It was a happy coincidence that my friend and fellow writer, Bill at Pinklightsabre’s Blog asked if I’d like to participate in a blog hop/tour/thingamajiggy at a time when I was trying to build up a little more writing steam. It provided me yet another distraction and like any good writer, I jumped at the opportunity to write about writing rather than actually do any work writing. Bill is an engaging blogger and I often read his short, but powerful posts thinking “How does he do that?” Thanks, Bill!
I’m not usually game for blog chain letters, but when I saw some of my favorite blogging buddies doing it, including Ross over at Drinking Tips for Teens, I thought I’d give it the old college/grad school dropout try.
It starts off answering four questions about a writer’s process and project:
1) What am I working on?
I am dragging myself back to the novel draft I wrote for NaNoWriMo in November 2012. I started a second novel, but the compulsive finisher in me kept being distracted by this unedited binder of slush.
I am slogging through Phoenix Rock page by grueling page. I started out with the lofty goal of writing about the effect of alcoholism on a single family and by the 3rd chapter, was completely bored. So, people started dying. By the end of the book, there was murder, secrets and betrayals. It turned into a soap opera.
As I have the attention span of a gnat, I’m also writing short stories in the hopes of re-launching another blog focused on fiction.
2) How does my work differ from others of its genre?
It doesn’t. Like most writing, the story has been told in a thousand different mutations. It’s just the author’s voice that shapes it differently. So, it’s my voice – one that I am still working on each time I write. What’s authentic, what is worth saying?
3) Why do I write what I do?
The first novel for me is a stereotype – I have to get it out, so that I can move onto more creative endeavors. It is not based on my life, but it is certainly about the experiences many people have had in families destroyed by addiction. It’s my angry inner child working out issues.
The blog writing I do is about immediacy – whatever weighs on my mind or has piqued my interest at the moment. I started a blog to establish a writing habit and it still serves that purpose, but it has also helped me find a voice and pacing that suits me.
4) How does my writing process work?
Initially, as a writer, I felt like a failure, because I didn’t write consistently. I still don’t and maybe that’s another good thing I’ve learned from blogging. It doesn’t work for me to write every day, not for my schedule or for my creative flow. Things have to brew in my head and I’ll think about a subject or phrase over the course of several days before writing about it. I’ll carry it with me in the garden or at the grocery store or while I’m running.
According to the advice, I go about everything ass-backwards. I edit while I write. I will work one sentence over and over until the rhythm or words roll the way I like them. A blog post rarely gets published with under 25 revisions. It’s part compulsive perfectionist, but also an absolute love of language. I read paragraphs aloud to see if the rhythm is natural and if the words easily convey what I’m trying to say.
I also like economical writing. This has made editing a novel very difficult. I know how to tell a story and how to tell it quickly, but I need to meander a bit more and flesh out characters and scenes with more detail. It’s my running joke that you could read my entire novel and have no idea what a single character looks like.
Writing is how I understand the world around me, so nothing ever gets written without me learning something. And that’s at the heart of my writing process.
It is a great honor to pass this blog tour torch onto two writers in the blogosphere. They will be posting about their own writing processes next week.
Meet, if you haven’t had the pleasure already, Helen Kuusela (aka Tiny) from Tiny Lessons Blog.
Helen spent her early years in Finland and Sweden where she earned her Master’s degree in management. Her career in international development took her and her family to countries on several continents. During her eight years in Africa, she fell in love with the continent, its people, rich culture, nature and wildlife. She enjoyed adventures in the wild as a “weekend safari driver” and became a musician, presenting traditional African songs along with African musicians in each country where she lived.
In mid-1990’s she settled in the US and now lives with her family in Florida, where she also runs an international consulting practice.
Despite her successful career writing articles, white papers and research publications/books on organizational management and human resources, she always held onto the dream to “just write” – stories, poetry and even novels. Starting a blog in July 2012, she connected with other writers, new and established in the blogging world, which gave her the inspiration and courage to sign up for NaNoWriMo 2013. She to wrote her first novel, Confessions of a Rescue Dog, which was published in February 2014. It’s a heartwarming story about a rescue dog, a treat for pet lovers of all ages. She is currently working on a poetry collection and a novel inspired by her years in Africa.
Blog link: www.tinylessonsblog.com
Book blog link: www.firdemontepress.com
Links to some of her favorite posts:
About writing: http://tinylessonsblog.com/2014/02/09/omg-he-did-it/
About blogging: http://tinylessonsblog.com/2012/07/20/blog-around-the-clock-a-poem/
About wildlife/travel: http://tinylessonsblog.com/2012/08/13/chasing-queen-elizabeths-elephants/
And meet my fellow struggling writer, Amy Reese from amyreesewrites. She’s got a short story habit. The End.
Okay, maybe not that short.
Amy likes to write stories that have a supernatural element, where fantasy and reality intersect and sometimes collide. She owes her love of reading to her mother who has been like her own private library, providing her with a constant source of great books. She has said she has never disliked a book recommended by her mom. On her blog, she explores different genres and focuses on the craft in the pursuit of writing that is fluid, seamless, and consuming, because being swept up by the words in a story is pure joy. Very soon, she will make a second attempt at writing her novel.
She is a Friday Fictioneer, which is slightly more dignified than my solo writing groups, the Saturday Slugs and the Sunday Sloths.
Keep an eye out next week for Helen and Amy’s takes on their writing processes. Meanwhile, back in The Green Study, I will be pointedly ignoring my novel while losing again at Solitaire.