It’s a blog tour, folks. But it’s a tour nonetheless, which makes me a rock star like Melissa Etheridge. In my own mind anyway, and that’s really all that matters.
I was invited to participate in the #mywritingprocess blog tour by my blogging buddy Maia Morgan. Maia blogs over at The Saltwater Twin. Maia is finishing up her essay collection called, natch, The Saltwater Twin and Other Mythical Creatures. In Maia’s words: “It’s a collection of linked essays about survival, fear, redemption, love, religion, art, boyfriends, girlfriends and dogs. It’s about the way we make myths and meaning from our lives and forge our identities through story.” What’s not to like. I encourage you to check out her blog because she’s smart and funny and thoughtful and likes words as much as I do. Maybe even more.
So, more about me:
What am I working on? If you’re a regular reader, you know that I’m currently writing a memoir/creative nonfiction book. It has a working name of Leaving Normal. Seems that Girls was already taken, as was Puss in Boots.
How does my work differ from others of its genre? I would say that my work is kinda, sorta like the stuff written by Ivan Coyote. At least that’s the closest thing that I’ve found. Certainly, those are big boots to fill. Ivan is a hero of mine, to say the least. But my story is different than Ivan’s. For one thing, I write a whole lot about Olivia Newton-John.
Why do I write what I do? For some reason, small moments of time have stuck with me. Three words said by a stranger on a stairwell. A birthday gift from a classmate. A pair of sneakers spotted in a parking lot. I never knew why I couldn’t shake these memories. I’ve held onto them all of this time so that I could break them down and write about them and piece them together in order to make sense of my life. So, yeah, it’s like a flip book. Each story running into the next one to make a picture that is my life.
How does my writing process work? These days I feel like a sculptor. I do a quick brain dump — usually with pen and paper — writing down a story as quick as I can. I include images, words, phrases, anything that pops into my head. And that’s when the sculpting begins. I keep carving away. The one thing that I’ve learned about writing is that it is a process. It can’t be rushed or hurried. Most times, I can finish a chapter in a few days, but something won’t feel quite right. It might be the ending. Or the beginning. Or something in between. I’ll need time to sit on it, to think, to be still and quiet and discover the right words, the perfect turn of phrase. I have brilliant moments in the shower and just before I go to sleep at night. When I’m in these reflective moods, I keep a Moleskin notebook and pen tucked away in my back pocket.
When everything has fallen into place, I send it off to my three critique partners for feedback. Sometimes they say it’s perfect. Sometimes not. But their comments are invaluable and allow me to go back and tighten things up.
Next on the #mywritingprocess tour. You don’t need tickets to get front-row seats for four of my favorite writers:
* Vicki Gael calls herself “an impatient writer.” She’s working on a cozy mystery and a sci-fi story, both at the same time. That’s talent for you. She’s also a member of my writers’ group. Vicki just started blogging at Rumpled Ruminations.
* Here’s how Karelia Stetz-Waters and yours truly became blogging BFFs. She read one of my posts and then told me how funny I am. That’s all it takes, folks. Anyway, she’s a college professor by day and a writer by night. Karelia is a published author. It seems like every time I check Freshly Pressed, one of her posts is being featured.
* She’s only 27, but she writes like a young Dorothy Parker. If Dorothy Parker wrote about tormenting her boyfriend and getting a steal on laundry detergent. Julia Boriss’ posts on J-Bo.net are smart and funny. I read one of her Freshly Pressed posts and have been a stalker fan ever since.
* My newest virtual buddy is Widdershins, who writes fiction, science fiction and fantasy. Writing is her passion and profession. Widdershins writes novels and stories always with lesbian characters. What’s not to like about that? (Really, every story should have a lesbian character or 12.) She blogs over at Widdershins Worlds. Plus, she gives really great advice and laughs at my jokes. This is very big with me.
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What about you? What’s your writing process like?