Tag. You’re it!
Remember that? Well, that old game came back to me last week when Kathy Pooler of Memoir Writer’s Journey tagged me in her post of May 29 and essentially said, “you’re it.” She said it to two others too (Linda Hoye and Sarah Freeman) so I’m in good company.
I’m tickled to participate in this online Writer’s Process Blog Tour. To do so, I answer three questions, then tag a few more. You know how the game works.
Can I tag Kathy back again? That was always my strategy as a kid. Nah, guess not.
Here goes. Three questions:
What am I working on?
For the last seven years, that would have been a relatively easy question to answer. “I’m writing a memoir of our two years living in Kazakhstan,” I’d say, with one exception –while my first draft was out at an editor’s — when I’d have answered, “I’m writing a children’s book called Grandma Goes to Kazakhstan.” Then I’d quickly have added, “I hope to follow it up with others like, ‘Grandma goes to Tahiti.’”
Alas. This question is a bit more difficult to answer today.
I’m doing three things. No four.
1. I’m at the final edit phase for At Home on the Kazakh Steppe.
2. I’m editing my husband’s novel Kmedjzik, one of five he wrote while we were in Kazakhstan. It’s a light little espionage story geared to the folks who’ll remember Helen Hayes and Humphrey Bogart. That’s who should play them when the movie gets made. (I know; I know)
3. I’m writing my weekly blog posts, commenting on other blogs I follow, and attending to the various other social media sites that bring me closer to potential readers and other writers in the same boat I’m in. I learn much from my social media involvement and I’m glad.
4. I’m also stewing on (in the slow-cooker-yummy, that-smells-good meaning of the word; not the agitated-mess, I’ve-lost-my-serenity meaning of it) where I go from here.
That means that as I’m planting my oregano and thyme for this year’s kitchen garden, I’m remembering a “shimmering image” (Thank you Lisa Dale Norton) — memory — of earlier plantings I’ve done, metaphorically anyhow, and thinking just how to get them down on the page.
Four projects I’m working on now.
Why do I write what I do?
I wrote At Home on the Kazakh Steppe for many reasons. First, writing it down was a way for me to understand the experience better. It was life altering and I needed, even after I’d come home again, to better understand my reasons for going.
Writing the book also gave me a chance to fulfill the third of The Peace Corps‘ three goals: to share the culture of my site with the people of my own country.
I think my writing style follows my public speaking style, which was a long time in coming.
I learned to speak in public by speaking at 12-Step meetings and in stuttering support groups, telling my story over and over, speaking from my heart. That’s also how I like to write: telling my story, from my heart. And there are many stories in there.
How does my writing process work?
I have no idea. That’s the short answer. I always have a 9×6 journal and pen with me.
For most of the seven years I’ve been working on At Home … Kazakh Steppe, I wrote at least four hours each day, in front of my computer (first a Gateway, then a Toshiba, now a Mac). Sometimes those four hours would extend into the evening. ONCE, they lasted into the wee hours of the morning. Writer’s block has never been a problem for me.
But today, with my manuscript off to Ant Press, my publisher (and a heartfelt nod to its owner Victoria Twead who also runs one of my favorite FB groups, We Love Memoirs), my “process” is a bit less structured.
Getting this story out into the universe is priority number one and that sometimes entails dropping whatever else I may have going on and, for example, driving down to my cover designer’s home — about an hour away — to look at some final ideas; or, revisiting a particular scene that one of my beta readers is confused by; or choosing a different photo for page 97 because the one for page 73 doesn’t fit so well.
That sort of thing.
In the classic dichotomy between pantser and plotter, I am surely a pantser. I much prefer to sit down (pants on the seat) and just write: see what comes out. But then I must plot a bit, reorganize, readjust, re-emphasize … rewrite. That takes more thought and more time. But it is just as important as the first phase, that hemorrhaging of words onto the page.
Get them out there, write them down; I can always fix it later.
I should have that one needle pointed, to hang over my desk.
Speaking of a desk, here’s a picture of where I work.
Now, the really fun part. I get to tag the next round of players, the next batch of unsuspecting bloggers.
I tried the members of an online forum I’m on (We took an online workshop together nearly 18 months ago with Kristin Lamb, who was kind enough to leave the site up for our continued use and knick-named it Hotel California: we’ve all checked in, but none of us can check out). But I was too late. The active bloggers in that group had all posted their Writer’s Process Blog Tour contributions. Here are a few of the links, if you are so inclined:
But, as I said, these are in the past. It’s time to look to the future.
Here are my three, selected through a painstakingly cumbersome process to assure integrity and transparency (i.e., I met them through social media and I want to know them better. Plus, the clincher: they all said yes).
I do hope you’ll check out their blogs. And stay tuned. They’ll be paying it forward before long.
Tottie Limejuice blogs from France
Susan Joyce blogs from Uraguay
Kelly Boyer Sagert blogs from Ohio
Tag; you’re it!
Next week I’ve scheduled a new Deleted Scene posting. And the following Wednesday, our guest will be Linda Austin.
See you then.