Friday, 25 July 2014

On Writing and Writers

If you are a blogger, you'd be well and truly familiar by now with The Writing Process Bloghop but if you are not a blogger, I will quickly fill you in: the bloghop focuses on discovering other bloggers' motivation for writing and the process or processes they undergo to achieve their finished products. It consists of four questions which, from a reader's perspective, provide an interesting way to gain an insight into bloggers' thoughts on their own writing and from a writer's perspective, provide an interesting exercise in reflecting on what drives us to do what we do and how our ways of doing it are similar or different from others'. 

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But what is a bloghop? I hear the non-bloggers ask. Well, it's nothing at all like a high school hop. It involves bloggers answering a set of questions and then nominating a certain number of other bloggers (in this case three) who they have connected with through the blogging community to do the same. Back at the end of June, I was nominated by Yvonne Spence who blogs over at yvonnespence.com and also at inquiringparent.com. I was supposed to post my own answers a week afterwards, meaning I am now disgracefully late in doing so. 

Yvonne is the author of two books: Looking for America, a collection of short stories set in the Shetland Isles and Drawings in the Sand, a novel about transformation and forgiveness. You can read her own responses to The Writing Process bloghop questions over here.



And now, to get my contribution to the bloghop rolling, I'll share with you my answers to the four questions and then reveal my three nominees.

What am I working on?

I'm currently working on banishing my tendency for laziness, excuses and procrastination and finally gluing my butt to a chair for long enough to write the story of my son's and my experience of living in Sicily - what motivated me to pack up my life and take my five year old son to the other side of the world to live indefinitely, the adventures and the tribulations we had while we lived on the island and how those experiences and the people we met there changed our lives in unforeseeable ways in the months and years since we returned home to Australia. 

One of the reasons I think it has taken me so long to start this project is that I had no idea how the story would end. Even before we stepped foot on the island, I already felt a calling to write a book about whatever it was that we would experience there. Initially, I anticipated that it would be a book full of funny anecdotes about linguistic faux pas and quintessential Italians doing funny little quintessential Italian things and hopefully a bit of evidence of personal growth thrown in there for good measure. What I want to write now is still all those things, but it is also involves a darker facet and things I never would have imagined living through or writing about when I began that journey.

The first step in starting this project is to gather together and organise all the notes I have written over the last four years. I never wrote notes directly onto a computer the way a sane, organised person would do. My notes were scribbled on the backs of envelopes and bus tickets, on post-it notes, on paper napkins, on the back pages of whatever novel I was reading at the time and yes, occassionally even in notebooks. I have lost count of how many notebooks I own. There has never been any system to how I write in them. It has always been a case of a thought coming to me and me rushing to grab the nearest notebook (or anything else that it is possible to write on) and scrawling down that thought before it gets away.

I'm quite curious as to what I will find when I begin this organisation process in earnest. Every now and then I pick up something I wrote three or four years ago and I often can't even remember writing it and am sometimes amused, sometimes amazed and sometimes saddened to realise that that was how I was thinking at that particular time.

The nagging desire I used to feel so urgently to eventually have this book published when it is finally written has actually dissipated. What remains is an overwhelming need to put this story into words so that I can piece it all together and finally understand it for myself and so I can lay it all to rest and then move on.

How does your work differ from others in its genre?

In relation to blogging, I think my work falls easily into the genre of 'mummy blogging' because most of my posts focus on aspects of parenting and the misadventures I have had therein. I have diverged from that a little though with the Italian lessons I posted here. They are not cut and dry lessons though because they contain stories from our time in Sicily that relate to the respective topics of eachlesson.

Other than that, I suppose you could say that my work might differ from others within its genre in terms of its quirkiness. I've always been a little bit unconventional (I grew up in a house without a TV so really, it was destiny) and its difficult to hide that quirkiness when you're writing a blog. Eventually, over time, you're either going to stop blogging, or your authentic self is going to emerge. Gradually, the latter is happening to me.

Why do I write what I do?

The short answer to that is that is stops me going insane. I wrote the long answer in the post I wrote to celebrate my one year blogiversary.

How does my writing process work?

My head is constantly swarming with ideas for blog posts and other genres of writing, but my problem is that I rarely have time to write them down. Often, when I'm hanging out washing or doing dishes or sorting clothes, I compose posts in my head. Even if I never get the chance to sit down and type them out, I still get that feeling of creative satisfaction.

The posts that do make it to the blog and usually already composed in my head by the time I sit down in front of the computer. This process works well for me in terms of time management - I compose a post mentally when I can't be at the computer and when I can, I punch it out as quickly as possible (hence the frequency of my typos!)

Sometimes, though, I'll sit down at the computer and then I'll suddenly be hit by how tired I am and I never push myself to write through that tiredness. I have far too much respect for the healing properties of sleep and the perils of evading them. On those nights, I'll usually type paragraph headings so that I have an outline of what I am going to write in each paragraph. Once I've done that, I feel like I've actually done the hard part (even though it only took a few minutes) and that all I really have to do is pad it out later and I'm done. Then I go to sleep and, with a clear plan in my head of the structure of my post, my subconscious ticks away and I know that what I eventually end up writing is infinitely better than what I would have written if I'd forced myself to stay up and write in a state of exhaustion.

When it comes to content, I believe that since blogging is my hobby and therefore not something I am obliged to do, that it should be a source of joy and so if I had planned to write a post on a particular topic on a particular day but when that day comes I don't feel that writing that would bring me joy, then I write about something else that does. I don't think about what will be popular out there on the world wide web, I just think about playing around with words and allowing them to bring joy into my life.


And now for the nominees ...

These three writers are all Australian-based bloggers who I have met (virtually) during my first year of blogging. Each of them is extremely gifted with words and I am inspired by their achievements and their individual perspectives on life. If you haven't discovered them yet, I really recommend finding them online via the links below in their bios. But that's enough from me, let's talk about them!


Rita Azar


Rita is a writer, blogger and crafter.  She's a French Canadian woman with a Lebanese background now living in Melbourne.  She speaks French and Arabic and is now learning Italian. She's a Canadian lawyer who also completed a Post Graduate Diploma in Journalism at RMIT University.  But now that she has reconnected with her love for writing, she is working on editing her first novel and thinks that this is certainly one of the most challenging things she has ever done. 

Rita blogs at http://thecraftyexpat.comYou can also follow her here:

Francesca Suters



Francesca is a thirty-something Australian woman who wears many hats (figuratively - she's not literally much of a hat person). She has a Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Laws from the University of Newcastle and currently works part-time in a corporate setting. Since she was a child, she has always loved writing. In adulthood, Francesca pursues this interest through blogging, a hobby which is flexible enough to fit around her responsibilities as a working parent. Francesca has just published her first novel, Returning, which is available as a paperback and an ebook.

Her book website is www.francescasuters.weebly.com
Her Facebook pages are:
Kathy Kruger



Kathy is an adoptive mother of two beautiful kids from China who blogs about going with the flow, finding balance, embracing change, and being grateful at www.yinyangmother.com. 

A former journalist, Kathy shares insights from her long journey to motherhood and her life lessons about healing – the gift of loss is indeed the joy of gain.

Kathy loves words, wisdom and wine (not necessarily in that order). She practices yoga and meditation and her latest project is creating short meditation videos for children, using the visual medium to calm kids in our busy and overstimulated world! 

Connect with Kathy  [http://www.facebook.com/ yinyangmother], Twitter [yinyangmother@yinyangmother] 


Melting Moments


Is writing your hobby, your passion or your job? How would you describe your writing process?