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 “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.
I’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.
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).