Diana’s nominated me for the Writing Process Blog Tour because she was nominated over the weekend by Susanne Leist (hi, Susanne! *waves*). Diana and I are wont to nominate one another for things, naturally, but this one makes me especially happy. It’s is my first blog hop, and it gives me a chance to ask three blogging buddies who I respect an awful lot as writers questions about how they work. What’s not to like about that?
The rules are very simple and, if I may say so, designed to not require a lot of work, which I truly appreciate:
- Link to the blogger before,
- answer 4 questions,
- and nominate 3 bloggers to keep the hop going.
Did the link already. Now the nominations (so sad I only get three):
Drifting Through My Open Mind – The blog of Gretchen Kelly, one of my first WordPress friends. Her posts have a way of grabbing you. Spend half an hour scanning her archives, and you’ll see what I mean.
David of DBCII – David also blogs at Comparative Geeks with his wife, Holly, a fine writer herself (just read her posts, you’ll see!) and he contributes to Sourcerer. CompGeeks is the first WordPress blog I linked to, and I linked to it the day I kicked off my own blogs. I haven’t been disappointed even once.
Quaint Jeremy’s Thoughts – Jeremy’s an offline friend. He’s a marvelous scholar, a fabulous writer, and Sourcerer’s steadiest contributor. We’re preparing to celebrate six months of weekly Batman posts from Jeremy. Twenty-six weeks in a row. That’s how good Jeremy is. He’s in the process of getting his own blog off the ground now, and he really enjoys beer. You might want to follow him 🙂
Questions and answers:
Why do I write what I do?
Whew!I write about so many things, this might take a minute or two. First and foremost, I write to communicate. I also write because I enjoy it. I’ve been writing, as a “writer,” since I was a child. At this point in my life, if I’m not writing, I’m not well. As far as the blogging goes, I write about things that interest me for people who share my interests. Writing also helps me clarify my thoughts, and I like to re-visit my own pieces six months later and see what I’ve learned since I wrote them.
- I write about Tolkien for Part Time Monster because I enjoy studying his work and discussing it with other fans.
- I write about inequality on a regular basis because I believe we can do better on a whole list of equality-related issues than we’re doing right now. I’m looking for solutions, and for people who are willing to share ideas and work together on those issues.
- I write about social media for bloggers at Sourcerer because I’ve put a lot of effort into learning a set of social media tricks, and I want to share what I’ve learned with every blogger who’s interested.
- I write about writing here, when I can, because I learned nearly everything I know about writing from other writers, and they’re still teaching me things. I’m always looking for ways to be helpful to people who aren’t as far along as me, and to learn from people who are further along.
How does my writing process work?
For short pieces, I typically compose a nearly-finished first draft in my head. I have a scary good verbal memory. Give me 15 minutes to refresh, and I can recite the entire Declaration of Independence for you.
My wife can tell when I’m mentally writing because I’m so unaware of my surroundings it isn’t safe to let me wander the streets alone. That turns into a rough draft once I sit down to the keyboard. For longer work, I outline fanatically, then draft. I never compose actual sentences with pen and paper any more. My process has changed over the last 10 years to the point that it’s too slow and uncomfortable to do it that way. I always compose either mentally or on a keyboard.
Once I have a draft, the first thing I do is cut it. I do this before I even check things like organization and whether or not I’m making a strong argument. This is because I’m so wordy, it’s a weakness. I’m a naturally loquacious person, and I write the way I talk. Eliminating the adverbs and prepositional phrases is like killing zombies. Once I cut, I look at global issues like the organization, whether the facts add up, whether or not the plot is moving, etc. Then revise.
I always edit, proof, and format last, because I don’t want to spend my time polishing a sentence until I am sure I’m not going to cut it. Sometimes I have people read and critique my drafts — even blog posts. I ask specific questions after they give me their own feedback, and no matter what answers I get, I say thanks and think about those answers carefully before I publish.
Blogging has helped me break out of my shell as a writer and allow people to read rough things. My writing has improved more in seven months of blogging than it did the three years prior.
How does my work differ from others of its genre?
I’m just assuming we mean “blogging” as a genre. I think my blogging differs from others in a few ways:
- The topics I write about are diverse, but they aren’t all over the map. I don’t just post whatever pops into my head when I sit down to write, but neither do I blog to a single niche.
- My blogging is part of a much larger cross-network social media project that includes three blogs, three twitter accounts, a Tumblr site, a Pinterest account, and Facebook fan pages.
- I spend as much of my time as possible promoting other peoples’ blogging. Nine out of the ten links I tweet to @MondayBlogs are to articles written by other bloggers. I reblog a writing-related post here once a week, and when I’m not too crazy-busy to think about it, I do roundups. I give other bloggers Follow Friday posts at Sourcerer as often as I can manage it. Given the amount of self-promotion I see going on on social media, I think that sets me apart.
- I place a high premium on engagement. I’m not just looking to self-publish essays. I’m hoping to be entertaining enough, or helpful enough, to get discussions going. I strive to answer every comment and to keep up with as many of my followers as possible.
What am I working on at the moment?
Blog posts. I’m preparing to start writing about worldbuilding here. Most of my blog posts at the moment are regular features that come around every week, and I have several topics that I revisit often. My top two frequent-but-not-weekly topics at the moment are full legal equality for LGBTQ people in the United States and using social media better.
The blogging I’m doing right now is my main writing project because I made a 12-month commitment to mostly-everyday blogging just to see what sort of network I could build with the help of the friends who contribute to our blogs. We’re eight months in. I’ve worked at it like a second job at times, but it’s already been worth it.
Aside from that, I have a fantasy fiction project. I gained a lot of momentum on it last summer, but put it aside to make blogging the high-priority project for this year. The blogging is going so well that I’ve been shaving off a little time to work on the fantasy for the last couple of weeks. I used a writing sprint to write most of a scene last week, and that made me very happy.
-ed. The poetry feature’s bumped to Thursday again this week, and look for a Wordless Wednesday here tomorrow. Have a great day 🙂