So this entry is part of a #BlogHop. To steal the description: “How it works is: a blogger/writer blogs about their writing process, and then nominates three other blogger/writers to do the same… and so it goes. Oh the blogs you can hop through in this network!”
I was nominated by my favourite backpacking Canadian, Christine Estima, to take part. Actually I was supposed to put this entry up on 19 May, but that was my birthday, folks, and it’s been a busy week, so this is as soon as I’ve been able to fit it in. The deal is I’ll be answering a few questions about writing. A small amount of this might be a slight repeat of things I said over on Women in Their Own Words, but most of it shouldn’t be because they are mostly different questions.
So… I’m just going to dive straight in.
What am I working on/writing?
All the things! I’m midway through a few short stories, plus re-writes of other short stories. I keep a notebook and a word doc of ideas. There’s also notes on my phone where I’ve started things on the train. Poems, same thing, I have three on the go at the moment. Probably only one of those will work into something good enough to send out. There a few poetry competitions and anthology submissions I want to send things to coming up. Frankly it’s a bit of a shambolic mess. My filing system is tenuous. There’s always something I should be working on. There are also two longer stories (mumblemaybemanuscriptsmumble). One’s YA, the other started out as a short story and I just really like the town and people and couldn’t stop exploring them. I’m also attempting to rewrite the story I wrote for my BA dissertation. There’s a lot of work to be done on it, but the characters and tale have been around for a long time, so it’d be nice to polish them up.
How does my work/writing differ from others of its genre?
Er… I don’t know. It may not, except that everybody tells stories differently. I think, especially in terms of prose, I’ve got a long way to go. I’m stronger at poetry – my style of writing is pretty, er, me these days. I’m pretty good at voice, picking a character, putting myself into other people’s shoes, I think, which helps with that. I don’t know. This is an awkward question. I’m not sure everything has to have a unique selling point, you know. My writing is different because I wrote it.
Why do I write what I do?
I like stories and I like speculative fiction. I spend a lot of time playing the ‘what if’ game when trying to sort out my everyday life – it’s far more fun to do it in stories. I also find the interactions between people interesting, so it’s fun figuring out different reactions to situations. Some things fit poetry better, a scene, a thought, a thought process. I like stripping something down to its simplest emotion and moment and looking at how the moment or thought gets to that point. Mostly I write what I do because I either enjoy it, or on days where I’m struggling, because I really like knowing that once something is down on paper it’s not rattling around in my head anymore. It takes energy to hold onto ideas and keep thinking about them. When something’s finally down and finished to the best of your ability, some brain-space frees up.
How does my writing process work?
It is bitty and disorganised and inconsistent. I would love, LOVE, to do the ‘write every day’ thing, and I do try to. But here’s the reality: I’m in a relationship (CM understands my wandering off on projects and is generally very supportive, but I learnt during the time of the Iron Man training that it’s too easy to inadvertently take advantage of that support, so yes, time with CM is a priority), I have a full-time job, I do freelance copywriting work, I have two dogs, and friends who are already very patient with how flaky I am and how rubbish at keeping in touch. I also currently have recurring headaches which have kept my energy levels low for the past couple of months (although I might finally have cracked that). So I have bursts of managing every day, but I don’t kick myself if I only manage weekends for a couple of weeks.
So my writing process is: get up early at weekends and take some time to scribble. On days of good weather, write on the train (this is because I don’t have a waterproof cover for my laptop yet so I leave it at home on wet days). If I’m really into a story or that close to a milestone, take lunchtime at work. Maybe hide out in a café after work. Or, at the end of the day, sit on the sofa and nod absently at CM when he’s talking to me while I’m typing. Mostly I write sat on the sofa, with a dog or two lying around using me as a chin rest.
I sometimes write in the library or in cafes, but I’m always marginally self-conscious about writing in public. Weird, I know, given the standard writer-in-café thing, but I like my big mug of tea at home. Also I pull faces, and pick at my face and chew my hair and read things out-loud while I’m writing, and no one needs to deal with that stuff in a public space. Maybe this is because I spend so much time not working at home already. Also, I will sometimes, abruptly, turn to CM and demand he read something right now, on the spot, immediately because I know part of it’s not working and I want him to say it out loud. Or because I know it’s finished, and that’s my habitual THE END.
I’m directing you on to ONE person rather than three and… it’s my kid sister, actually. Yeah, nepotism. She writes too, though – poetry rather than stories, which she is far less cagey about than me. Her style is absolutely, completely different to mine, and she’s a hell of a performer too, winning the first poetry slam she entered hands down and traipsing on home with the trophy. She’s very talented and very active in the poetry community on the Isle of Man, where she lives. And she’s currently working on an interesting project. So… head over to the Empire of Whimsy and check it out. She should be putting her #bloghop soon.