It's been a fun and crazy few months since we moved to Seattle, and my blog has suffered because of it. But some friends of mine just gave me a really cool excuse to write a second post in less than a week! It's a blog tour, a chain of writers sharing their trade secrets in response to four questions, and then passing the baton to three other writers. I'm obsessed with the writing process--the behind-the-scenes view of what is otherwise a solitary and therefore private occupation. My friend Lacy tagged me in her blog, and from her post you can trace the daisy chain back to the beginning and out on all the branches of this weird family tree. Keep reading to see who I tag for the next round. First, here's what my writing space typically looks like.
1. What am I working on?
I'm working on a few different projects at the moment, either from a fear of commitment or a need for variety (probably both?). I just finished working on a long-form personal essay that I sent out to a few places, as well as a flash fiction piece that will be in the June issue of Bluestem Magazine. And I have drafts of about half a dozen short stories that I dip into depending on my mood.
2. How does my work differ from others in its genre?
Honestly, this question panicked me a little. It asks me to be more self-aware about my finished product than I usually care to be. I want my work to be excellent, the best I am capable of, but I tend to focus more on process than on outcome. That said, I'll do my best to answer with what I feel/hope comes through in my best writing moments.
I think my fiction is earthy. Earthy in that it usually involves small, simple moments and the way those sometimes turn our lives by incremental alterations. Earthy because the soil beneath our feet and the animals--and the ways we interact with the living world--mirror back to us our own best selves as well as our deepest failings and insecurities. Earthy how a simple story told with simple words can lodge itself in a reader's imagination like a burr in a dog's coat.
3. Why do I write what I do?
Usually a character or a situation fascinates me and I want to figure out why. I'm an indiscriminately curious person, and writing a story for me is my attempt to figure out why certain moments feel so significant, or why we treat each other the way we sometimes do, or why love isn't simply *love*.
4. How does my writing process work?
This is constantly a work in progress. I don't have one method that always succeeds. Sometimes I listen to music that puts me in an appropriate mood for the story I'm working on. I take walks and photographs. I jot notes into a small spiral notebook I carry everywhere. I find writing prompts and use them to stir up new ideas. Sometimes reading poetry or flash fiction will give me an idea for a story. Sometimes I write first drafts by hand, sometimes I type them, but one way or another, I have to make an agreement with myself to sit down and write. I sometimes set time goals, sometimes I set word count goals. I usually try to write in the morning before getting down to business or surfing the internet. That doesn't always pan out, but one way or another, I have to prioritize writing time otherwise the process doesn't work.
Thanks for listening, and please check out the other bloggers who've already written about their process. Up next: