May 26, 2014
An update on Hopping through the blogosphere… As I mentioned previously, I am grateful to Catherine Mayo madammayo.blogspot.com for inviting me to a Blog Hop, a sort of chain letter in blog form. This week I’m happy to have you hop on over to Kristin Battista-Frazee’s blog. Kristin and I worked together many moons ago at the National Mental Health Association (now Mental Health America). She is an author, marketing professional, social worker, and currently a marketing consultant at 2U, Inc. Kristin has an amazing story to tell in her forthcoming memoir, The Pornographer’s Daughter. You won’t want to miss what she writes about it in her post this week: www.kristinbattistafrazee.com/blog.
The blog hop asks us to answer four questions—provocative ones for a writer and probably for others as well:
1. What am I working on (think about that metaphorically)?
My day job is writing grants, proposals and other deliverables for nonprofit organizations. I love to write poems, essays, short stories, and blog posts, but they don’t pay the rent. Neither does my other Big Love—travel. I’m smack in the middle of marrying my twin loves of writing and travel, with the goal of eventually supporting myself as a travel writer. Last summer, I invested in the Ultimate Travel Writer’s Workshop, sponsored by American Writers and Artists, International (AWAI), which provided a detailed roadmap for my dream.
So, in between paid gigs with clients, I am beginning a travel memoir of sorts. Right now, I’m focused on content, not yet sure if this will be an ebook or a series of blog posts. My material comes from the journals I keep when I travel, from which I write posts for my blog, Literary Mileage.
I am a single woman, well north of 60 years of age. Right now, I’m preparing to spend this summer investigating the Spanish-speaking countries of Central America as a part time retirement option. I’m starting with a four-week Spanish immersion class in Tulum, Mexico in June.
This idea of retiring to another country is a shove into the unknown. Because of that, I’ve been encouraged by friends to document my experiences—what decisions I make, how I make them, how I research locations ahead of time, what barriers pop up, how I deal with the unexpected, the frustration of trying to make my way in a non-English speaking country, and the probable loneliness. All the things that can make a person’s stomach churn.
2. How does my work differ from others of its genre?
I think the distinguishing feature is that, after 20 years of writing, I’ve developed my own voice and view of the world. That alone will set it apart from others in the same genre. I also think I have a story that other Baby Boomer women will want to read about and possibly learn from.
3. Why do I write what I do?
I write because I love the written word. And, putting ideas on paper helps me think. If I’m totally honest, I also write to leave a legacy beyond that of my children and grandchildren. Maybe what I’m doing will inspire others to take risks, especially women.
4. How does your writing process work?
My writing process is not pretty (and neither is my decision-making process, come to think of it). It is a ZigZag maneuver. I may be out walking or reading and something sparks an idea. I write that down—it may become a title or theme of a blog post or poem. I let it simmer for awhile on a subconscious level, which I believe is operating 24/7. Some ideas never amount to anything; others start to germinate.
When I’ve exhausted all my procrastination strategies (doing laundry, answering email, getting a snack, filing my nails, getting the mail, vacuuming), I start writing. I focus on getting down that shi**y first draft, as Anne Lamott describes it. I then ‘sleep’ on it, literally–I print it up and put it aside until the next day when I do a first revision. I repeat that step as needed until I decide it is finished, or I become sick of looking at it, which is generally a sign that I’m having trouble letting go. Also, for nearly 20 years, I’ve belonged to a writing group and somewhere in the revision process, they will critique it for me. After incorporating their feedback, it’s usually ready for prime time.
This ZigZag procedure gets truncated when I have a grant deadline because I’m working with other people. The zigs and zags are also influenced by the other projects I have going, like helping a friend edit her personal story for her adult children or writing an article for my church newsletter.
Sometimes, I have an idea that sends me meandering down an intriguing side track. Like just now…I’m on board a bumpy plane ride to Washington, DC and just went to use the restroom, thinking that if the plane is going to crash, I at least want an empty bladder. Surely there’s a poem or a title in that…
(By the way, I did three revisions to produce this piece!)
Remember to check out Kristin’s blog: www.kristinbattistafrazee.com/blog/.