Writing for you, but really, writing for me

A few weeks ago I saw this writing meme on SoMi Speaks and Kristin’s blog and while it has taken me longer to get this completed than is fashionable when responding to a meme, I liked it enough to persevere anyway.

1. What am I writing or working on?

A few weeks ago I finished an enormous manual for my 8-5 job, it was full of technical information, timelines, sample communications, images, and media releases. I’ve had some good feedback and some constructive critique and am ready to tackle the 2.0 version, to be released in the fall.

On a personal level, recent events in my world and the world at large have prompted me to think about some very difficult questions and have demanded some answers. I don’t know if there has been another time in my life where I so desperately needed clarity. Beginning with the kidnapped young women in Nigeria, the subsequent #yesallwomen explosion and aftermath, and –most recently–a threat of excommunication of a Mormon feminist for her public work to advance equality within the LDS faith (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints). My heart both hurts and is simultaneously seething with anger. I know that women are not the only underrepresented group, but for a world with a population that is probably more than half female, we surely have a lot of unnecessary obstacles and difficulties and not a proportionate amount of heartache and lack of control.

I am trying to organize my thoughts on these events, and also on feminism in general. It’s not hard for me to write about, I find every topic I explore launches me into 3 or 4 more topics to address. I’ve opened Pandora’s box and the memories and hurts and issues escaping from it demand my attention. I am both energized and overwhelmed. ANd–more than ever–I am grateful for this space where, when they are fermented enough, I can share my thoughts and opinions without the fear that used to loom over every post. I have written nearly 100 pages on my “coming out” as a feminist and the experiences that catalyzed that realization. So, when I have something a little more formed and formatted, you can expect a series on Why I Am A Feminist.

2. How does my work differ from others of it’s genre?

I don’t really know how (or if) my writing differs from others “in it’s genre.” Honestly, I don’t know if I could put myself into any categorical genre. I suppose I write more non-fiction than fiction or creative writing; more edited than not (and only sometimes with spelling or grammar mistakes); I am more word-focused than image-focused (except when I post image-heavy photologues…ahem); more opinions and rantyness than DIY or crafts; more original content than reviews of products. I am not a Mommy blogger, not really a lifestyle blogger, not a fashion blogger, not a food blogger (at least, not here), and I don’t really travel enough to be considered a travel blogger. I’m just a girl with a notebook and a lot of opinions…is that a genre?

3. Why do I write?

Why? I write because I need to get words and thoughts and ideas out of my head and onto a page. I write because it helps me process and is the winding path from a jumbled mess of thoughts to something cohesive–from chaos to concrete opinion. I write because when I don’t my thoughts stop tumbling, begin to crust, and stagnate into a murky pool, suffocating themselves into oblivion. I write because it somehow makes me feel more alive.

4. How does my writing process work?

Part of me wishes I was some kind of uber-sophisticate with a tiny, shiny tablet-laptop that generated silent keystrokes who could sit on the train or in a hip coffee shop with bluesy music in my tiny earbuds, generating blog posts, paragraph after paragraph of perfectly edited prose.

Um, I’m not that person.

I write–in pen–furiously in a college-ruled 1-subject notebook because anything else seems overwhelming. I fill pages with thoughts and scribbles–crossing out entire paragraphs and writing new ones in teeny letters in the margins. I used to be able to open a new blog post and fill it with 1,000 words of…well, to be honest, mostly drivel. I am finding I like the ache in my hand from writing–I like being able to express some of my emotion in my handwriting: neat, well-formed letters for something I am almost certain of; larger ones when I’m forming the thoughts as I write; super slanty jagged ones when I’m angry, abbreviated words and a lot of them missing the last few letters when I am trying to write fast enough to keep up with my brain.

I don’t worry about “messing up” a page, or about anyone else reading what I write, and I no longer worry about composing the perfect blog post that could maybe go viral and make me famous/in-famous for a minute. I just write. Anything I want to publish here I transfer from my notebook to a blog post. I don’t know if that is a “process”…but that’s how it works for me.

What about you? How do you write? Where? Are you a genre-compliant writer? Or are you all over the map?



Harriet sig

0 thoughts on “Writing for you, but really, writing for me

  1. Nic

    I used to have a blog. I would write about whatever came to mind, and I tended to ramble quite a bit. It’s funny when I go back and read some of those entries how juvenile and poorly-written they seem to be, especially when I thought some of them were really good at the time.

    I realized about a year into it that I tended to write too much. One of my blog posts was over 3,500 words, and I had several that broke the 2,000 word barrier. I found after some experimenting that if I kept them to a bite-sized 500 or so words, I got more comments and readers.

    Problem is, it’s SO not in my nature to contain myself when I write. I really struggled to keep posts to around 500 words, and I found that I’d have to really limited my thoughts to keep them concise. I didn’t like that. The good part of that was it made me a better writer in the sense that once I gave myself a limit, it forced me to think it through more. I think the quality of the writing got a little better towards the end.

    I like to write fiction too, although I haven’t published anything recently. I have at least 3 novels bouncing around in my head at any given time. I know how they start, and I know how they end, but I’m not too sure about the middle. I also have a short “novelette” that I started in 2010, intending for it to be a short story, that I never finished. The first few chapters are done, and the final few chapters are done, but it’s missing most of the creamy filling that really needs to be there in the middle. (I guess I have a problem with that.) Anyway, this story is about a little girl and a dog, and it’s something that just came to me one night and started pouring out into the keyboard like magic. It’s almost like I couldn’t think fast enough. (I LOVE it when that happens.) It’s a type of story that I would never think to write, and frankly, I don’t know where it came from. Stories about little girls and their dogs is not really my forte, but sometimes when inspiration strikes, you gotta go with it, you know? I really REALLY want to finish it though, because (if I may say so) it’s actually really good. What I’ve written of it, anyway.

    I lack the focus and discipline to write nowadays. I need to find my muse again.

    1. Nic

      That comment was 434 words and I didn’t even answer your questions or really get into a point. I could have written 1,000 more easily. See? Brevity is just not my thing.


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