Sean seriously made my week when she asked me to participate in the ‘How I Write’ blog hop. I’d seen a few posts here and there, and I’ve enjoyed reading them all (I think that I most resonated with Kristin’s post). There’s something reassuring in knowing that I’m just like other writers but at the same time so very different from other writers.
I wish that I could say that I’ve met Sean in person, but I’d be lying. I think we connected online after Type A? Or maybe it was Twitter, where I seem to be fortunate enough to meet most of the writers and bloggers I most admire (I’m looking at you, Erin Margolin and Rochelle Fritch). As an aside, I’m really terrible at meeting people in person, especially at conferences. I usually get too nervous to say hello even if I recognize someone from their avatar or profile picture, and will totally cop to ditching the parties to take a walk or catch up on much needed sleep. Anyway, I can’t wait to actually meet Sean in real life, and I know for sure I’ll adore her. I already do.
Now, on to the questions:
1. What am I working on?
Where should I start? I’m on the producing/directing team for Listen To Your Mother: Kansas City, so there are blog posts and emails and bios and all sorts of stuff to write as we prep for our May 3 show. Can I shamelessly sell tickets here? I sure hope so, because I want everyone and their mothers, brothers, sisters, aunts, grandmothers and frenemies to come to our show. The cast is SO diverse and the stories SO real, I have to pinch myself every now and then that I am involved in such an amazing experience.
And did I mention I’m reading a piece as well? So I wrote that. Then there are the online dating profiles that I write for a popular online dating site, the magazine articles I write for Lifestyle Publications and the web copy and profiles I write for business clients.
Sometimes I blog, but not nearly as often as I’d like (though this is my second post today…somewhere, pigs have taken flight) and then there are the projects I’ve started but haven’t yet finished: my Single Mom Survives book, my Thank You to the Men Who Did(n’t) Do Me Wrong book and a new blog called Single Mom Travels.
2. How does my writing differ from others of its genre?
Is it ok to say I don’t know? Because I don’t. I’m probably more long-winded than many. I’ve been told that the details sometimes get lost in my narrative. I’ve also been told that people appreciate that I’m transparent and let my writing be raw when I’m feeling raw, or sad when I’m feeling sad. I do my best to let my words stand on their own, for better or worse, without judging where they should go or how they should sound.
3. Why do I write what I do?
Because I have to, mostly. Part of it is functional; I support my three kids with my words. One is getting ready to go to (a new) college, and that’s even more expensive than I imagined.
Part of it is because I owe it to my kids; I got the idea for my Single Mom Survives book when I was on a trip by myself and almost got flattened by a semi that decided to change lanes; after I stopped shaking and pulled back onto the road, I realized that if something had happened to me, there was no partner at home to pick up the pieces. No one who knows my passwords or where my life insurance is. More importantly, I hadn’t documented so many things I want my kids to know later; what I might say to my daughter on her wedding day, if I’m not there. What I’d want my sons to know as they become fathers. The gifts I’d choose for my grand babies’ baptisms and birthdays and Christmases. All of that–and so much more–would be gone if I die without recording any of it.
And part of it is because others have asked me to share what I’ve learned. I bumped into another mom at the grocery store one day, and she told me that I’m the only single mom in the entire school. I know that’s not true, but what she was really saying was that she didn’t know anyone else who talks openly about being a single mom. She was looking for someone who might understand what she was going through at home, and she asked if we could meet sometime to talk. Same with my dating after 40 and divorce memoir; so many women deal with the same things, but think they’re alone. They’re not.
Most importantly, though, I write for myself. I write because I am smarter when I talk with my fingers and because I clear my head through the pounding of a keyboard.
4. How does my writing process work?
I feel like I’m insulting the word ‘process’ by using it here. Truth is, I don’t really have a process. I type as I think. I rarely edit, whether I’m writing a blog post or magazine article. When I ghost author books for clients or write profiles and web copy for a client, I typically start with conversation and interviews, then write a draft that gets set aside for at least a few days. During those few days I refuse to touch it; I work on something else, read a book or catch up on Netflix so that when I come back to it I can see it with fresh eyes. Then I edit and fine tune.
But when I write for myself, I just write. I tell clients to have an editorial calendar but I don’t have one for myself; I tried, but I failed. I find that my blog has to be kind of like my life: sometimes boring, sometimes exciting, almost always unscripted.
So there you go. Probably more than you wanted to know, but not enough to embarrass my dad or my kids.
The hop continues next week with two writers that I admire so. Both are kick ass mamas, ridiculously talented writers and women that I look up to in more ways than one.
Jennifer Ball is also known as The Happy Hausfrau. I first learned about Jenny when I was nominated for Circle of Mom’s Best 25 Single Mom blogs. If I remember correctly, Jenny kicked my ample ass in votes, but I think we both ended up in the top 5. I stalked her for awhile but eventually we connected and I’m so glad we did; she’s funny, wise and as fond of her martinis as I am of my red wine.
I met Dani Stone last year when we were both cast in Listen To Your Mother: Kansas City. We bonded over food; I remember the lobster mac and cheese and that she called me her new ginger bestie, and I felt like I’d just won the ‘cool blogger of the year’ award. I wish there was a word that meant something like ‘the Wonder Woman equivalent in witty’ because I’d use it for Dani; her novelette Next Left made me smile, her status updates make me spit out my coffee and her sweet comments about her oily beau hunk give me hope that men and women really can live on the same planet.
Check their blogs next Monday, April 28, for their answers to the ‘How I Write’ questions.