Ellen Wade Beals at Solace in a Book invited me to join this blog tour. The idea is that I answer a few questions about my writing process and then introduce you to some new bloggers who might, next week, answer these same questions. And so it goes.
1) What am I working on?
- a sexy novel, length of a kindle single (tentatively called Unwieldy Soul. No one likes the title.)
- personal essays
- a small business teaching writing workshops
- avoiding housework
- staying happy-go-lucky
- blogging for corporations and non-profits
2) How does my work differ from others of its genre?
- use of bullets
- emoticons ;0
- lack of proper punctuation and capitalization
I think I am known for my honesty. I have a tendency to be a little dramatic and a little funny.
I am pretty loose with my style. I believe that we should all push ourselves into dangerous terrain when we write. I’ve several times led a workshop called Dangerous Writing. I find the best essays show some break through, humiliation, self doubt, and ultimately, resilience. Yes, grit.
3) Why do I write what I do?
- started the sexy novel when I joined NaNoWriMo
- been encouraged in essay-writing from class with Charles Salzberg (whom I’ve studied with for, maybe 16 years!)
- through the International Women’s Writing Guild, Kelly Wallace and I started our writing biz together.
I write to figure out what i think.
I write because I need a lot of attention. My husband is an actor who has Parkinson’s and well, he’s a fabulous person, and he needs attention too. And honestly, I know this is not true, but there are times I do not feel my life (or work) is as important as his.
And since I feel sidelined by my marriage or my husband’s illness, writing puts me back on the field as a star player, if only to myself. I love sports metaphors and am slightly athletic. But I love metaphors because they are visual. I am a visual thinker and a team player.
Inevitably, when I’ve felt like stopping this blog, someone tells me — at the checkout line in the grocery store or at a party for a school event — that she reads my blog and is inspired by it.
And people tell me they like my pictures (all taken with my iPhone 4S). And that keeps me going. That real life connection feeds me.
4) How does your writing process work?
- I journal every morning, a la Artist’s Way, before the kids get up
- I write right after the kids leave for school
- I use the pomodoro technique. I set the timer on my phone for 25 minutes, let nothing interrupt me, do my work, stretch for 5 minutes. Then I do that again. And again.
I learned the pomodoro technique at my fabulous coworking space, New Work City. I get a lot of support there for my business. I like being accountable to my coworkers about my goals.
my writing business
I started this coaching-of-writers biz last year. I’ve offered dozens of workshops and weekend retreats. I’m giving it a good go. But as my spring meeting with my accountant creeps up on me, I am forced to face the reality: the business has brought in very little money to our household.
Last night one of my daughters asked me, “Isn’t it time you go back to work?” The kids think that they liked when I worked, but they forget how much they complained when I traveled for work.
I told her, “I’m doing so much and making some money too — substitute teaching, tutoring, videography, corporate blogging.”
“But that’s not from your writing workshop business?”
“And you’re not making as much as you used to make?”
“That’s true,” I agreed. “But look, I went to almost every one of your swim meets. I couldn’t have done that when I worked. And it’s been priceless.”
And so there it is. I write because I need the attention. I’m trying to promote my biz. And I’m trying to entertain, inspire, learn about myself, and show my own and my family’s resilience.
– m ;b
P.S. Let me introduce you to three bloggers, who might keep this blog tour rolling next week. They are writers I know and love IRL (in real life). I love their honesty and their integrity. I love their grit.
Next stops on the blog tour might be:
Xavier Trevino – We are friends from Charles’s class. He says:
I started this blog about a year ago. I wrote one or two posts and got one or two visitors for the first four months, then I sort of lost my job and had more time (and things) to write about. In April of last year I started writing more posts and getting more readers, and I settled on writing two posts a week, Tuesdays and Saturdays. Since then I’ve written 106 posts and gotten almost 5,000 views.
Some posts do very well, some are hardly looked at. Some are shared on facebook, or reposted on other people’s blogs.
I’ve always written, and I guess I have to describe myself as a former drug abuser who works as a doorman and writes.
Wendy Karasin – We are friends from a women’s once-a-month writing group. Wendy worked in educational publishing, taught, and raised four children as a single parent. She says, “Losing my parents in relatively close proximity profoundly changed my life. And that’s the subject of my memoir, Passing Through.”
I have a distinct and hearty laugh that once heard is not soon forgotten. My mother used to say among a million people in China, she could locate me by my laugh. Curious, happy and responsible; conscientious, educated and playful – all wrapped up in a blogging, baby boomer. Love reading, writing, cats, yoga, kindness and connection.
And then, my brilliant biz partner Kelly Wallace. She has a lot of projects; here’s one:
working on a memoir tentatively titled “The Yellow Blanket” a manuscript about her experience as a child sexual abuse survivor and rejection by her entire paternal family system. The story opens with eight year old Kelly on the witness stand testifying in court against her grandfather. The focal point of the story focuses on the rejection Kelly experienced by her entire paternal family and her father’s legally aiding her grandfather’s defense team.
Excerpts from Kelly’s The Yellow Blanket are available here: http://atticinstitute.com/node/896and here: http://atticinstitute.com/node/1450