I may be VERY late in the game of writing a post about this, but this topic has been circulating in the blogosphere, where bloggers post about their writing process, and then “pass the baton” to another blogger they admire and then that blogger shares his or her writing process and so on. I’m not sure where or if this is supposed to end, but I don’t want to be the party pooper who didn’t participate and broke the chain, so I’m going to keep this ball rolling.
First, I want to thank Julie of Unscripted Mom for thinking I am worthy of a post about this and tagging? nominating? recommending? me to be next in line. If you haven’t read Julie’s blog, go do it now. She is a mom to four kids and writes so beautifully about the joys and challenges of parenting. Her style is honest, real, and truly from the heart. Oh and I must mention that Julie and I “met” over Twitter, only to discover after she tweeted a picture of her family that I was friends with her husband at college…Go Blue! It’s a small, bloggy world…
So, the way this series works is there are a bunch of questions I’m supposed to answer and then at the end of the post, I tag? nominate? recommend? the next blogger to answer these questions. Okay, here it goes:
What Am I Working On?
Well, besides keeping my sanity in check, I am working on a bunch of different writing projects/posts in addition to regular blog posts on Oh Boy Mom. A few years ago, I wrote a memoir and I’m now in the stage of editing and searching for an agent, while simultaneously wondering if I should try to publish it at all. It was a story I wanted and needed to write, but now I’m not so sure I want to put it out there for the world to see. The other weird irony of meeting Julie in the blog world is that she and her husband both knew my book’s main character, who grew up in Minnesota as well. Perhaps I’ll have them read my book first and then decide what to do. Hmmmm….
I am also constantly trying to find other types of publications, both print as well as online, that might want to publish my work. While getting paid is nice and definitely a goal, I also write for the exposure and you can find some of my pieces on Huffington Post, Scary Mommy and the ASPCA.
I am also working on homework for my latest writing class. I’m a bit of an online class junkie and have taken numerous writing classes over the years. My latest class is Copywriting: Creative Ad Writing. A long time ago, I was a brand manager for a pharmaceutical company and although I liked it at the time, a part of me always wished I was on the agency side working as one of the copywriters. From my perspective, their job always seemed more fun than mine. So, I’ve decided to test that out and see what copywriting is all about. If I like this class, then I’ll probably take more of them and try to develop a workable portfolio and eventually, dare I say it, find some paying gigs to write ad copy. But, one step at a time.
How Does My Work Differ From Others Of Its Genre?
HA! Well, that is the question that plagues and really, I mean tortures many of us “lifestyle bloggers” who may or may not have a clearly defined niche. To make ourselves feel better, we read reassuring posts about how it’s really our voice that matters and if we have a unique voice in our writing, that’s what counts. I do believe that is true, but I also believe that when you’re a mom blogger, and there are a zillion of us out there, it can’t hurt to have a point of difference.
When I first started Oh Boy Mom, I didn’t worry too much about how my work was unique — or not. I focused more on writing regular posts and trying to build a following. I also had the challenge of not pissing off my two teenagers who did NOT want me to write about them or post photos or even use their real names. So, I wrote more about me and my parenting, rather than focusing on something my kids did. I quickly realized that I liked to inject humor into my posts and to not take myself too seriously.
About a year into Oh Boy Mom’s blog-life (if it was dog years, it would be more impressive), our family was hit with a major blow when my youngest dude was diagnosed with a type of pediatric cancer. I put the blog on hold while we handled this crisis and I wasn’t sure if or when I’d blog again. After a few months hiatus, I knew I had to write again. I grappled with how public I wanted to be about my son and how to blog about it, if at all. I knew I didn’t want the downer approach, and yet I wondered if it was appropriate to keep the humor in my posts. I decided that not only was it appropriate, but it was what I needed. I tried to keep my son smiling and laughing, despite his challenging situation, and I knew humor was what helped us get through some tough days.
So that is a long way of saying how my work differs from other mom bloggers. In short, I write with humor about a very un-funny situation and try to live up to Oh Boy Mom’s tag line: Same Boys. New Battle. Still Laughing.
Why Do I Write What I Do?
I think I may have just answered that one above. I write what I do, because laughter is the best medicine. I know that humor is what got us through this past year, and I know it will continue to propel my family forward. I have to write because if I don’t, I feel antsy and unsettled. For many writers including myself, writing is a form of therapy — and a much cheaper form too!
How Does Your Writing Process Work?
I wish I had a straightforward answer to this one, but I don’t, because I’m not even sure I know how it works! But, I’ll give a shot at explaining what I think I do.
When I’m mindlessly driving around town, running errands and dropping off my kids at school and activities, that is when ideas for posts pop into my head. I love observing behaviors, not just in my kids, but in waiting rooms, grocery stores, the gym, etc. From my observations in the outside world, as well as within my own home, I usually let my ideas ruminate in my head for a day or two and then when I feel ready, I make a date with my laptop and tap away. Sometimes I can write a post in ten minutes flat. Other times, it takes a few tries. Once I have a draft, I let it sit for a day or two and then go back to edit and refine it. I rarely write a post and publish it the same day, because I want to make sure it’s something I want floating around in cyberspace for eternity.
My book was a completely different kind of writing process, but without going into too much detail, let’s just say it took years and several drafts and several writing workshop classes. I highly recommend workshopping a book or any longer pieces you may be working on. I also highly recommend a writing group. I have been part of a 4-person writing group for several years now. It’s similar to a book group in that we meet regularly and drink wine and have lots of chit chat unrelated to our books. But, it’s also very productive when we provide feedback on each other’s chapters and drafts.
I am very particular about where I do my writing. We have a Cosi restaurant in our town, where I could predictably be found most days while my kids were in school. I jokingly called Cosi my “office” and quickly became a regular with my laptop and iced tea by my side. This past year was a little different, because my son was home schooled, so my writing took place at home. Still, I am a creature of habit and write in the same location in our house – the kitchen counter where I sit on the same barstool. However, I’m sure that next year when I’ll have all three kids at school again, I’ll be back at Cosi ingesting gallons of iced tea again.
I hope you enjoyed learning about my writing process or at least didn’t fall asleep. If you’re still there and awake, thank you! And now it’s my turn to select another blogger to participate in this series. I’ve met so many amazing and interesting writers out there, but there’s one person in particular who I just KNOW will take this topic and do it justice. Yes, I’m talking about you Kristi! Kristi’s blog, Finding Ninee is a compilation of funny, compassionate, and real stories about being a special needs mom. She also makes her own hilarious drawings too. I’ve told Kristi that if she wants to blow off this exercise I’m totally fine with that, but even if she doesn’t write about her writing process, please go check out her blog because you will LOVE IT!