It was a BlogHer editor who first gave me “permission” to call myself a writer, even though she made it clear I had been born with that permission. It was after my first post was syndicated on BlogHer and I said, “Can I call myself a writer yet? I want to shout from the rooftops: ‘I’m a writer, a writer, a writer.” And she wrote back these nine words I’ll never forget:
“Yes, Tamara. You’re a writer, a writer, a writer!”
We do not need permission to call ourselves writers, although it took me a long time to admit that I am one. It’s not the fact that I get paid to write, although that helps. It’s not the fact that I co-authored a book, although that helps. It’s not the three-times-a-week blog posting, although that surely made me see it some more. It’s mostly the fact that I have written since I could hold a pencil, and before that, I dreamed in stories and poems. It’s not always as evident/visible as my photography thing..
..but I can assure you it means just as much.
So when I was tagged/asked by Kerstin of Auer Life to participate in a Blog Author Tour to write about my writing process, I hesitated, but only because I had two sick kids and a new puppy and couldn’t get to my computer. After that, I said “yes.”
“Heck, yes,” in fact. Here are some questions/answers about my writing process:
1. What am I working on?
Oh, what a question! What am I not working on, is more like it? I’m going to answer this generally, because although I’m a writer answering writing questions, there is just much more to the story. I would love to tell you I’m sitting here completing that novel I want to write about love, anxiety and photography – and where those three things meet, but I’m not there yet. Right now I’m working on training a puppy, registering Scarlet for kindergarten and summer camp, learning to understand and translate Des’ “toddlerspeak” and making him very happy and relieved in the process, and I’m also working on building a photography business. Oh yeah – and summer travel, house guests, anniversaries and princess birthday parties. I write in between blog commenting, eating homemade popcorn, and editing photos that are from early January. Better late than never, right?
2. How does my work differ from others in its genre?
Oh, cool! Do I have a genre? I’d love to have a genre! I think that it stems from the fact that no two people are alike, so no two writing minds are alike. And since my writing requires less structured thinking, and more free-thinking without knowing what I’m about to say, I’d have to say that my mind is being poured into it. And I have a unique mind the way you do. People have said my writing/photography is like having them over for coffee. So when you do meet me and you see what my kids look like and I open my mouth to speak it’s not vastly different from what you take from this blog. And I have a specific structuring style that I learned with my major in Journalism. I graduated with high honors too, because I am fiercely competitive and ambitious.
3. Why do I write what I do?
Quite frankly, there’s no other choice! Every time I sit down at my computer, I really have no idea what’s going to come out. It’s how I process anxiety, love and parenting best – through writing. If I have nothing to say, or it’s not ready to come, I don’t really write. I’ll participate in a linkup or I may use a set of photos/stories/truths and lies type of post. It’s rare for this to happen, though. Usually if I post an Ask Away Friday, 30 Things I Want My Kids To Know, or Truths & Lies post, it’s been pre-scheduled.
4. How does my writing process work?
I do think it’s changed over the years, but not by that much. I generally have a note in my Notes app on my phone and I keep a loose schedule there, along with several ideas. I rarely dip into the ideas because I’m usually backed up with things I want to write about. Which is nice. In the olden blogging days, I would panic on the night before I wanted to post because I hadn’t a clue what to write! And it would always come. I’m deeply a deadlines girl. You give me a deadline and the ideas start flowing. You give me open-ended and I tread water. I ALWAYS make my deadlines. Just ask my editors. I post on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays and I’m usually about 1-2 weeks ahead with what I want to write planned out. However it’s always subject to changes in my mood, or changes in life. There was a Monday I had planned to talk about anxiety, but I was surprised with a puppy the previous Friday. So I wrote about the puppy on Monday and then pushed the ideas back a few days. The puppy post couldn’t wait!
On Fridays, I always do Ask Away Friday (#AAF) and every other Friday, I combine Ladies Only Blog Share Link Party with it. It’s a nice break on Thursday nights to write within a structure and formula. I still supply unique ideas and photos, but the outline is already there. I’d love to tell you there is a same time every day that I write, but that’s not very possible with a puppy and a toddler, and preschool dropoff and pickup. Plus with spring here, I am not indoors a lot. I write when I want to write. I write when the words come, and if there’s no time for that when it happens, I at least stop everything (within reason) to jot down notes, and then I’ll write when I can. I like to write when no one else is around (rare in the day) and I put Pandora on shuffle.
I actually first knew Nancy in real life and before my blog. We met nearly four years ago at a local farmer’s market. She’s a radiant being with three of the most beautiful children known to existence. Her writing reminds me somewhat of my own, or at least it reminds me of my thinking. ‘Cause isn’t that what writing really is? The way we think? It’s not the way we hold our pens or our keyboards, but how we bring forth our stories and ideas.
Lisa is my blog friend, my co-author of “The Mother of all Meltdowns”, and we’re going to meet soon at BlogU – to learn more about writing, of course. We have had similar processes of becoming mothers and not going back to previous jobs/careers – but instead learning slowly what else we want to do out here in this great big world.
What is your writing process like? Streamlined or zany, or somewhere in between?