My pal Molly recently invited me to join the My Writing Process blog tour. It’s sort of like a blogger’s chain letter (speaking of, did anyone ever participate in a middle school chain letter that actually worked?), where we talk about… well, our writing process, but also shine a light on some of our favorite blogs. I’ve never done something like this before, so when Molly shared her post, I found myself clicking through to read posts from others on the tour, fascinated by reading about what inspires other bloggers, how their styles and content varies, and what they most enjoy writing about.
I first started blogging in 2006-ish when I felt like I desperately needed a creative outlet. I was still having flashbacks from my senior year drawing class and the time our professor served as a live model, so sketching didn’t seem like a safe option. I barely knew how to knit (hence the collection of 1/4 scarves I tried to pass off as potholders). I probably could have taken up cooking, but I lived with my parents and welp… I liked eating what they made. Having always loved to write, a free blogspot address seemed like a natural fit for a recently graduated, rather poor, semi-bored non-profit employee such as myself. Because blogging has always been somewhere in the neighborhood of third or fourth or eleventh on my list of priorities, I’ve posted when inspiration struck, and rarely a minute sooner.
Lately, however, I feel like I’ve been posting even when that inspiration has gone on strike, I’ve been posting more sponsored content than usual, and I’ve even been tempted to outright delete content I’ve shared. Having the chance to reflect on and answer the questions posed and answered by Molly (and our chain letter predecessors, like Bianca and Meghan) has been tremendously helpful. It’s sort of like when you go to leadership camp and on the ride home you’re all, “I love student council! This is going to be the best year evvvvaaarrrr!” Oh. You didn’t go to leadership camp because you were doing normal things? Right. Well.
I’m grateful to Molly for including me in this tour, and for the great content she shares week after week. We first met at a Whole Foods event, but I had been reading her restaurant picks (you can find her full list of Dining Out reviews here – from Boston to LA, Las Vegas to Miami, and seemingly everywhere in between, this is the place to go if you’re looking for a solid restaurant recommendation), shopping tips, local event coverage and book reviews for quite some time before that. She has impeccable taste (supporting evidence: her Instagram account) and after seeing her Oscar party photos, I decided I need her to plan every party and event in my life hence forward.
I rarely talk blog shop here, but I am hoping you might find this peek behind the curtain even a little interesting, and perhaps it will get you thinking about your creative process, as well. Here goes.
My Writing Process
What am I working on?
For the first time (maybe ever?) I am craving some sort of established process or plan for On Tap for Today. I have quite the list of posts I want to start (or finish… or translate from a late night iPhone note to something actually readable, and not written entirely in emoji), but find myself spread a bit thin lately. My old “when inspiration strikes” method isn’t working quite as well now that I am trying to navigate being a wife, a mother, a career person, and a cool/sort of interesting/regular person. When I do have free time, I am sure you can understand that I’d rather spend it with Nick and Grace and Clark and not my MacBook. And yet, there’s a reason I keep paying my hosting fee each month. I love this little corner of the Internet I’ve carved out for myself.
So I guess you could say I am working on time management and transitioning to something a bit more organized and a bit less spontaneous. I’ve been kicking around a few ideas about fostering creativity, and have a few projects I’ve been working on around the condo (as the saying goes,
Sleep Craft when the baby sleeps) that I am excited to share. I’m also planning to share more wellness focused posts, as I feel like how I care for my body (and brain, and spirit) is especially important these days. Did I mention I broke my toe this weekend? I’ll probably tell you about that too. (Cliffhanger!)
How does my work differ from others of its genre?
Every “how to” I’ve ever read about blogging has said this: Find a niche and stick to it. Normally I’m a rule follower, but I like the freedom to write about finding shells in Mexico one day, and seeing a fart on my dog’s x-ray the next. I am as passionate about fitness and I am about spending the day in bed reading. Two of my most popular (it feels sort of Mean Girls to use that word, but hey) posts are about marathon running and why you shouldn’t get your eyebrows waxed when you’re sad. Breaking the niche rule works for me, and so I am not sure On Tap for Today fits into any one category or genre. Lifestyle, maybe? Healthy Living, sort of?
The posts I’m most proud of, and I suppose the ones that differentiate me even a tiny bit, are those where I’ve taken a risk and been more personal and vulnerable. Writing about being afraid is more difficult than sharing a chili recipe, but it’s also more rewarding for me (trust me, though, the chili is worth making) and, I hope, maybe more helpful for others.
Why do I write what I do?
Writing is often how I do my best processing (I’d choose writing over talking about a challenge any day.). So when I’m sharing something more substantial than, say, a Frenchie photo montage, my motivation is often selfish. I always appreciate, though, when a post resonates with someone else. It’s a privilege to be part of this community and be able to build connections with words.
More often, though, I write because something strange or funny (both funny haha and funny um… okay) has happened and I think it warrants documenting (like the time there was a skunk trapped in a stairwell near my office, and someone took the time to print up a sign, but didn’t bother to call animal control). Or because I just enjoyed the most amazing agua fresca on the deck and I feel it would be unjust to deny
my mom humanity the recipe. Or because I feel like I’m back in the running game (that was before the broken toe, obvi) and I want to hold myself accountable.
Above all, I try to be genuine and authentic in my writing. I’m not an expert at much (I think I’m a semi-expert at my real job, but no one wants to hear about that stuff), and hope my vibe comes across as accessible, approachable, and thoughtful. No one needs a lecture. Except for people that need a lecture. Also, why did I just talk about “my vibe?”
How does my writing process work?
I was that kid who never bothered with outlines (they drove me mental). In fact, I often wrote my outline after the fact, so as to not lose points on pre-writing exercises. Were I presently 11 instead of 32, I don’t think I would fare well on the MCAS exams. Or in middle school, in general.
When it comes to posts, I almost always write and publish them in one sitting. Sometimes this takes 10 minutes, other times 60. Despite lacking in the
bowhunting photography skills department, images are an important component for me. It’s often a photo that drives or inspires the narrative, but sometimes I dig through the 9.3 million unorganized photos in my DropBox for something that fits after writing.
I often read my posts aloud before clicking publish in an effort to catch typos and other embarrassing things… like references to leadership camp (I use this trick at work, too).
And that’s that. Nothing exciting.
And now for the next round of the My Writing Process blog tour…
I’m thrilled that the following three ladies have agreed to share their writing process with us next Monday. I consider each to be the Diana Barry to my Anne Shirley (which is to say, we’re kindred spirits, duh). Please be sure to keep an eye out for their posts, which will be live next Monday, May 19th.
Michelle of Hit the Bricks We technically first met at a blogging event in Boston, but I was a total boob (shocking) and super socially awkward. Fortunately, Michelle is charitable, and didn’t write me off altogether. When we had our first real friend date, I think both of our husbands put lo-jack in our handbags, worried about what happens when one meets an “internet friend” for tea. In the years since, she’s become a true and trusted friend. She likes Michael Jackson and Martha Stewart and office supplies as much as I do, so basically, our friendship was written in the stars (with a mint green fine point Sharpie).
Heather of Then Heather Said I’ve learned a great deal from Heather during the years I’ve been lucky enough to know her. From practical information (the best apps, tips for staying organized, random Presidential facts) to even more important things (specifically, how to be a good friend), I’m so grateful our paths have crossed. Aaaand I get excited every Tuesday, because I love her Twosday posts.
Kristi of Life Sprinkles I first met Kristi at the 2011 Healthy Living Summit cocktail party in Philadelphia. I’ve loved catching up with her at this annual event, but wish I got to see her in person more often (no offense to all the states in between Arizona and Massachusetts, but, like… you’re all kind of in the way). I love her honest, inspiring, and joyful posts. Oh, and if you haven’t already, sign up for her Sprinkle a Day in May series. There are still plenty of May days left to be inspired by this lovely lady.
Also On Tap for Today:
- New favorite word: “doodie”… Help! There’s a Doodie in My Kitchen! from Grub Street
- I am now on a mission to find all of the PBS Anne of Green Gables movies
- Love this: 7 Ways to Be Good to Yourself… from MindBodyGreen
What are you working on? Got any exciting projects on the horizon?