So I’m a little late responding to this blog hop invitation from YDad, but it’s been a weird week with lots of unplanned things bumping my writing schedule out of whack. Mike is a parent too, so he understands… but thanks for your patience Mike!
First up, if you don’t know what a blog hop is, it’s like a digital version of the old school chain letters we used to write as kids. Someone picks a topic (in this series it’s ‘Why I Write’), they write a post, then tag a few bloggers to write about the same topic, and the chain continues. And so here goes: a bit of insight into the whacky writing world that lives inside my head.
Why do I write?
I have always been a writer. That doesn’t necessarily mean I’ve always been a good writer, but here’s hoping I’ve gained a level of proficiency after years of practicing this skill.
I was given my first diary when I was six years old: a chubby, white, hardcover A6 diary with pictures of red apples on the front, and it had a gold lock and key. I filled the thin, off-white pages with doodles and pretend cursive writing, secrets about my first school crush (a boy in my grade who was a “cool guitarist”) and the awful things my sisters used to do to annoy me (and my plots to annoy them back).
Whoever gave me that diary planted the writing seed inside me and started a lifelong habit of journaling. Since then I’ve been through forests worth of journals (from 30-cent notebooks to $30.00 Moleskines) and have been telling stories in them ever since. And while most of the stories are real, raw and very much my own, others are wishful and fictitious (and some are a strange blend of both). I shudder to think of what’s in all the journals I had as a teenager (oh the angst).
When I wasn’t journalling I was writing other stories: when I was seven I typed out a two page story (using Word Perfect) about a cat who spent the evenings visiting different families and pretending to be their pet. Watching the pages come out of our printer was exhilarating. At that moment I discovered the power that words gave me to create something out of nothing. When I was 12, I wrote a novella about three girls who would get transported into an alternate universe whenever they’d simultaneously say the words “I just need to get out of here,” and in that universe they were super heroes who could fly, do gymnastics and shoot arrows at bad guys.
Eventually I traded the fiction writing for “serious” writing (read: uni assignments) and business writing (my first year International Communications tutor told me I’d be a brilliant copywriter… and I smiled and said “cool” but I had no idea what that was back then).
Now I write because it helps to clear my head (when I can’t sleep at night, I whip out the journal which is always beside my bed and write until I fall asleep). I write because it helps me to process complex ideas. I write to help others (executives, businesses, IT people) tell their stories. I write because it’s my way of recording special moments or instructions that my frazzled brain is prone to forgetting (you’ll find a lot of that in this blog).
But mostly I write because it’s the one thing I have always been able to do. And because I know that words have the power to inform and inspire. And because creating something out of nothing is fun.
How does my process work?
I really wish I was one of those people who could just start writing and, several hours later, have a few thousand words of prose. I mean, I could have the words on paper… but whether or not they make sense is another thing entirely. Even after years of writing stream-of-consciousness, I realise now that I actually prefer to plan. And it turns out I prefer having word limits and deadlines, and anything that gives me some sense of structure. It must be the control freak in me.
Sure, blogging does afford me the luxury of brain dumping but I almost always end up with posts with a host of errors… (doesn’t stop me from clicking publish though… oops). Sometimes that’s my only option though, because having a two-year-old means no matter how much I plan, most of the time, my blogging happens in short bursts between tantrums and nap times. So I write, sometimes publish, and if time permits, I go back and fix errors. In most cases, time doesn’t permit me to fix my blogging errors, which is kind of embarrassing. But let’s face it: if I wait for the time to perfect a post, I’d never actually post anything. Ever.
What am I working on?
I think the better question might be what am I not working on?
- I have a few client websites and case studies I’m working on, and am about to start a part-time writing gig in Sydney city. I don’t know how I feel about getting up early for the commute (there is something awesome about rolling out of bed and working in my PJs), but I’m really excited about working with this particular company and hope to share the journey with you guys soon.
- I’ve told myself to get more organised with this blog, so have just created a content calendar and strategy. That should mean you’ll start seeing more on this blog in the next few months.
- I want to break into feature writing, so I’m also working on a few pitches to print publications.
- There is a scribbled plot and a few chapters of a fiction book written in my Moleskine, which are products of the “15 minute writing challenge” I try to set myself every day when Mr 2 is at day care. The challenge requires me to start writing and continue, without pausing, for 15 minutes straight. That’s usually enough to get the creative juices flowing.
- And, on top of that, I’m slowly chipping away at a memoir (no, not mine hehe). I’m only in the very early stages of gathering information and am a little overwhelmed by the idea of writing a book-length story about someone who is very important to me. But that is the beauty of having a labour of love – it is something that is frightening and empowering all at once.
How does my writing differ from others in my genre?
I don’t even know what my genre is, so this is a weird question to answer. I guess… my writing is a reflection of me. My written words have always been an extension of my spoken voice, and I try to write in the way I speak – honestly, and openly. Working in academia means I can get a bit verbose, which is a bad habit I’m trying to break. That said, let’s just end this answer here.
So that’s it from me, for now. Hope you’ve enjoyed this post (I certainly enjoyed writing it!). Before you head on over to my friends’ websites and introduce yourself, leave me a message below! It’s always nice to meet and find out more about the people who read my writing. If you’ve written something for this blog hop, leave your link in the comments too!