I’ve been seeing/reading this fun thingy called a Blog Tour, whereby various bloggers answer all the same questions and link to each other’s blogs to help promote each other, and our writing processes. I was super excited to be invited to participate by the lovely and talented, and freshly published, poet Debbie Okun Hill!
My Writing Process – Blog Tour
Step one: Acknowledge the person & site that involved you in the blog tour.
Poet, Debbie Okun Hill.
Her site: www.okunhill.wordpress.com
Step two: Answer the 4 questions below about your writing process
1) What am I working on?
I’m working on a Young Adult novel I started last May. (Gah! It’s already been a year since I started…) I’m also putting together a new poetry manuscript. I hope to put together around 40-50 poems and send it out to some publishers. I’m always ‘working on’ a bunch of writing projects, including writing for this blog, and accomplishing little tasks like blog posts, and dreaming about *FINISHING* longer projects like my novel(s) and poetry collections. There are also a load of poetry contests I’d like to submit between now and September. We’ll see how that goes. (MERP.)
2) How does my work differ from others of its genre?
Good question. Well, I feel like my work is very different than what exists in the poetry genre. I’m not sure if that’s because it actually is different or I’m just not finding and reading poetry that feels and sounds like mine. When I read published poetry in literary magazines and books, one of two things happen: 1) I don’t get it and I feel like something’s wrong with me and I wonder how the heck I can call myself a ‘poet’ when I don’t understand a lot of the poetry I read or 2) I *LOVE* it (especially poetry published in Rattle) and I lose my breath and shake my head in wonder and awe and thanks that people write amazing poetry, and I feel honoured to be a ‘poet’ and I want to write more poetry all the time.
I definitely believe that what sets my poetry apart is its humour, raw-honesty, and ‘did-she-actually-write-that?’-ness. I write things down that people only think in their heads. I write things down that I think people can relate to on a deep level – whether it’s through laughter or pause or some strong emotional reaction, my goal as poet is to get a reader/listener to respond, and engage herself and her friends in a conversation that is meaningful and human.
3) Why do I write what I do?
I’m certain I echo most writers’ sentiments when I say that I write because I have to. I write because it makes me feel alive. Because of the direct connection between my soul and my well-being to my writing, what I write has been reflective of my what’s happening in my life – especially in my poetry. I write about my experience of motherhood and writerhood, and how the two co-exist.
When I write Young Adult stories/novels, however, I’m really writing from a different place for a different audience. And I allow my self to play and use my imagination in ways that challenge my inner-writer. I love making things up! And I want to write stories that will attract a massive audience and appeal to a mainstream group. The YA world of books is very different than the world of poetry. I’m working on changing that!! As many people that read YA should read poetry!!
4) How does your writing process work?
I call it the ‘Writing-In-Between’ writing process. I write in the pockets of time that show up in my life around everything else. My role/job as mother comes first. That takes up a tonne of energy and time. After that I have my part-time jobs – the ones that bring in the money. Then, in and around taking care of my family, my work responsibilities, visiting with family and friends…I insert my writing life. Indeed, it is extremely fragmented and frustrating most of the time. I really have to work hard at disciplining myself to *MAKE* time to write. And on top of that, choose wisely when I do make time to write as far as what I’m writing is concerned. I can easily fit writing poetry into this style of writing process because poems are always writing themselves in my head. I just need to sit down and spew them out onto paper (I most often hand-write my poetry first). I don’t need oodles of time to do this.
This morning, for example, I could have used the last hour to work on my novel. The kids are asleep. I have a gorgeous blue sky, crisp breeze, chirping birds in the back yard to motivate me…a yummy cup of coffee that is quickly going from luke-warm to cold…and I’ve steered completely away from the novel to update my social media strands, and work on this here blog.
Which brings me to a very key part of my writing process: avoidance. I get really scared to go back to certain projects – especially my novel. It is daunting and physically exhausting to write…yet, I think about it all the time and yearn for hours of ‘free’ time to work on it. Then, when some time opens up, I freak out and don’t work on it. I literally get scared of the characters and what they will put me through to tell their story. It’s crazy and invigorating, and I’m mostly terrified when I do (finally) let myself tell their story. Otherwise, I avoid out of fear and..well, fear. This part of my process is called, aptly, The Freak Out. And I ride it like the old-rickety roller coaster that it is…until I get my shite together and, shit down, shut-up, and write.
No matter what – writing makes me feel better. So. Much. Better. It smoothes out the wrinkles in my soul, helps my posture, makes me feel ‘wholistically’ fuller and better about my self. It’s very exciting and exhausting and addictive.
Step Three: Say who is on next week (your own chosen three) – give a 1-2 line bio and link to their website. You’ll need to find three other writer friends
to ask to do the same a week after you, and so on and so forth.
PASS IT ON!
I asked three other bloggers if they’d like to continue this blog tour, and one of the three was available to do it (it’s summer and folks are busy…did my best!).
So stay tuned as a blogger with the same name, the gorgeous and fabulous Vanessa Grillone will carry on the tour!
Vanessa is a 25-year-old published author who resides in Bolton, Ontario. She is a small-town girl with big-city dreams. She has a love for workout DVDs, travel, and books. She writes about the brands she loves, people she spends time with, books she reads, and places she goes. She believes in authenticity and practices this daily by consistently staying “true” to herself. She encourages other people to do the same!
Her blog is called: My Pen, My Voice – and it’s wonderful! Thanks Vanessa!!
She’ll be posting her blog – next Monday, July 21!