Hashtags in my elaborate system of titles and numbers that’s incomprehensible even to me? Why not, Gentle Reader? Especially since my internet-girlfriend Ekgo tagged me in this blog tour about the writing process, and it’s sort of required. Well, not required in the title, but it’s required when I tweet about it and I’m lazy, so this way it’ll be automatic. FASCINATING. Alors.
Ekgo is a font of hilarity, and I was really touched when she selected me for this leg of the tour. She’s been in the process of reading the blog from Post the First – every entry, in order – periodically for months. I don’t expect her to reach this post until sometime in the future, so – Hi, Erica! Thank you! You’re wonderful!
So, the game is this: There are four questions that I have to answer, wherein I have to wax complimentary about myself and my body of work*. And then I get to gush about somebody else and tag somebody else, which I’m far more comfortable with! Hurrah! Therefore:
1. What are you working on?
Officially, I have four or five separate projects right now. It’s only five if you count the blog, which gets the most attention. I’m working on a new collection of poetry, as that’s where I feel my talents lie, but accumulating enough poetry to fill a volume takes a while. I’ve got about half of a novel finished, that I’ve been letting rest for a few months – it was necessary for my favorite character to die, and I needed some time before I could move on with the story. I’m compiling and editing my late father’s work – which is strangely painful; Originally, I was going to be writing coordinating pieces, and have a sort of father-son thing going on, but I decided to release his work on its own merits. There’s also my interminable etiquette book, which is taking forever and which may be obsolete by the time I’m finished with it. Finally, I’ve been working on this charmingly silly round-robin style story with some blogging friends, which is ongoing, that you can read here.
2. How does my work differ from others in its genre?
How about some bullet points?
- The Blog: In the world of silly little blogs, it doesn’t really. Outrageous anecdotes and public-domain ghosts, I guess.
- Poetry – My poems are variously archaic, yearning, and dark. I’m a bit stuffy when it comes to my poetry, and while that certainly isn’t the fashion these days, it suits me.
- My half-novel is a fantasy-dystopia heavily featuring a polyamorous relationship, which I have no personal experience with. It also uses the word “ziggurat” quite a bit.
- The etiquette book deals with situations that aren’t covered by the Posts, Vanderbilts, and Savages of the world. It’s also partly a family memoir.
3. Why do I write what I do?
I began this blog for some much-needed practice in prose, and to develop my voice. Everything else springs forth at probably 3 a.m. and I have to wake up and find a pen, or that sort of thing. I know that relying on inspiration is not a good way to get work done, which is another reason I began blogging – as a way to learn how to generate writing without that mad spark from nowhere. That *is* still how I write my poetry, though – and after I’ve caught the poem in my net, I let it cure for a few months before heavily editing it.
I suppose I write what I do because it interests me, because it amuses me, because I’m passionate about whatever I’m writing about, or because it makes me feel something.
4. How does my writing process work?
Well, I already described the poetry, I guess.
Before I write any prose at all I make myself do at least five hundred words of journaling to exorcise daily-humdrum-bullshit from my mind. This is a daily thing – I’ve learned that making myself write every day, setting aside a specific time for it, is the most effective way for me to get anything done.
I also set myself specific word-count goals. Before I let the novel rest for a few months, I made myself write at least five hundred words on it per day, and if I failed to do that, I owed myself a word-debt that had to be made up by the end of the week.
The other thing that I’ve learned is to just sit down and write. It doesn’t have to be brilliant prose the first time out; it’s a draft. You’re going to do an edit and a rewrite, aren’t you? Get the story onto paper, flesh out your outline – it can be utter crap the first time around, because you’re going to keep reworking it until it’s good. So just write it.
Right. So that’s #mywritingprocess. Now for the bit I’m much more comfortable with!
Natalie DeYoung is incredibly talented, and one of my heroes. She’s musical, she paints, she writes prolifically – you can read her work at her blog, The Cat Lady Sings, at Lefty-Pop, at the whimsical story I mentioned above, and on the Huffington Post. Despite dealing with incredible amounts of stress and strife, Natalie always has a sort of serenity about her. Even when frazzled, she’s one of the most gracious, kind people it’s been my pleasure to meet on the internet. Check out her work!