutely have to feel emotions strongly to be a writer (literally anyone can write!) but tapping into your feelings and looking within are probably useful skills.
4. Is being able to write poetry a skill or a gift? What separates creative writers from others?
As with all things in life, I think it’s both. Some people are naturally more predisposed toward certain activities. There might be lots of reasons for this including environment, education, experiences maybe even something innate, but some people will just be initially “better” at some things than others. For example, I am not good at maths - I don’t take to it naturally, whereas I know plenty of people who do. However, I could “learn” the skill of maths through practice and spending lots of time on it. The same applies to writing. It’s really a mix. The most “gifted” writer in the world would get nowhere if they didn’t practice the actual skill of writing.
5. What are the challenges you initially faced while publishing your books? Do you have any advice for writers who are planning to publish a book? What are the mistakes to avoid?
My biggest challenge was absolutely building an audience. Anybody can publish a book. It’s easy to do and costs nothing (beware of anyone who tries to charge - it’s a scam) but the marketing side is much more difficult. While it’s totally fine to publish out of love, if you want to have a full-time career as a writer, marketing is important. That would be my biggest advice: think of the business side. Too many writers romanticise the arts as being separate from or above money - but writers need money to pay for the time they spend writing. My advice is to use social media to build your readership long before you publish a book. Maintain a blog, post snippets of your writing across different social media platforms, learn about social media marketing, learn how social media algorithms work - generally put loads of effort into understanding how to actually sell books and make a living. It’s not the most popular or glamorous part of being a writer, but understanding that it’s a business is incredibly important. Over time I’ve been fortunate enough to build quite a large audience for my books but it’s difficult at first. Other mistakes include listening to the wrong kind of criticism (constructive help is super useful - but does a random blog/person on the internet really know what they’re talking about?), being too afraid to publish (putting your writing into the world is scary!) and not proofreading/editing properly are all big mistakes!
6. Please tell us something about your books? Which one is your favourite and which one is a must-read for our readers?
My books use short (and sometimes longer) poetry to explore the many textures of life and the experiences that we all share. Themes including love, heartbreak, hope and dreams are universal and I love to write about the human condition. Hopefully, by identifying with the poems, people can realise that we have more things in common than dividing us. My favourite has to be Love And Space Dust. It wasn’t the first book that I published, but it’s always been the most popular and it “opened doors” for me. It was widely quoted across social media, celebrities shared some of the poems - it massively helped to kickstart my writing career and in many ways, I am where I am now because of that book. So I would say maybe that’s the must-read! I was happy to release a sequel this year as well. Love And Space Dust Volume 2 means a lot to me as well because writing it made me revisit the first book. That was like going back in time to a different era and a different part of my life - it was extremely nostalgic.
7. David, you seem to be multi-talented and a very curious person. You are working on a thesis in early modern travel writing, you are working on a full-length novel and short filmmaking. Please tell us something about these works and when you are planning to launch your novel.
I am pretty curious! I really view all these different things under the same umbrella term of “art” - they’re all different mediums through which I try to make sense of the world around me. The thesis was particularly interesting because it was academic writing. I wrote about travel writing in the early modern period (so around 1500-1650) when people were experiencing the world for the first time. Their perceptions of the world around them were completely unique because they didn’t have much/any prior information to base their opinions on. The thesis taught me a lot about how we conceptualise the world, how we build knowledge and how imagination still shapes the worldview. My filmmaking mainly consists of short sketches but I'm planning some scripts for longer, more experimental films soon. I have quite a few novels now! I’ve completed two, have the first draft of a third and am working on a fourth. These are all part of the same series examining the nature of existence, identity and cause vs effect. The first will be released later this year. It’s quite surreal in tone (with a surrealistic title - The Sky is Unlike an Ostrich) and I’m hoping to have it released in the autumn.
8. David, you describe yourself as an NFT writer. How this technology will benefit writers and what are the opportunities you have discovered that many don't even know about?
I firmly believe that NFTs are the future of writing and the arts more generally. They make reading more accessible (by having work publicly available rather than hidden behind paywalls) while simultaneously helping writers to make a living. NFTs completely cut out middlemen and “arbiters of taste.” They encourage new and more experimental works to be published and allow writers to try new things without being trapped in a corporate bubble. Right now the literary world is controlled by a few “elites” with outdated views on what makes writing “good” and what is “popular.” This means that the same kinds of writing are published again and again - the market stagnates and fewer people read. We’ve already heard about how poetry is dead (only to be resurrected by writers posting it on social media) - the novel is now supposedly dead because fewer people read. That’s all because the literary world is static and continues to churn out the same books in the same limited style. By encouraging creativity and experimentation while increasing accessibility and helping writers make a proper living, NFTs will lead to a literary Renaissance. There are loads of opportunities from literary NFT magazines to NFT poetry collectives and even exhibitions in art galleries. NFTs are making poetry more popular than it's been in a long, long time.
9. How do you use NFTs for writing and what would be your advice for writers planning to start with NFTs?
I use NFTs for mixed media writing. I use them to combine film, archive footage and illustration with poetry in a way that simply wouldn’t be possible without NFTs. It’s very liberating and exciting to be able to combine different mediums - it helps me to realise the imaginative potential of my words. Literary NFTs are published in the same way as any other NFT. The first thing you need is a piece of writing. That could be a text-based poem, it could be a narrated poem over a video, or it could be a painting or photograph mixed with words. From there, the piece needs to be “minted” (uploaded to an NFT marketplace for sale). There are several to choose from. OpenSea, Foundation, KnownOrigin and Objkt are some of the most popular marketplaces. NFTs are bought and sold using cryptocurrency so you’ll also need a crypto wallet. My biggest piece of advice would be to do as much research as possible. Look for other NFT writers and see what they’re doing before you even consider minting a piece. The worst mistake you can make with NFTs is rushing ahead without learning. It’s hard to remove an NFT from the world (they’re meant to be permeant) which means that you can’t easily erase any mistakes. My other big piece of advice is to make what you want to make - don’t be influenced by trends or what’s perceived as “good” or “bad.” The whole point of NFTs is to take chances and experiment, so you’ll have the most success if you simply express yourself authentically.
10. What advice would you give to your younger self? Do you wish you could have done something differently?
I don’t necessarily wish that I could have done anything differently - I’m happy with how my writing career is going although I wish I had gotten into literary NFTs earlier. Even just a year earlier would have made a big difference and it would have been extremely exciting to be around at the start of the movement. The advice I would give to my younger self is the same as I would give to my current self: be as authentic as possible. There are always lots of literary trends, always lots of people to tell you what you should/shouldn’t write, but none of that matters. If you write something that’s completely true and completely authentic then it’s already art.
11. From where do you get writing ideas? Do you read books or everything is based on your personal experience?
It’s definitely a mixture of the two. I read a lot of books and I think they inform my writing style. Every writer is a mix of their own, unique style and all the books that they’ve ever read. I also believe that’s the only way to “learn” how to write. Reading is much better and much cheaper than creative writing classes/courses - you can find all the knowledge that you need on the bookshelf. Ideas are slightly different and most of them come from personal experience. The ideas for poems and stories come to me over a normal day - it could be on a walk-in nature, meeting someone, travelling - anything really. Ideas are unpredictable but they’re also everywhere.
12. Share something your readers wouldn't know about you?
I run a theatre company! It’s called Magpie Theatre Liverpool and we will soon be performing an Oscar Wilde play (The Canterville Ghost) for three nights at a theatre in Liverpool. We also have a show on at this year’s Edinburgh Fringe. Theatre is very important to me and I hope to have many more plays performed in the future!
Odist Magazine - For Poets & Creative Writers is a reader-supported publication. To receive new posts via mail and support our work, consider becoming a free or paid subscriber.
Check Out Davids Books And Learn More About Him From Here: David Jones
Make sure to share and spread love🥰❤