The following four questions about writing are part of a "blog-hop" that's doing the rounds at the moment. If you've never heard of this term, a blog-hop is like a never-ending relay (if the baton could be divided an infinite number of times). I received the baton from straight-talking fellow Melbournian Annette of I Give You the Verbs. Annette is one of the friendliest, most encouraging, most connected bloggers I've met, and you can read about her own writing process here. Leave Annette a comment because she always responds, and she's wonderfully chatty and supportive across social media.
1. What are you working on right now?
This blog! I'm always trying to improve it because I want it to be more useful, more interesting, and more reliable for you*. Straight after this I'm going to write you a post on an amazing Australian artist, who was kind enough to answer some questions for us about where she finds inspiration (and time) to create. That'll go live tomorrow so stay tuned!
* An e-book - possibly a series of e-books - about Melbourne and parenting and parenting in Melbourne, and stuff like that
* Letters - lots and lots of snail mail letters to you guys. And on the back of that, I'm thinking perhaps I'll form a mail-art pen-pal network, and/or a stationery swap. Would anyone be interested if I did that?
* A novel - it's about a sommelier who does dastardly things to get hold of the ultimate wine. I have been working on this novel FOREVER (or so it seems), because it's hard to get and keep your head inside a novel with little distractions running around the house
* My job! - part time, I write feature articles for magazines, and write copy and communications strategies for companies and charities
Phew that's a lot of writing. No wonder the carpal tunnel has been acting up.
2. How does your writing differ from others in your genre?
One of the great things about personal blogs is that they are free from the constraints of house styles, or any formulaic kinds of writing. So really this question is moot. What you read here differs from others because it is my voice, writing about my life and my ideas and the things that I love and the things that I think (I hope) will bring you joy.
3. Why do you write what you do?
Being born into a literate culture brings with it many advantages. But one of the disadvantages is that many of us have lost the ability to retain things - facts, stories, ideas - without writing them down. I definitely fall into this category. In fact the way I'm not sleeping these days, I'd be in danger of forgetting my own name if it wasn't in my blog title! So I write this blog to document the things that are important. Precious moments, shared with those I love. Places I've visited that I really want to visit again. The process of building a home. At the same time, I keep discovering wonderful things that I want to share with you. Creative projects that I admire (and sometimes try). Food stories. Food trucks! Snail mail! Documenting and discovering. That's why I write this blog.
4. How does your writing process work?
My top tip - as an author, a journalist, a blogger, a copywriter and an all-round storyteller - is to break everything down into manageable portions. If you don't know where to start, just write one paragraph. Then another, and another. When I was at university I'd break a standard 3000 word essay down into portions: 200-300 word introduction, 200 word conclusion. Three key arguments, of 800 words each. Four core elements / points to each argument, of 200 words each. That's not much. Just start writing! Before I knew it I'd have my 3000-word essay written, and all I needed then was to give it a "big picture" finesse. That is still my writing process today, in everything I do. Just break it down and anything - even a novel - becomes achievable.
Another trick that my first editor taught me was this: you don't have to be the expert, you just have to find the expert and ask them the right questions. Whether I'm sharing craft or recipes on this blog, writing a feature story about business, writing a novel about wine or anything else, that advice has come in handy almost every day of my writing life.
Now, what about the other writers?
Passing the baton, I want you to first meet Belgium-based Turkish blogger Gulin Senol-Dreesen. Her blog Hyper Real Details is a beautiful reflection of the fleeting moments that make life so precious. Gulin reached out to me when I had just given birth to Madeleine, and she was pregnant with her own beautiful daughter. She is such a lovely, artistic soul. Sometimes she lets her images tell the story, in others, her words shine (despite English not being her first language - can you imagine how hard that must be?). I can't wait to read what she has to share about why she writes.
Next, I want to introduce you to Katherine Mackenzie-Smith of The Beauty of Life. Katherine is one of those people who acts on her dreams. You know how when the rest of us are sitting around thinking "I wish I had that" or "I wish I did that for a job" or "I wish that was my life"...? When Katherine thinks those things, she makes them happen. Recently Katherine switched careers from TV production to life coaching, and I can't think of anyone more qualified to help people make their own dreams come true. I met her through her personal blog, and have followed her progress with pleasure.
Take it away ladies!
And in the meantime, tell me in the comments. Why do YOU write?
* (On that, is there anything you'd like to see more of on here? Anything you're not so keen on? Anything you'd like to hear from me that I haven't covered?)