Kristin, a fellow St. Louis blogger, lovely and brave mama to two, extraordinarily driven (and busy) woman and student and compassionate friend and writer tagged me to post about my writing style and process. I have immense respect for her even though we have never met in person, and so of course I said yes! Below, find my answers to her questions.
What am I working on?
Right now I am working on ideas! Recently I have found myself with extra time during the day as my three boys are in school, so the ideas are really beginning to flow. I think about parenting, alternative styles of living (mostly more kind and sustainable ways), gardening, alternative education, and style (mostly buying fewer and better-quality items, and keeping one’s wardrobe simple and thoughtful).
I am also writing articles for the Washington Post’s On Parenting, and working on a few things for St. Louis Family Magazine. These jobs feel as though they have dropped into my lap through blog exposure and good friends who believe in me and push me to be better. I am forever amazed by the good people in my life, actually.
How does my work differ from others of its genre?
I don’t know that my work does differ much from other bloggers, but I try to keep my writing honest and open — sometimes that means I expose myself and make myself pretty vulnerable. Writing about the time I was accused by a stranger of child abuse was a terribly emotional, vulnerable thing for me. But I think a lot of bloggers make themselves more vulnerable now — it’s a way to stay genuine and keep the fluffy stuff in check (though I do plenty of that as well). I am eternally aware of the sheer number of blogs out there and find it humbling to have a small readership.
Why do I create what I do?
I enjoy writing because it has become a very important outlet for me. I tend to ruminate on things unless I can write them out and explore them though words. So there’s that feeling of dumping these extreme feelings onto paper (or a computer screen), but then there’s also the storytelling aspect of writing that appeals to me. I enjoy stories — children’s stories, stories told by friends, and I enjoy telling stories to others, whether they are about something crazy that happened to me or something I observed through my children. It’s just a really fun way to engage with life, I think.
How does my writing process work?
It’s funny, but I really don’t know how it works. I guess it starts as something like a strong feeling or thought that I need to work out in my head or my heart, and I get a strong physical feeling that I need to write in order to set it straight. When I do feel that inspiration, it is extremely physical; my pulse starts to race! It can strike at any time, but usually I am most inspired and creative late at night. I remember as a teenager I keeping a series of diaries and it was the same way — I would feel physically pulled to the books, scribbling out all sorts of thoughts and feelings and memories onto a page as fast as I could before the they slipped from my head. There’s definitely a sense of urgency when I write, though when I step back and think about that, it’s silly, because those thoughts and ideas keep swirling around in my brain until I release them through words. And sometimes ruminating for a bit longer helps me develop those thoughts.
What I’ve found most interesting about my writing is that I often have no idea what’s going to come out when I sit down to write. It’s always been this way for me. When I was in fifth grade, I had a short story writing assignment in English class. I sat down and began to write about this cat named Samson. First, I drew a very detailed picture of him, filling absolutely every inch of the paper with color. Then I wrote and wrote about his adventures, and at the end of the writing period, I turned in the unfinished draft to my teacher. The next class, she approached me and expressed that she was really pleased with my writing and asked me what was going to happen next (to Samson). I told her that I had no idea. She looked so puzzled! She told me that I had to know what was going to happen next or I wouldn’t know how to proceed with the writing assignment. It completely baffled me back then, as a 10-year-old girl. But that is very much the way it is with my writing now — I often sit down with all these feelings and not much of a plan! It seems to work out okay for me, but I guess it is unconventional! I suppose that is also why I write in a kind of stream-of-consciousness style; there are plenty of run-on sentences and grammatical errors, but those things are less important to me than the expression of true, honest emotion.
And now, I pass the baton to Milla of The Girl Who Married a Bear. She is an amazing writer — one of the few bloggers left in the universe who keeps it real and still manages to inspire daily. Her posts are not for those who half-heartedly bounce around looking for fluffy material; her stuff is thought-provoking and beautiful and profound, oftentimes asking all of the important questions. Milla is beautiful and smart, crafty, and stylish, but above all else, she is genuine. She lives a real life (in a really beautiful place, I might add, on an island in the Pacific Northwest). She flits in and out of the internet world, off to live real-life adventures, but when she returns, I am always here waiting.