I’ve been helping a newer writer flesh out an essay idea and as I tried to help him figure out how to approach a new version it occurred to me how little I’ve examined how I go about doing what I do. In fact, it never occurred to me to even consider it. So when Barbara Wilson Shallue over at Long Hollow blog asked me to participate in an online blog stroll, it was an opportunity for self-reflection. Barbara and I met in an online group of writers and I quickly grew to enjoy her posts and her writing. You might, also.
Don’t worry, I’m not going to wax long about my writing process. Like my blog posts, I get right to the point here!
What am I working on?
I’m an essayist and blogger, so I always have an essay or blog post in progress. Right now I’m working on a collection of essays about my life, culminating in my reconciliation with my husband after being divorced for 26 years: how it came about (not a reunion, not Facebook) and those intervening years. And then there are essays that just pop into my head and I simply have to write them. Once in a while I’ll see a call for submissions for an anthology and write to order, or find something in my extensive inventory that can be tweaked for the topic. My essay “50 Ways I Love His Mother” appeared in Chicken Soup for the Soul: Just Us Gals last November. Another, called “My Father’s Desk,” appears next week in the brand new Chicken Soup for the Soul: Home Sweet Home. A tougher essay, “Secrets and Lies,” will appear next year in a new anthology I’m excited to read. It’ll be called Dumped: Women Unfriending Women.
How does my work differ from others of its genre?
My voice is unique but I’m not sure I can explain how. The other day a reader said this about it:
I love your daily posts. They are short and sweet. Like a quick conversation with a friend every morning.
That was such a high compliment, because it tells me I talk to my readers in a voice they can relate to. I observe and experience life at the same time and my blog reflects that dichotomy. Sometimes effectively and sometimes, not so much. 😉
Why do I write/create what I do?
Because I must. As a corporate writer my work was structured and topics were utilitarian. Now that it’s all self expression, it’s me and my brain. Sometimes I can’t sleep until I get something out. Like last night. I got up at 2am and wrote three sentences for an essay I’m pondering. I write because I have to and the topics just occur to me. Maybe I’ve read or heard or discussed something that sticks—I don’t dig too deeply. I just write. I’d like to describe some kind of rationale, but the work just forces itself out.
How does your writing/creating process work?
It’s funny — I’ve never thought of it as a “writing process” because I’ve always done it, since childhood. I sit down at a keyboard and words come out. Every morning, every day. There’s no magic to it. Or rather, it’s all magic, because there’s no “process” at all. Brain to fingers to keyboard to screen. Keyboards make writing a lot faster than when my medium was a yellow lined pad. Remember those days? Or when we had beautiful composition journals and diaries? I own the one up top of this post and I love it–but my fingers tire easily with a pen, now that I’m accustomed to the speed with which my fingers can express on a screen what my brain’s saying. Right now, my collection of beautiful journals and composition books sits blank and empty, waiting for me to do something with them.
The beautiful thing about the Blogosphere is that I’ve gotten to meet some creative thinkers and excellent writers and I’ve learned about ways of life I could only imagine. Here are three interesting bloggers I’d like to introduce you to:
Chloe’s a blogger who rushes in where angels fear to tread
We bloggers who lay it all out there raw and unvarnished are either brave or crazy. Since I’m also crazy (but in a different way) we connect. Her honest blog and strong writing skills keep me hooked. That, and we’ve had a really great time at lunch together in real life.
Here’s her bio:
Chloe Jeffreys is a Registered Nurse by day and a blogger whenever the mood strikes her. Gifted with an almost magical ability to push people’s buttons, Chloe shares her insouciant wit and penetrating personal insights at Chloe of the Mountain. Check it out!
Bonnie’s a brand new online friend and if you’re a blogger, she should be yours, too
Bonnie’s expanding our knowledge base about the business of blogging and that’s something many of us could use. Bonnie Frank (a.k.a. LadyBlogger) is a former elementary/middle school teacher and college professor with a Master’s Degree in Education and loads of teaching experience. She’s also the mom of two teenage boys (this means she can survive anything) and wife to a man she’s been with for over 30 years. She says LadyBlogger’s target audience is intelligent people (over 80% are women) who want to know more about parenting, education, kids and the business of blogging. If you’re a female blogger serious about it, you want to follow LadyBlogger
Especially when written by a professional writer who began as a newspaper reporter after graduating from one of the best journalism schools in the country. Her Royal Thighness is Everywoman ─ a middle-aged, weight-challenged, chocolate cake-loving semi-professional dieter with a passion for musical theater. Her blog is the official beginning of a pursuit of her dream to follow in the footsteps of humor-writing legends like Erma Bombeck and Nora Ephron and humor-performing legends like Lucille Ball and Carol Burnett. I’d say she’s made a great start!
So there you have it. Check their blogs out and be sure to click over next Monday, when they’ll answer these questions, too.