I love brunch. Everything about the combination of breakfast and lunch just feels so right to me. But besides the meal, there is another brunch I love – the It’s Just Brunch Blog. The awesome creators of this writing website are three of my graduate school peers I really admire. All three were recently tagged by Sonya Huber, a nonfiction extraordinaire, to complete the Writing Process blog tour. Zac then tagged me to be the next stop, and if Zac tells you to do something, you just do it.
What are you working on?
I’m working on writing essays. Not a collection of essays, but just one essay at a time (though I’m working on many of them).
For so long after I graduated, I stressed about publishing a collection or a memoir. I knew my thesis wasn’t ready to send to an agent or editor, but I was honestly just tired of working on it, so I stopped. Do you know what happened at that point? I didn’t write anything – at all.
It’s very easy to be a writer who doesn’t write. Have you ever tried it? You do a lot of thinking about writing. You do a lot of looking at blank pages. You do a lot of thinking about things you could write (if you were to write which you obviously aren’t doing). It’s even easier to not write when you’re the editor of a literary journal. You’re involved in writing. You’re curating a journal! You’re editing the work of other writers! This must mean it’s okay to not be writing, right? Wrong. It means you dry up (and by “you” of course I mean me). You won’t know where or how or when to start again. You’ll feel hopeless – like a failure. Until you try again, and you must always try again. It’s hard to wake the muse up, but once she has risen you’ll develop a rhythm again. This is all to say: I’m going easy on myself. Instead of all the pressure, I’m just focusing on enjoying the process of writing, and man, I like it this way so much more.
How does your work differ from others of its genre?
I’m not sure it completely differs from the rest of the genre, but something I do well is writing an honest, self-deprecating narrator.
Why do you write what you do?
I’m not sure. I write stories that I feel are important to me. I think it is important to understand your perspective when writing. When I started graduate school, my perspective was much different than it is now. I was single then. I worked two jobs seven days a week, easily working almost 70 hours a week, spending little time with my friends and family. I was trying to absorb as much as I could of my schoolwork. Now, I’m a stepmom, a wife, an editor. My views have changed over time. Can I write now about how I felt when I was 24? Of course I can. But I think there is something important about writing in the present. Writing about what is real to you in the moment has some power. I’m trying to harness what is real to me now – in the moment – and see if it is publishable. If it isn’t, I keep it in a folder for a while, and maybe it will be worthy in the future…maybe not.
How does your writing process work?
I wish I could say I have a consistent process right now. My writing consists of jotting down notes or memories when they come to me. Once an idea emerges, I spend some time crafting the story. What am I trying to do in this story? Who is my audience? Why is this story important? Is it important? As much as I wish it were different, I live by the “shitty first draft.”
Man, I have written some bad stuff, but I just can’t stop. This usually means I overwrite. I write so much junk, and I’m stuck cutting a lot of what I’ve written. I hate that. Tossing words seems so wrong. much of what I’ve written isn’t working, which I understand. A lot of writing essays is just playing with the words. Once you find the combination that works is when the story is complete.
Now I tag: Allie Marini Batts