My friend, Iris Graville, invited me to participate in a Writing Process Blog Tour.
Iris is a classmate and good friend of mine. She’s graduating with me in August. She’ll also receive her masters from the Northwest Institute of Literary Arts. The Blog Tour stopped at her blog last week (bloggerbyconvincement.blogspot.com) where she answered questions about her writing process. This week, the bus stops here.
What am I working on?
I just finished a (not “the”) final draft of my thesis. It’s a collection of micro-essays titled “How We Belong.” It’s an exploration into connection and community. It tells the story of how humans are inextricably bound to each other. Some of the essays are personal. Some of them are about other people. Right now the manuscript is in the hands of Brian Doyle, my second reader.
How does my work differ from others in its genre?
I write short. Really short. It took me 27 essays to get to a sufficient word count to be considered a thesis. My strength is concision. But it’s also a challenge when it comes to deciding if I’ve explained enough. I have to make sure I have provided an unabbreviated story despite the length.
What do I write what I do?
I write exclusively nonfiction. Stories are everywhere. I constantly find myself in situations saying, “You can’t make this stuff up.” I’ve never had a need to write fiction because there are so many true stories that need telling. Also, I suck at writing fiction and poetry.
How does my writing process work?
I’m not even close to a morning person. I’m also not a night owl. I’m really more of a late afternoon person who likes her sleep. My most creative time is from 2-4 in the afternoon (right about the time most people want to nap). I’m pretty disciplined but I don’t write when I don’t want to. Sometimes I’m just not creative and I think that’s ok to admit. I don’t really have a “space” either. I go to Starbucks because I like noise. Sometimes I’ll sit at the library. I love to write outdoors on the lawn.
Sometimes I spread out on the floor in my living room. I’m very visual and very tactile, which means I print a lot (sorry tree lovers… but I do recycle ). I cut up essays with scissors. I tape up stuff on the walls. I use an absurd amount of post-it notes. My apartment often looks like the movie “A Beautiful Mind,” though I can’t claim the genius part. I hate red pen. I usually listen to hip-hop or rap (which I realize seems funny, but whatever works) or sometimes acoustic guitar while I write. If it’s silent, it’s hard to get out of my own way, which is my biggest problem.
Next week the Writing Process Blog Tour continues with two writers I admire. Check our their blogs next Tuesday.
Brittany Wren, a longtime friend of mine, lives and writes in Syracuse, Nebraska. (http://brittanyjwren.blogspot.com/)
Krista Houstoun, a friend and coworker, is a writer, editor and freelancer in Sedona, Arizona. (http://kristahoustoun.com/)