As in THE Jen to me, Jen Fitz. Or, as I know her, Crit Partner. That person who loves me enough to not only redlines my work, but calls me out on my style, makes me really use my actual voice, and asks me just where the heck I’ve been hiding and why in the world I don’t have a book project.
OK, I made the last thing up. She hasn’t asked me that outright. In fact, I haven’t talked to her much in the last six months.
Because that whole “I’m a writer thing”? It feels…crazy, phony, unbelievable. I feel very much like a hack. And no, it’s not that I doubt my ability to write. It’s not that I’m insecure, because I know I’m okay at what I do.
It’s more that defining myself as a writer feels somehow untrue, like it’s a past-tense or a future-tense thing, not a current-tense thing.
1. WHAT ARE YOU WORKING ON?
And this might be why I’m struggling with this whole “I’m a writer” thing and what it means in my life right now.
The answer that comes to mind first: Not a book.
Which means there’s hope for my sanity? Maybe. (I still live with a three-year-old boy, so I have my doubts.)
In actuality, I’m working on a couple of articles of various stripes, a few reviews, and some interviews.
Which feels like a whole lotta nothin’ next to a book, to be honest. I have friends who write books. I have written a few books.
But I also sorta prefer reading books to writing them. Then again, that might just be a season, like where I am in my mothering.
2. WHAT MAKES YOUR WORK DIFFERENT FROM OTHERS’ WORK IN THE SAME GENRE?
Uhhhhhhh…I use less syllables? I prefer hashtags as a mode of communication? I have horse manure on my favorite boots?
I could make a marketing pitch, but here, in my little sandbox, I’m not going to. I’ve been told I keep it real. I know I have a bullshitometer and that it goes off sometimes. Loudly.
But what makes what I write different? I dunno. Honestly. People like it. Or they don’t. And apparently that’s different. Or the same. Or not.
(No, I didn’t answer that question at all. Just didn’t want you to think I tricked myself on that.)
3. WHY DO YOU WRITE WHAT YOU DO?
In the beginning, because I felt like I had to. Like I was supposed to.
It’s still partly because of that, but also because I’m paying bills.
And? It’s fun. And easy/hard in all the right ways.
4. HOW DOES YOUR WRITING PROCESS WORK?
In all things, equal parts coffee-prayer, loose routine, and thinking-writing-rewriting.
For a book, there’s a process that involves a lot of planning and outlining and making-of-lists, which is a way of procrastinating and avoiding the Work of Actually Writing.
For anything that’s not a book, the process is rolled into hours and involves less documents and lists.
I used to think my best writing time was early in the day, but as it turns out, I write best when I just buckle down and just do it. Having enough sleep seems to help me work better, and accepting that words on a page
My process changes as my life changes, and my life changes as my family changes, and my family changes…daily? Hourly? By the minute? Through the school year is a different deal than summer, and this summer is going to look very different than last summer.
I guess that, as a writer, I’m learning to be more flexible, and part of that is in letting my writing life mesh into the cracks and openings and closets of the rest of my life. Does that make me integrated? Or just constantly distracted? Depends on the day. 🙂
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You know who I want to hear about here? Lisa Hendey. I’ve had a glimpse of her writing process and seen some inside baseball on it, and I so respect the work she does. That means she’s tagged. Ha!
And, for fun, also my good friend and blogging godmother Julie Davis, who does not consider herself a writer but who is. Oh, is she.
And if you, dear reader, are a writer who wants to share, consider yourself tagged by acclamation and be sure to leave me a link in the combox so I can mosey on over and check out YOUR process! 🙂