Do you ever go to read a blog post – which should take just a few minutes – and then find yourself, an hour later, still reading because you’ve clicked through to all sorts of other interesting things? I’m afraid this might be one of those days, as I’m about to point you in the direction of a blog on writing and motherhood by my lifelong friend, Morgan Nichols.
When I say lifelong, I really mean it – our mothers met at pre-natal classes, so we’ve literally been hanging out since we were in the womb. Morgan is the person I credit with making me a writer; as kids we would invent stories about a faraway place called Ladybird Land, spend hours poring over a book of baby names and thinking up characters, and we even started our first novel together when we were 10.
Moragn, who is a creative writer and a poet, asked me to join a blog tour about the writing process. Once you’ve had a look at my musings below, I hope you’ll also head over to her blog and check it out. She’s currently writing a book called ‘Wild Motherhood: Keeping the Creative and Spirit Fires Burning’, which I’m sure is going to be a big hit.
Anyway, here are my thoughts on writing…
1) What am I working on?
Well, as soon as this blog post is done, I’ll begin writing a feature about journalists and mental health for a national magazine. It’s a subject close to my heart and one I’ve written about from a personal perspective before. I’ve already done a lot of research and several interviews, so I’m at that wonderful, slightly scary stage of laying out all the puzzle pieces and starting to see the shape and form of what the finished article will be.
2) How does my work differ from others of its genre?
I tend not to think all that much about other people’s work, especially when I’m writing. Although it’s essential to read as much as possible and to learn from both the good and the bad, I find that if I do too much of a comparison – for example, to decide whether or not my writing is unique – I just get bogged down in self-doubt and my work suffers. Instead, my goal is simply to do the best I can do.
3) Why do I write what I do?
Until I was 22-years-old, I was convinced that I was going to be a novelist. Then, in my final year at university, I discovered feature journalism and fell in love. Although the fiction continued for another decade or so, I’ve always found it patchy in terms of results – sometimes the muse (for want of a better concept) is there, and sometimes she’s not. I feel much more comfortable with non-fiction, and with the variety that comes from being a journalist.
4) How does your writing process work?
Although it depends on what I’m working on, in general there are two stages to my process – the gathering, and the creating. Gathering involves research and interviewing and can take several weeks. The creating stage rarely takes more than a day, and often much less. Once I have found the ‘thread’ that holds a feature together - the vague order in which the ideas will flow and keep the reader’s interest from start to finish - I begin to string together those facts and quotes I’ve amassed, adding in my own words to fill in the gaps and smooth over any rough edges. Once I’ve finished the first draft I give it an hour or two before reading through and making any amends.
Do it now: Want to get involved in this blog tour? Drop me a line or leave a comment and I’ll email you with instructions.