When we share how we get ourselves to our desks, what we do when we get there, and why we drag our tired bodies there to begin with, we make it real. We inspire. We console and we motivate (ourselves and others!). We give ourselves permission to call ourselves ‘writers.’ As in, ‘I must be a writer because I have a process.’ And we give others that permission to. We give a name to the struggle and the joy that is writing.
I have loved getting to read so many of my favorite bloggers’ processes and so I was delighted when the fabulous, immensely talented, (and, as we saw in her own process, incredibly dedicated and driven!) Galit Breen tagged me to join the “My Writing Process” blog tour.
Here’s how my words get outta my heart and onto your screen.
What am I working on?
Big announcement time… at the beginning of this year, I began to… write a book! A parenting book based in memoir. And it is the thing I am working on. And it is hard and it is slow and it is every bit the learning and growing process that all the greats say it is. And it is wonderful.
I’m also working on some article and essay writing. I was in a good swing with freelancing and pitching essays and articles (and even getting some accepted!) for the first half of last year. And then, for a number of reasons, I strayed away from it all. But it’s time to make a comeback and so I’m working towards getting a stack of pitches together in the coming weeks.
And, last but never least, I’m working on blog posts forever and always. To live here and all around.
How does my work differ from others of its genre?
“Each of us is hard-wired a certain way. And that hard-wiring insinuates itself into our work. That’s not a bad thing. Actually, it’s what the world expects from you. We want our artists to take the mundane materials of our lives, run it through their imaginations, and surprise us. If you are by nature a loner, a crusader, an outsider, a jester, a romantic, a melancholic, or any one of a dozen personalities, that quality will shine through in your work.” ~Twyla Tharp, The Creative Habit
I think, that it’s my hard-wiring that makes my work differ from others. I think that’s true of all of us. What we do with the mundane materials of our lives is what sets us apart and what makes the stories we weave different from any other. Compared to my genre, though, I think I do something different with those mundane materials.
In The Creative Habit, Twyla Tharp also talks about focal point. How it doesn’t apply to just photographers, but that all artists have a natural focal point, preferring either to get really up close, stand really far away, or someplace in the middle. I prefer short focal points. In photography and writing and in the rare moments when I draw or paint, I like to get up close. Very close. I like to see the details. I like for the entire image or idea to bleed off the canvas, I’m so close.
In writing, for me, that means diving into the smallest of moments and exploring the details. And, from that up close and very personal space, telling a story that bleeds off the edges.
Why do I write what I do?
Somedays I look back to the days when I didn’t write very often and I wonder how I made it. As in, how did I sift through my emotions and ideas and thoughts and make sense of it all into something cohesive or something resembling a life well lived? I write what I do because I have to. Writing helps me sort through things. It takes me to the other side of an emotion or problem or, even, a blessing. Writing is where I peel back the layers and find me. The true me that sometimes gets covered up in daily life and to do lists and the normal worries of a life with a family. Writing is also where I celebrate. And reflect.
When I write a story, it’s like I’m living the experience again and I’m able to not only make sense of it but truly internalize it and let it seep into my heart. And when I’m writing an article, it’s like I’m fully internalizing this thing I’ve figured out so that I can then share it with others. Without writing, I sometimes feel that all of my experiences and lessons and thoughts and memories will just float away on the wind.
How does my writing process work?
My process tends to change based on the season of life I’m in. It used to be much more structured, and it will get back there, but, for now, it’s a bit loose:
An idea will come to me, often while I’m in the shower, or driving to work, or pushing my kids on the swings at the park. Rarely do the ideas come when I’m sitting at my computer. So I’ll tuck it away or, if I am really worried I may loose it, I’ll type it down into an email to myself. My inbox is often spotted with emails from me and short, probably nonsensical to others, phrases.
There are these magical moments when I arrive in the place I need to be to write and I’m actually able to sit down to write. Kids are otherwise occupied, things have generally been taken care of, and I can just go. Love those moments. More often than not though, I have to write when I make time to write — early in the mornings on the weekends, after the kids have gone to bed. And I have to get myself to the writing place when I have the time. So I sit at my computer, I take a deep breath, and I try to dive right into the feeling of what I’m trying to capture. I try to put myself back in the place I was in when I first thought this would be a good thing to write about. I try to conjure up the emotions I want whoever reads this piece to feel.
And then, I write. And then I edit. When I’m writing a blog post for here, I add photos to what I’ve done, and then I read it again and edit it some more. When I’m writing something for someone else, a guest post or something I plan to pitch, for example, I’ll often edit 3-4 times and then put it aside and come back to it for fresh edits at a different writing session. This could go on for days, weeks even, until, finally, I let it go wherever it is meant to go.
Now it’s my turn to bring some others into the tour. I’ve no doubt you know this lady but, if not, I’m delighted to introduce you to…
Christine of Love Life Surf. Every time I visit Christine’s blog, I learn something. The name of a yoga pose I never knew existed or the challenges of running a marathon or the more intricate mechanics of surfing. And every time, I come away changed. Because Christine has this lovely ability to take her experiences, be they running, surfing, yoga, parenting, and polish them to reveal the most brilliant life lessons. Her words never fail to change my perspective and give me a little lift.