A few weeks ago, Michelle, the writer behind Balancing Jane (a blog you should read if you aren’t already) who I was fortunate to meet at BlogHer13 and see again at BlogHer14, invited me to participate in “The Writing Process Blog Tour.”
It’s a bit like “tag” for bloggers: one blogger answers a series of questions about her (or his) writing process and then passes the questions onto another blogger. The idea is to provide a glimpse inside a writer’s process to, I hope, aid us all in thinking about writing just a bit differently.
Such an invitation is flattering (thank you, Michelle!) but also intimidating, considering the company. Here we go…
What are you working on?
A priority for me is Red Shutters, of course. How I do keep this blog fresh and interesting? How do I stay inspired in my writing? How do I make sure my stories are shared in such a way that they resonate with my readers? How should I engage with my readers in way that’s sustainable and authentic for me and for them? (As you can see, I spend a lot of time asking big questions.)
Another priority—a new one—is getting my writing featured in other places. Having my blog is empowering: I can write about anything, anytime. It’s all mine. Yet, even though I am part of blogging networks, writing on my own blog can feel isolating at times, so I’m starting down the freelance road. Last month, I submitted my first piece to a very well received website; I haven’t heard anything yet, which I’m interpreting as a rejection. That’s disappointing, of course, but it’s round one. I have more ideas ahead.
I am well aware that freelancing is tough business, though, so I’m starting slow and taking writing classes to improve my craft. I’m exercising the writing muscle, if you will. Plus, by taking classes, I hope to connect with other writers, editors, and a larger community of people who care about words. I’m working on getting better, a goal I sense is never-ending.
How does your work differ from others in its genre?
This question stopped me. The simplest answer is that my work differs because it’s my voice, my experience. While others may have similar experiences, no one else walks through each day in my 7.5 size Dansko clogs. That difference is critical, and it’s why people read blogs – because of a connection with someone and that person’s perspective. And, I’d like to think that mine is a worthy perspective to share.
Why do you write what you do?
When I was in high school I wrote a bi-weekly column for a local newspaper. The work was unpaid and barely edited (which showed sometimes), but it was exhilarating to have a platform to express myself. As a result of that experience, I considered journalism as a career and tried my hand at public relations for a bit. I ended up in education and public health (which I am quite happy about), and I’ve always made sure I had a writing component in every job I’ve had. It’s a part of my career in which I have found a lot of satisfaction. The challenge, of course, is that writing for work doesn’t fulfill a need inside of me; it addresses someone else’s agenda. That’s why Red Shutters exists. And, on Red Shutters, I write about what I’m thinking about and struggling with. For me, that’s often parenting, work-life juggling, and the fun stuff of life, such as home, books, and travel. I’ve received positive feedback from readers (and not just my mom!), with people telling how much my words have resonated with them. That means so much. It’s why I keep at it.
How does your writing process work?
My writing process is one part inspiration, one part procrastination, and one part getting it done. Then, editing. And more editing. And reading the piece aloud. And walking away from it for a while. Maybe even starting over from scratch. More editing and go.
Inspiration, or a feeling of connection to the subject of my writing, is key for me. Whenever I have forced the writing, it hasn’t worked. In those cases, I’ve struggled, stumbled, and generally been miserable. I trust myself enough now to have faith in my ability to find my rhythm in a piece. And I, much to my surprise, have found patience for the words.
Now, I’m passing the “passing the baton” to three bloggers whose writing I very much enjoy: Phyllis of Napkin Hoarder, Sarah of This Here Now, and Melissa of A Wide Line. I look forward to reading what they have to say!