Here I am–participating in the #mywritingprocess blog tour!
Elizabeth Duffy got me into this. Well, actually, she tagged me, but she’d been tagged by someone else, who’d been tagged by someone else…. Check out the hashtag #mywritingprocess over on Twitter to see the long list of writers who have paused this week to chat about WHAT they write, WHY they write, and HOW they do it.
As have Elizabeth and the others before me, I’m going to answer four basic questions; then I’ll do a quick hand-off to some great writers who are just waiting in the wings.
1. WHAT ARE YOU WORKING ON?
Well, if you saw my “Drafts” folder, you’d run away screaming. Not only do I have 16 drafts in process (at least a few of which will never be finished), I have a two-drawer lateral file full of ideas, for just in case I run out of stuff to talk about. That doesn’t happen.
My posts range from relationships (marriage and family) to spirituality (saints, feasts) to current events to book and movie reviews to features. I pop in an occasional travelogue, just ’cause I’ve got all these cool photos.
And yes, I’m writing a book. I have a hard time getting around to it–but my goal is to complete my first novel by year-end. So watch for news in 2015!
2. WHAT MAKES YOUR WORK DIFFERENT FROM OTHERS’ WORK IN THE SAME GENRE?
Oh, golly, writers are so idiosyncratic–there are so many great voices out there!
You know that long list of topics I just posted, in response to Question 1? I guess one difference is my diversity. When I was just beginning my blog, I was advised by several well-known and successful bloggers to choose a theme for my blog. I didn’t do that–I give myself permission to write about whatever catches my fancy. Usually, I hope, my readers will learn a little or laugh a little. If they grow a little in their faith, I’ll like that, too!
3. WHY DO YOU WRITE WHAT YOU DO?
I have a lot of words in my head, and they keep falling out and forming sentences?
Actually, I want to make a difference in the world. My Catholic faith is important to me, and I often take time to explain an aspect of Church teaching, perhaps to a reader who’s never thought about it in just that way. I value life, and I want others to give up their preconceived notions of “choice” and embrace the beautiful Life that God gives. I want to talk about character and commitment, about how to live as Catholic Christians in the public square.
Pope Francis’ universal prayer intention for May 2014 is:
“That the media may be instruments in the service of truth and peace.”
That’s what I want to be.
And I like to tell stories. Heartwarming stories. Ironic stories. Stories that will make you catch your breath, or shed a tear…. well, those are the best.
4. HOW DOES YOUR WRITING PROCESS WORK?
Sheer bedlam. Juggling four or five ideas on any given day; letting a few crash and break on the pavement, then executing the others like this:
- Write two sentences.
- Make coffee.
- Spend a little time on Facebook.
- Drink coffee.
- Write two paragraphs.
- Step back and think….
In fact, if I’m honest, I do my best writing late in the day. I do my thinking in the morning, while I load the dishwasher or feed the birds.
Now that I’ve left my full-time position to pursue writing fulltime, I make it a habit to read a lot. If I rise early, I read foreign language Catholic newspapers (thank you, Google Translator!) to see what they’re talking about in Europe, thus getting a bead on news that’s not yet hit the papers here at home. I read releases from the Vatican Press Office and the U.S. Bishops.
And I always check the popular Catholic news aggregates: NewAdvent, Big Pulpit, Pewsitter, Spirit Daily and others. I read my fellow bloggers who write on the Catholic Channel at Patheos. I also check the liturgical calendar, looking for inspiration on a feastday or in a Scripture reading.
And then I write. And rewrite. I think about what I’m writing during the day, while I shop for groceries and straighten a bookshelf and wash my hair. Often, a post that appears on my blog has been sitting in my drafts for a few days (or a few weeks), while I revisit it regularly to sharpen a sentence, add a new thought, pop in some alliteration, add a catchier title…. It’s all good.
So that’s it! My “writing process” may be a little pokier than other bloggers’, but it works for me.
AND NOW, TO PASS THE TORCH TO SOME OTHER WRITERS WHOSE WORK I ADMIRE:
OK, friends, you’re IT! Next writers to give you some insights regarding their craft are:
Rebecca Hamilton, Oklahoma State Legislator, whose blog Public Catholic offers daily lessons in civics and the Catholic faith.
Jennifer Fitz, catechist extraordinaire, home-school mom, whose blog Sticking the Corners is just one of her many accomplishments.
Amy Ekblad, mom of 12 (so far), who shares her family and her joy in photos and stories on her blog Blessed by God.