Writing Gestation

I stumbled across this blog tour via Betty Duffy at Patheos, and thought it was a set of very interesting questions. My writing process is something that’s been on my mind lately, and while I’m not really big enough to get tagged in these sorts of things, I thought I’d horn in and answer the questions anyway.

1. What are you working on?
I’m composing a couple different queso recipes, which probably isn’t what the question had in mind. But I’m certainly writing them, and when they’re done they will go up over at my cooking blog Experimental Cookery.

Here, I’m currently in transition with my essay on the care and feeding of geeks, and there’s a surprise essay on the relationship between women and beauty that’s starting to give me pains.

In private, I’m struggling to resume my habit of daily journaling.

In my head, I’m working on too many things to count. Everything that comes out as text has been floating around as internal dialogue, sometimes for years. It’s very crowded and disorganized in here. There are a dozen draft posts in my email, and I just deleted at least that many that I wrote myself out on to no end.

2. What makes your work different from others’ work in the same genre?
…This is such an odd question. No one else is me, and I think that’s sufficient to differentiate my writing from anyone else’s. MaybeI feel this way because I’m a blogger, and the whole point of blogging is to lay out your own thoughts and reflections and typos for the world to see.

3. Why do you write what you do?
Because I need to. Which sounds stupid, but is the truth. And I’m not good at doing those things I need to do or am supposed to do. So I blog, in spite of a general terror of people actually reading what I write, to keep me honest.

I need to write, because if I don’t, things just stay in my head. I can’t get them to stop their internal dialogue until I write them. If I don’t write, it gets noisy here in my head and I have trouble focusing on other, not writing related, important areas. My inner life is rich, but a little dysfunctional.

4. How does your writing process work?
Like pregnancy. Some things catch me by surprise. Other drafts are stillborn, in spite of everything I do to nurture them. They can take what feels like an incredible amount of time to gestate. And getting them out of my head is brutally painful.

I’ve talked a little about my actual physical process, which is posting to my blog via email. This has been a great advantage to my writing for several reasons.

First, it makes editing much easier. I do significant editing on everything I write, mostly because I’m bad at it. I go back over things anything that gets up at least twice. Lots of things get deleted because they’re dumb, or even if they aren’t dumb still don’t work. This is very easy to do in an email.

Also, Gmail automatically saves my drafts a couple seconds after I stop typing. So rarely loose much, and I can always look at my Drafts count to see how much I’m working on at present.

Second, there is something about writing email, that lessens my anxiety about people reading me. Email is personal, and I’m technically emailing myself here. There aren’t too many people that know me better than me. It’s all very comfortable and reassuring, which helps loosen up the words.

Another advantage is that email lessens my CDO over formatting and blog design. If I’m writing in a special blogging editor, I fret about getting the formatting just right. Even the WYSIWYG editors never seem to get it right, and this drives me up the wall. Emailing in a post both means I don’t fret over formatting while I’m trying to write, and is ironically the most reliable WYSIWYG editor I’ve used.

It also keeps me out of my WordPress dashboard and away from the temptation to fiddle with my blog design. I am not especially happy with it right now, but that isn’t important on the writing end. Posting by email keeps the writing part separated from the design part.

Well, that’s it for my writing process. Having invaded this blog tour, I’m not really comfortable tagging anyone.

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