My Writing Process Tour

June 2, 2014 · 11 comments

in Writing Life

There’s a blog tour going on called #mywritingprocess that writers of all genres all over the world are taking part in by sharing insight into their writing life through answering a few simple questions. I was invited to participate by my long-time writing and blogging friend, Kathy Pooler, who is on the cusp of publishing her memoir Ever Faithful To His Lead: My Journey Away from Emotional Abuse, her story about the power of hope through her faith in God.  

Kathy posts regularly on her blog Memoir Writer’s Journey where she shares a treasure-trove of information for those interested in writing the stories of their lives . Kathy is one of the most generous writers I’ve encountered. I have, and continue to, learn a lot from her–about writing and life. I hope you’ll stop by her blog and get to know her.

Now, here are my responses to the #mywritingprocess questions.

What am I working on?

A couple of years ago three female characters took up residence in my mind and I’ve been getting to know them ever since. I’ve dabbled a bit with each of them, creating character sketches, writing a few vignettes, even putting them together and observing their interactions with one another. I’ve spent a fair bit of time considering story ideas, jotting down notes, and asking the ever-important “what if” question over and over again as I tried to draw out the story I wanted to tell.

Recently, I’ve been working on a comprehensive plot outline for a novel about two of these characters . In the plotter (one who develops a clear outline before writing) vs pantser (one who writes without an outline by the seat of their pants) debate I’m firmly planted in the plotter territory on this work. I’m not prepared to say much about this project yet–suffice to say that I’ve been deep into character studies, outlining, research, and am just beginning the actual writing process.

Some time ago I started writing about the life of my grandmother who raised three children on her own during the Great Depression after her husband died. I continue to dabble with that project, researching life in Saskatchewan during the Dirty Thirties, and transcribing my aunt’s–Grandma’s youngest child–diary which she kept from age 14 to 17.

I’ve also been working on an audio version of Two Hearts. Stay tuned for an announcement about this soon.

Finally, I continue to maintain this blog where I post regularly about midlife, life writing, my retiree adventures, and whatever else strikes my fancy. I enjoy interacting with readers who leave comments or send me emails about posts.

Why do I write what I do?

The sage advice to writers is to “write what you know” and that’s the approach I take for the most part. I write about what interests me, what I’m passionate about: midlife, retirement, adoptee issues, and family relationships. I tend to be introspective (perhaps to a fault sometimes) and I do a lot of reflective writing that sometimes morphs into blog posts and sometimes stays safely in a file on my laptop.

I’m fascinated by the intricacies and complexities of diverse family relationships and that factors big time into my new work. There are threads in the story from things that have caught my attention in the media lately too. I’ve been delving into them deeper, researching and learning more because they’ve become important to the story but also because they’re issues that have, or will, touch the lives of many of us at some time. I’m hoping this translates into a work that readers will find both interesting and relevant.

How does my writing process work?

As I looked ahead to what life would be like in retirement I envisioned a routine where I’d rise early in the morning, grab a cup of coffee, and head to my writing cave where I’d put in a few solid hours of writing. Now that I’ve actually arrived in retiree-land it turns out my routine is not quite that cut and dried. Some days that’s exactly what I do, other days I linger in bed over a second cup of coffee and a book, still other mornings find me busy around the house and I don’t make it to my writing room until mid-afternoon. And yes, there are days I don’t make it at all.

I have decided to allow myself a period of grace to settle into our new life before getting too rigid about routine and commit to a schedule that works best for me. Still, when I’m not writing I’m usually thinking about writing–whether it be fodder for a blog post or something I want to work into my novel. I find inspiration is everywhere if I allow myself to be open to receiving it and that’s the reason I carry a notebook around with me most of the time. I’ve learned the hard way that not writing down ideas as they come is a sure-fire way to lose them; my aging brain is not as good at retention and recall as it was when I was younger!

For the time being I’m doing a lot of reading, studying the craft of writing, tending my garden, practicing photography, and as I mentioned earlier, writing a novel.

 

Now, I’m pleased to introduce you to three writers I’ve nominated to take part in the #mywritingprocess tour and who will be posting on their blogs about their writing process next week.

Barbara Techel

Techel-9000-2-e-214x300Barbara Techel “encourages others to live with passion and authenticity and celebrate the human-animal bond which teaches us to enjoy life’s simple pleasures”. She is the author of the award-winning Through Frankie’s Eyes where she shares the story of her journey to the heart of herself and the little dog who accompanied her on the way, an assortment of children’s books about Frankie, the Walk ‘N Roll Dog , and a short story collection For the Love of Animals. Barbara was a guest here last year when Through Frankie’s Eyes was released and she blogs regularly at Joyful Paws.

 

Letty Watt

LettyI’ve been delighted to get to know Letty through her contributions to Story Circle Network’s One Woman’s Day blog. Letty is a retired librarian/teacher who enjoys spending as much time as possible gardening, golfing, and walking her dog. Winter months find her indoors writing stories that mutter around in her head. Letty blogs at Literally Letty and you can also find her at One Woman’s Day.

Denise Roessle

Denise

If memory serves, Denise and I first connected when I was privileged to read and review  her memoir, Second-Chance Mother: A Memoir of Adoption, Loss, and Reunion for Story Circle Book Reviews in 2011. She subsequently agreed to do a guest post here and our mutual interest in adoption issues and life writing resulted is us staying connected over the years. I was honoured to present with her on a panel discussion about The Healing Power of Writing Our Truths at the 2013 American Adoption Congress conference (along with adoption educator Judy M. Miller).

{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

Karen June 2, 2014 at 6:20 am

I really enjoyed this, Linda. It’s always interesting to me to hear about how other writers work. (I’m still stumble over the word ‘writer’ when describing myself:/) Looking forward to reading some of the other posts!

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Linda Hoye June 2, 2014 at 7:49 am

Thanks for stopping by, Karen. It took me a long time to call myself a writer too. Eventually I realized that a writer is simply someone who writes and that’s what I was doing. You’ll claim the moniker for yourself when the time is right for you, I expect.

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barbara techel June 2, 2014 at 10:55 am

Karen,
I completely understand your stumbling over calling yourself a writer. It took me a long time too. I think so often we get hung up on that we are not a writer if we aren’t “published.” At least that was the case for me, and even after that, I still stumbled now and then. But now I know that no matter what, I’m a writer. I also like to look at myself as a creative, which can encompass many facets. You ARE a writer. :)

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barbara techel June 2, 2014 at 10:58 am

Linda, I appreciated your answers. Especially your writing process and how you are finding your ways now that you are in retirement. I like that you are giving yourself the time and space to find what calls to you. When I left the corporate world, it took me some time to find my way, too. Now I can say that I finally trust that I know I will come to my writing — especially if working on a book or my blog — but what time of that day that happens, it is not always the same.
I’m looking forward to answering these questions on my blog next week. Thank you again for asking me to be a part of this.

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Linda Hoye June 2, 2014 at 4:12 pm

I’m finding that for me there needs to be a gradual settling in and I’m embracing the pace. I think it may have something to do with the season too–these late spring/early summer days are so enticing! Looking forward to reading about your process next week, Barbara.

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Kathleen Pooler June 2, 2014 at 12:44 pm

Linda, it’s so interesting to hear of your writing process. I had no idea you were working on a novel. That seems to be trending among memoirists these days! I also enjoyed being introduced to Letty and Denise as well getting to know my dear friend Barbara even more. So true, Barbara that the time of day varies when writing gets done.
I love your description of your “retirement” non-routine, Linda It made me chuckle and recall my own journey through the maze of unscheduled days. Giving yourself a grace period sounds like a great plan. Thanks so much for participating in the tour and for highlighting Barbara, Letty and Denise. Thank you also for your generous mention and link. Happy writing everyone!

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Linda Hoye June 2, 2014 at 4:18 pm

I haven’t said much about my new work in progress, Kathy. Here, today, is really the first time I’ve put it out there in fact. I’ve been very interested in reading about the journeys of others who have gone from memoir to fiction. As you know in memoir we employ literary techniques that are not dissimilar to those used by fiction writers. That said, I’m finding the genre to be a distinct animal and I’m enjoying the new journey. Thank you for inviting me to participate in the tour!

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D.G. Kaye June 4, 2014 at 8:23 am

Nice to find your blog Linda. As I am a nonfiction memoir writer it’s nice to find fellow writers on such topics. I will be sure to check out Kathy Pooler’s blog. :)

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D.G. Kaye June 4, 2014 at 8:24 am

P.S. Kathy’s links here are broken :(

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Linda Hoye June 4, 2014 at 8:30 am

Thanks so much for stopping by, Debbie. So nice to connect with another writer—and a fellow-Canadian at that! I’ll let Kathy know about the links right now!

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Kathleen Pooler June 4, 2014 at 8:52 am

Dear Debbie and Linda, it looks like my server is down at the moment. I will call my tech support and get back to you. Sorry for the inconvenience!

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