On Writing

My Writing Process – Part II

To continue answering Penny-Anne Beaudoin‘s question about my writing process, here is the second part of my answer.

Penny-Anne asked me this:

You’ve written memoirs, fiction, YA fiction, poetry, articles – but which of these demands the most of your heart?  Which do you resist writing the most?  Which gives you the most freedom to self-reveal?

Yet another biggie. Let me break it down – which of these demands the most of your heart?

Well, certainly I must give Penny-Anne MAD PROPS for asking such beautiful and poignant questions, for yippy, (I yelp), including the heart in any question about the creative process is right on the money.

In my mind, I process things in lines of poetry. Instinctively…naturally, when my mind goes into creative mode, it is processing in poetry. Actually, it doesn’t even really have to be in creative mode, it just processes in poetry most of the time. I don’t know why. I don’t know when it began. I don’t consider myself a poet first…In fact, when asked what I do, my response is that I write. I’m a writer. I never say, I’m a poet. If I do, it’s a follow-up in my answer. But I know in my heart and soul that I am a poet. For sure.

Everything I write comes from my heart on some level. Some genres reach more deeply into my hear than others, but whatever I write certainly comes from the heart. Even non-fiction pieces I write in article form. I’ve interviewed many people about many things, from Robert Munsch to Henry Winkler to Bill Cosby – and even in a Q & A style article, there is a piece of my heart in the words. In the questions…

Alas, she’s asking which genre demands the most of my heart.

Poetry – demands different parts of my heart depending on the theme. Writing poetry wholly comes from my heart.

Memoir – demands the most vulnerable, honest, terrified parts of my heart. It creates a storm in my heart – where the truth is always vying for freedom and my fears are always trying to blow it away.

YA Fiction – demands the best parts of my heart. I always feel amazing when I’m writing for young adults. I always feel right. I always feel like I’m writing what I was meant to write. Like what I’m writing is bigger, much bigger, than I.

Fiction – like poetry, also demands different parts of my heart. But depending on the style of fiction, my heart is challenged in different ways. Lately, I’ve been inclined to write short stories that are so radically polar to who I am, my heart gets startled – and poof! – I write something that I would never do or say…It’s pretty fantastic.

Which do I resist writing the most?

Copy – which wasn’t in the list of genres that Penny-Anne gave, but I definitely resist writing copy. Resume writing. Query letters. Log lines. GAH. All those types of writing that take away my freedom to write using my ‘voice’. Those types of writing that have a ‘form’ or a ‘template’ or a word amount I must follow in order to progress forward. I actually have serious anxiety when writing these things. They make my stomach hurt. I want to revolt and break the rules even though I totally understand and respect them.

Which gives me the most freedom to self-reveal?

(God she’s good.) They all do. Everything I write is revelatory in some way. In one word, one sentence, perhaps the whole poem or story. Memoir, by its very definition, offers me the most freedom to reveal my personal truths and experiences. But there are many things I haven’t written in memoir form that I’ve written about in poetry. Somehow, the playing and the smoke, if you will, of poetry allows me the space, the setting to reveal certain things that I’m too afraid to write more honestly. More clearly.

Writing is such an integral part of my being that I don’t think it will ever not reveal pieces or glimpses of who I am. Pulses of my heart beat, if you will.


4 thoughts on “My Writing Process – Part II

  1. Vanessa, wow, thanks SO MUCH for this! What a beautiful exploration of the writing process. I love the description of the “storm in my heart.” And isn’t that what writing does to us all? So glad I asked the questions. So glad I asked YOU!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s