My friend Maggie sent me a meme: #My Writing Process Tour.
I am sure she knows that I am somewhat vague about both memes and #s.
I looked up an official definition--or at least a wikipedia definition:
A meme 1] is "an idea, behavior, or style that spreads from person to person within a culture." A meme acts as a unit for carrying cultural ideas, symbols, ...
It is not a new phenomenon and the word itself was coined in 1976, but of course an internet meme is a somewhat specialized type.
Maggie is an actual, real-life friend who is also an actual, real-life writer. Writing is what she does (and does well, which there is no need to mention because it is obvious if you check out her stuff). She has a blog and it is about writing and the writing life: mag offleash.
It is possible to trace the topic back and learn about how others view and manage their writing process. I suppose if I were dogged enough, I would keep tracing back just to discover who started this meme.
I no longer say that I am not a real writer but I play one in the private confines of my office. Maggie would grumble at that and maybe stamp her foot a little. I would say that writing has always been a hobby of mine, but lately, under the influence, support, and gentle prodding of our writing group, I realize that it is more than that. It has become a part of who I am.
So I will play along and answer the four questions.
What are you working on?
I am guessing the the question is meant to ask, "What are you currently writing?" Yes? In that case, I am working on a number of writing projects. There is this blog. This is writing I do with various degrees of seriousness, but it is definitely serving a need in my life and has for a while now. I am writing poetry, which at this time for me is as much spiritual practice as it is writing. I am writing, putting aside, writing, rewriting, and thinking, thinking, thinking about a character who lives in my head. I am not even sure yet what will become of May and her family, but I keep going back. It is beginning to feel like an unrequited love.
I do hope that May will let me know soon why she keeps hanging around. I do own a couple of old fountain pens. I cannot actually write with them (I have that hook-over left handed thing) and I might be overly tempted to start stabbing her with a pointed object. It just now occurs to me that she may be slightly afraid of me. Hmm.
Here is an introduction to May.
Here is an introduction to May.
How does my work differ from others of its genre?
Well, I hope it differs from others' works because it is written by me and has my unique (a.k.a. quirky) voice. And I would hate to be accused of plagiarism.
Why do you write what you do?
It seems that I have already started answering this one. I blog because it meets a need I have to express myself so I know who I am. Putting myself out there helps me be clear with myself first and foremost. For me blogging serves the purpose of journal writing. Of course, when I kept a paper journal/diary in my younger days, I would have been horrified if anyone (sibling/parent/friend/teacher) dared to read it. Now my written thoughts are out there for, literally, the whole wide world to read. Fortunately, or not, my thoughts do not generate all that much interest and I am careful to shield myself from the implications of that fact.
Then, there is the social aspect of a blog. Those who do read it on a regular basis, and those whose blogs I read are often virtual friends, but friends nevertheless. They are all people I have come to care about and think about on a regular basis. I know this is true for other bloggers as well. So many of us seem to be introverts that I wonder if this is, finally, a safe way to interact with the world.
I started writing poetry a few years ago when I had the chance to participate in Mary Jane Dickerson's poetry workshop at the local library. I had dabbled now and again with an attempted poem, but that first workshop fed something in me that I wanted to explore. I discovered that I really liked poets. I want to be around poets and think like a poet and see the world like a poet. I even want to dress like a poet and eat what poets eat. See why I need to work on strengthening my own voice? Poetry goes beyond helping me have a sense of myself in my own small world. Poetry helps me have a sense of myself as a part of the universe. That is one awesome kick!
Here is one of my poems.
Here is one of my poems.
Somewhere in the middle--between blogging as practice and poetry as soul searching--lies the rest of the writing I do. I sit down and write because I can and someone else finds it amusing, or convincing, or informative, or touching in some way. I write so that I can have a creative voice. I write because I have something to say but it is easier for me to think-write than think-speak. I write because it is a part of who I am.
How does my writing process work?
I have read not all the books on writing there are to read, but I have read enough to know what I should be jotting down now! My writing process, my discipline--nothing like most of that.
Sit down and write. Sometimes I have to have something for group. Sometimes ideas start swirling in my head when I am out for a long walk and I rush home to write. Sometimes I write to avoid something else, doing my taxes or figuring out insurance forms always make writing look like a darn good thing to be doing. Sometimes I do other things to avoid writing. How could I possibly get words on paper when those dust bunnies are taunting me from under the desk and around the corner of the file cabinet? Sometimes--oh those rare and oh so precious times--I am just in the zone and things flow and I become nothing but a river following its natural course.
Sit down and write. It will rarely be in the morning--the sacred time in most of the books about being a writer. I have never been a morning person and I am becoming even less so as time goes on. I like to write in the afternoon.
Sit down and write. I sit in front of my computer. It has its advantages--spell check, easy edits, no ink smears down my left pinkie and that side of my palm. It has its disadvantages as well. I have lost whole piles of stuff in computer meltdowns--slow learner when it comes to developing a backup habit. I have notebooks and pens and pencils everywhere so I can jot down ideas the occur to me at odd times, but I mostly write on the computer.
Sit down and write. Try and pay attention the rest of the time.
Now I am supposed to invite four others to participate and answer these questions. I know that most of you are writers--even published writers--so consider yourself invited to #Your Writing Process Tour. If it turns out I go over my four--oh, well. If you don't want to do it, by all means don't. It does get you thinking though...and as Maggie pointed out--a free blog topic.