When my new friend, Andrea, invited me to participate in a blog hop about my writing process, how could I turn her down? For those of us who stake claim to Writer’s Block and the Writing Muse and love a good argument with our insides over the “just perfect!” word, this kind of practice is nothing short of nerd-citing. Plus, Andrea is a real-life author – not just writer – whose book comes out in October. Check out her site, and pre-order her words now! But for now, read on to learn more about my own writing process.
What am I working on/writing? I always answer this question in three’s: blog writing, guest posts and articles for submission, and le book. I typically try to provide content for the blog an average of 3x a week, and then a huge part of writing today involves networking with other people who are doing what you’re doing. Smack dab in the center of my desktop, there are always a couple of articles I’m musing over for other websites and blogs, both paid and unpaid. Finally, Mondays are set aside for working on my book, a statement of which is still the Weirdest of Weird to hear my mouth utter or see my fingers type. Tentatively titled A Hundred Times an Hour: A Memoir of Belief and Disbelief, the book follows the year after leaving ministry, when I went through a spiritual and emotional journey of grief and loss and found-discovery again. It includes flashbacks to moments of extreme belief (and disbelief) from childhood in particular, and otherwise, me, myself and I are just beginning the process with agents and publishers and the wide, wide world of book proposals. We’ll see what happens!
How does my writing/work differ from others in its genre? I tend to just scratch the surface in blog-writing, perhaps because the writing is just more fast-paced, and I’m not spending days and weeks (…and even months) on a single sentence. That being said, similarities persist: I’m a storyteller who uses language to help my readers really feel the feels, if you know what I mean. I write in a raw and authentic sort of way, and humor, even if it’s a hard story to tell, is part and parcel of the story my fingers tell. I pull from those who have written before me, adding wit and intelligence to the dialogue – and hopefully at the end of it, my readers are encouraged in knowing that they’re not alone!
Why do I write what I do? …because this is the story I’ve been made to tell, at least right now. I’ve told a few people the story, but when I initially began the book-writing process, I thought I’d write a memoir of change – because, of course, I’ve experienced a whole lot of change in a short amount of time (from single hood to marriage and a baby, leaving a job and moving countless times, just to name a few, in less than three years). But then I got knocked up, again. And I began to experience pregnancy insomnia. And I happened to come across a line from an Emily Dickinson letter, in which she writes, “…I believe and disbelieve a hundred times an hour.” I’d wake up in the middle of the night remembering all these times of belief in my life, and I began to write those memories down, extracting nuggets of remembrance from them. That idea somehow found its way to my own journey in 2013, morphing and melding and joining together with that original theme of change, just in a different sort of way. So I’d say that the Writing Muse paid me a visit, and I heeded her advice.
How does my writing process work? I usually write about 15 – 20 hours a week, although we’ll see what happens in these summertime, pre-baby #2 months. But here’s what I can’t do: I can’t write with my son beside me. It’s like he knows that my attention isn’t on him, so he does everything in his Super Ninja Almost Two Year Old power to let me know that he is much, much more important than the words I’m trying to craft (which, let’s be honest, he is). So we hire a sitter for about 10 hours a week. I also write during nap time, or I write at night, if I’ve got pending deadlines. And I think this is more than okay. The HBH believes in the financial investment, and I believe in the emotional refuel that time away from him gives me. (Of course, the current rhythm is about to be severely disrupted and redefined come late August, so stay posted).
Thanks for reading – and the cool thing is that the writing process baton keeps on twirling! So, keep your eyes peeled for next week’s writers, who’ll be posting on their own websites:
Dorcas Cheng-Tozun has been a nonprofit professional, social justice advocate, expat, and consultant, all before settling on becoming a writer. She particularly enjoys writing essays and blogs about the messiness and beauty of human connections, parenthood, social change, and personal identity. Her personal essays and short stories have been published in Hong Kong, the UK, and the US. She is a regular contributor to Asian American Women on Leadership and serves as the managing editor of Estuaries. Her current projects include a memoir about living in industrial China as a Chinese American and the daily adventure of keeping up with her toddler son, of which she can only focus on one at a time. Follow her at www.chengtozun.com or on Twitter.
Ginger is a military wife, mom to three little boys, bookworm, lover of beauty and Kansas girl. Her Yellow Brick Road has led her through deep valleys of loneliness, betrayal, incredible heart ache, divorce, illness and searching. She has also encountered the glorious paths of motherhood, friendship, rapture, butterflies – oh, the butterflies, promise, hope, healing, new beginnings and a love that she had never imagined possible. You can find her in her little corner of the blogging world – Just One of the Boys, Facebook and Twitter. There really is no place like home.
Well, that’s it, friends. What’s your writing process? What of mine might help you in your own finger-typing journey?