Today I’m scheduled to join an online blog tour, to share a bit about my personal writing processes. You can read prior submissions by:
I’m trying to put my finger on what feels so odd about these questions and answers, but I’m struggling to identify and edit out the awkwardness and so I’m going to share where I am at this moment. These answers may feel odd because I’m still identifying exactly what kind of writer I am and what kind of writer I want to become, so while I’m posting the middle of the story today, six months or a year from now I’ll be able to look back and see how far I’ve come. Anyway, let’s get to it:
What am I working on?
In advance of the Festival of Faith and Writing, I chose a topic to focus on for 50 days and spent some time each week (mostly on Sunday afternoons at a local coffee shop) writing. By April 10 I had about 15 pages of a draft non-fiction book proposal: a 80% research/20% memoir on leadership and career development and being female. I’m not sure I’m ready to write about that topic yet, so I’ve put it on ice while I regroup. I thought that FFW would leave me inspired but instead I’m a little frozen up by the multitude of options I have. (Also, because I have been completely swamped with other things). I’m excited to wrap up a few big projects at work so I can free up a little mental space and jump back in.
This month I’ve been working on the technical side of my blogging, including converting this space to a self-hosted blog at wordpress.org and going through some blogging bootcamp workshops created by Julie at www.fabulousblogging.com.
Why do I write what I do?
My best skills are wrapped up in my writing life, but I don’t always know how to use them, and I really struggle with how to use them creatively. This may sound weird, but I love writing project reports, shaping policy proposals, and building persuasive documents that let me dig into the pros and cons of an idea. I like to read, research, and consider a topic until I understand how complex ideas or systems fit together and can begin to see places where ethical questions or institutional incentives come into play. That sounds incredibly nerdy, but what I mean is that I like to pull ideas apart and see where they are weak or inconsistent, and then think and write about ways to strengthen the foundations or resolve any conflicts. It takes courage to examine your own core beliefs and see if they can hold up under pressure, and this is one of my favorite things about my brain. (It can also be a bit of a bummer. Just saying.)
How does my writing process work?
I’m always thinking about something — usually about a few different things all at the same time. I have a notebook where I jot down what I’m thinking. Writing it out helps me begin to sort my thoughts and bring some organization to what’s going on in my head. I’m a huge believer in diligent editing, and I will edit and re-structure and then edit again. I’ve never understood when people say that they wrote something and that the first writing of it was cathartic or therapeutic and then they post it online in that form. I’m fine with that for more casual life updates, restaurant recommendations, and that sort of thing, but the more personal or controversial a topic, the more time I like to let pass between my first, second, and third drafts.
How is my work different from others of its genre?
I really enjoy writing this blog, but I have a full-time job that uses up a ton of brain space and I’m not trying to change that. I love working and I don’t think of this blog as a way to get a book contract so I can quit my job and write forever — that whole idea sounds pretty terrible to me. Instead, I write to keep family and friends up-to-date and to learn to use my words creatively. My words need a less-serious outlet and writing here keeps me sharp and free and makes me happy. I think that’s what makes my writing here different from other bloggers in my “genre.” Also, I don’t know if I actually have a genre.
Okay, that’s where I am. If these answers seem a little awkward to you, then we are on the same page! I’m excited for the next writer on this blog tour because I know she is for real and will have insightful and uplifting answers. Be sure to stop by Marvia’s blog next week for her version of the writing process tour.
And, I don’t say it enough: thanks for sticking with me through these transitions. We’re almost at the finish line. Do you like the new header and layout? Missing anything? Let me know.