Diary Of The Heart: Little Red Book

By W. R. Watkins

Poetry, General non-fiction, Biography & memoir, Young adult | Paperback, Hardback, eBook


'Little Red Book' documents the writing process of W. R. Watkins, spanning over one year. Raw, reflective and emotional, it is Watkins' most personal collection of work to date, that not only captures him as his happiest moments, but also his battles with anxiety.



I have been writing for roughly 11 years now. I started out primarily writing song lyrics, mainly because that's what I found the easiest to write. For me, writing was (and still is) an emotional release for me that I find very therapeutic, as well as giving me the chance to be creative! I write primarily about what I'm thinking and feeling, which has resulted in the majority of my work to be raw and very open. I don't like writing with deep, complicated metaphors or concepts that require a Turing Machine! I strive to allow my work to be relatable, and open to interpretation. I find that this allows the reader to flip the story I'm telling onto their own lives. Whilst starting out in a song writing format, over the years, I found this form of writing was rather restrictive. When writing in a song lyrical format, you have to keep it short and to the point, otherwise you'd end up with the song that would drone on and on! So, by switching to the rather more traditional poetry style, of having the option to write longer verses, I found this to be more liberating and could get the story I want to tell without any hindrance. I first began work on my first book, You. Are. Not. Alone., during my final year at Aberystwyth University, where I was studying Animal Behaviour. One of my closest friends had recommended me a book of poetry, that I discovered had been self-published. At this point, I had roughly eight years’ worth of work collecting dust, and I knew that I wanted to at least do something with it! So, I began to look into the possibility of self-publishing my work, and in the process, began to look through my journals and notebooks, putting together pieces that I thought would be suitable. I began the book in January 2014, and released it July 2014. The end result turned out to be my story of growing up feeling isolated, depressed and my journey of turning my life around, by putting the poems together according to date, to form a sort of diary. In the back of my mind, I knew it would have been far easier to have just lumped some poems together and released it, but that would have been far too easy. And, to be honest, I don't think I've run across a poetry book yet, that ensures that there is a narrative arch between the poems. Maybe I'm wrong! The reviews were beyond encouraging and they gave me the confidence to explore the further possibilities of creating more poetry books with narrative arches. And so, the Diary Of The Heart series was born. The original concept was to be a trilogy of books, that would explore the three stages of a relationship. Infatuation, romance and beyond. An Obsessive Infatuation was the first to be released on December 2014. It was a very quick process, that follows the story of a teenagers first crush (and subsequently, written from that point of view!). Unlike You. Are Not. Alone., I found this book to be a little less personal. Whilst there were passages from my own experience with infatuations, the overall feeling felt slightly off balance with me, and I didn't feel very connected to it. However, I am still very pleased with how the book turned out regardless, because the overall them I feel was captured perfectly, from the material, to the title, to even the cover art. Everything lined up perfectly. But, the disconnection with the material left me feeling as if I was not being truly genuine, so I decided to change my idea for the trilogy and go for my second idea, which was that all the book released under the Diary Of The Heart umbrella title, would be honest bodies of work that would be true representations of me as a writer. And so, Little Red Book was the next one to be released under the Diary Of The Heart title. As it turned out, Little Red Book has become one of my most personal bodies of work to date. It was a simple concept: release all the poems that I wrote in my (then) current notebook (which happened to be little...and red!) as a form of a look back over the past few months of my life. Simple? Yes. Easy to do? No. Because with this book, I didn't want there to be heavy editing or having to cut poems out. Everything from the good, to the bad, to the ugly were to be included. Now, as a human first and foremost, this would mean that I would be exposing all of me, for the whole world to (potentially) read. And that was a scary process. On more than one occasion, I questioned my decision about including certain poems - Concrete Walls for instance - because of just how personal they were. I love writing, it's what I feel I should be doing. I'm now looking and getting ideas for potential stories. Some are short stories (or one shots as I believe they are now called!), and some slightly longer. We shall see!


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I have been writing for roughly 11 years now. I started out primarily writing song lyrics, mainly because that's what I found the easiest to write. For me, writing was (and still is) an emotional release for me that I find very therapeutic, as well as giving me the chance to be creative! I write primarily about what I'm thinking and feeling, which has resulted in the majority of my work to be raw ...


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5* Review

31 December

"This is the second book of this author that I’ve read, and everything I liked about 'You. Are. Not. Alone.' was doubled here, in my opinion. Every subject was explored further, and every poem felt stronger and more refined than the ones in the first book. But one thing they still have in common: raw emotions described with the words so accurate, it couldn’t be more perfect. This new collection of verses tells us more about the author and lets us deeper into his head. It’s so intimate, you almost don’t feel alright prying into it, but then you begin to see yourself there, and you can’t stop from reading more and more. It’s funny and shocking, how alike we all are. It’s maddening and sad, how we all have to face the same problems. My personal favorite poem was 'State of Mind'. It’s simple, and yet perfect, as it doesn’t need many words to deliver the message. This book is a part of the 'Diary of the Heart' series, and I can’t imagine a diary more personal, more intimate that this one. And though many of the poems are about the inner turmoil we all experience every now and then, there are also some inspirational verses that encourage us to be ourselves and not let the world crush us, no matter what. Because of this, I think this book is a must-read for teens who like poetry. Many lessons can be learned from the 'Little Red Book'. It’s not one of those poetry books full of hidden messages or complicated metaphors. The author uses a simple style, which is by no means easy. But everything’s open to the reader’s eye, laid down on the page, without double meaning or hidden context. Take it or leave it, it’s a raw reflection of life itself." - 5* review, from Alexandra Engellmann.


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"This is the second book of this author that I’ve read, and everything I liked about 'You. Are. Not. Alone.' was doubled here, in my opinion. Every subject was explored further, and every poem felt stronger and more refined than the ones in the first book. But one thing they still have in common: raw emotions described with the words so accurate, it couldn’t be more perfect. This new collection of verses tells us more about the author and lets us deeper into his head. It’s so intimate, you almost don’t feel alright prying into it, but then you begin to see yourself there, and you can’t stop from reading more and more. It’s funny and shocking, how alike we all are. It’s maddening and sad, how we all have to face the same problems. My personal favorite poem was 'State of Mind'. It’s simp...


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