"The great gift writing can give you is to make you a person who pays attention,
a person who is HERE, present & accounted for; taking notes"
-Anne Lamott via Twitter
Ceiling fans are spinning in every room of my house tonight. The windows were flung open early in the day, and now the evening air is fighting its way into my living room. I'm too warm, but I switched on my oven for some late night totchos (because most of what I eat lately consists of Mexican food, Italian food, tater tots, or a combination thereof). I have a cold, but I'm bored with just sitting on the couch. And I'm tired, as I usually am at the end of any given day, but I want to write.
A couple of weeks ago, Jessica Lynn, a kind friend in blogland, tagged me on her blog to write a post about the way I write. One of my favorite pastimes is reading about how other writers write, and what they have to say about it. Because of this, and because I think Jessica is a peach, I'm giving my answers to the questions below. I can't promise it will be very inspirational. After all, I devoted much of the first paragraph to totchos.
What am I working on?
This makes it sound like I should give a professional answer, but the truth is very obvious; I'm not a professional. I'm what every blog sidebar in America describes: a twenty-something girl who writes and likes coffee and loves fall. I don't have a writing project, although I dream about things like that. I used to write quite a bit of poetry, but that's rare now. Most of my writing is done nightly, in the tiny spaces of Millie and Walter's one line a day memory books. And some, as you know, is done here.
How does my work differ from others of its genre?
I'm not sure what genre I'm in anymore. I write about the military, but not enough to feel like a mil-blog. I adore my children, and loathe the term "mommy blogger". I suppose how I hope to differ is in the way I tell you a story that anyone could tell you. What I say is not particularly revolutionary, but I hope to say it in a way that makes you feel as if I wrote it just for you, as if we were talking over lattes, and use language that is descriptive enough to paint the steam rising from our cups.
Why do I write what I do?
The lack of transparency I often see in blogs makes me determined to be honest. There are a very few things that I may never be able to share, because those stories belong to other people, but as much as is possible, I want to show you around every corner of my heart. Whether it's a beautiful day at a park with our family, a night that I'm struggling with motherhood, a personal victory, or a heartache of marriage, I write those things because they are all a part of me. There are plenty of blogs for recipes, and crafts, and fashion ideas, and I think all of those are wonderful (and I read them!). But that was never the mission of this blog. Like I've said in the past, this place is like a diary. Years from now, I hope to marvel at how far I've come.
How does my writing process work?
Writing and editing should not be combined- I learned that after reading this. That only makes me feel slightly better about what I'm going to tell you.
My process is barely a process at all. Most of my blog posts are written on post-it notes and scrap paper, and in places like the car. Sometimes an idea hits me in the shower, and I repeat the concept or phrase in my mind until I've slipped into pajamas. Occasionally, they come to me at night, and I type hurried notes on my phone and email them to myself before I fall asleep. There are moments of mad dashes to the laptop, and there are other moments of tears that spill onto the keys without any thought at all. When I feel compelled to write- when the motivation in overwhelming and the words are unrelenting- then I write. When I have nothing to say, I am quiet. I begin most posts with a single sentence that won't leave my mind, and expand on it later.
This is the main problem with my dream of publishing a book someday. I would be atrocious at handling a deadline. Writing on a whim, on pure inspiration and feeling, is what suits me. Writing 20 pages a day would be a challenge. I am fairly sure I would be an editor's nightmare, and I can't say I would blame them.
So there you have it. My writing. I'll probably describe it a little more in one of my next posts (which is actually about reading).
I would love to know your answers to these questions!