How do writers do it? That question has always intrigued me. When writers share their process I am all ears, happy to glean some insights that might help me in my writing journey. So when my friend Connie McLeod invited me to join a blog tour in which writers talk about exactly that, I was instantly enthusiastic, albeit a bit intimidated.
I am very much a work in progress. But then, I guess we all are.
Why Do I Write What I Do?
I started my blog to flex my underused writing muscles. I always wrote in some capacity in my marketing and communications career, but not so much creatively. Figuring the self-imposed weekly deadlines would be good practice for a novelist wannabe, I jumped in, and I’m glad I did. The payoff has been well worth it. Blogging has strengthened my writing, sparked my creativity and connected me to a fabulous community of writers.
But way before the blog — hell, way before computers — I always loved to write. Writing comes more easily to me than conversation. It is a solitary experience that I crave. I need my alone time and I need to write. Without either, I get cranky.
What am I Working On?
Several things. I write a blog post generally twice a week at Books is Wonderful on a topic pertaining to midlife or parenting or something else.
I contribute essays to online magazines. I write book reviews, and sometimes do sponsored posts for products I believe in.
So as I said, the plan was that the blog would bring me back to the unfinished novel that I shelved years ago. Recently I dusted it off and took another look. The writing wasn’t bad, but in the elapsed time my voice has changed. This novel doesn’t sound like me anymore. What to do? Should I rewrite it, or start something new? I’m wrestling with that now.
How Does My Work Differ from Others of its Genre?
I dabble in several genres: memoir, humor and fiction. What distinguishes my work from others is that it’s told from my point of view, in my voice.
How Does Your Writing Process Work?
I’m not very methodical when it comes to process. I don’t do outlines or plan ahead. For my blog posts, I brainstorm ideas throughout the week and pick the two that seem best.
I try to write every morning. That is, after a cup of coffee, a quick scan of my social media updates and a few rounds of Words With Friends. Oh, and also after a brisk walk with my dog. That wakes me up and gets the blood pumping, so that when we get back I’m ready to get started.
Often the most challenging part is coming up with a good, juicy topic, but that usually happens on my walk or in the shower. I think about it for a bit, imagining where it might go, and get the basic ideas down. If I’m stymied, I get up, walk around, throw some laundry in the wash, get a cup of tea. That trick usually works. I come back and the words seem to flow.
That’s not to say I can whip something up and boom, I’m done. The writing part is one thing. The editing is what takes time and patience. I need to allow time to read, revise, walk away, come back, read, revise, and so on.
Invariably I will detect a mistake here, replace a word with a better one there. I ask myself, what are you trying to say? Are you making your point? Do you need a transition between these two paragraphs? I often revise dozens of times before I’m satisfied.
At some point in the process I fall in love with my piece. If I don’t feel that, I know it’s not ready.
And now I pass the torch to one of my favorite bloggers (and people). Mindy Trotta is a writer, editor, and social media manager for Betterafter50.com. She blogs about family, parenting, and her relocated life at Relocation: the Blog.
Here are links to other writers in this blog tour. Read what they had to say about their process.