Going Meta: Writing About My Writing Process

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My Writing ProcessI’ve always enjoyed watching visual artists produce their craft. There’s something fascinating about watching a painter paint or a sculptor sculpt.

Not so much with writing.

“Look at that, she typed a sentence! Check out how she keeps hitting ‘delete’ over and over again!”

But while the physical action doesn’t seem that exciting, the mental process can be really interesting. That’s why I’ve enjoyed following the recent “blog hop” going around the blogosphere in which writers write about their writing.

The amazing Jennifer Barbour from About Jennifer recently posted about her inner workings and then invited me to join in. So here goes!

Also, I’m tagging Wendy from New Moms Talk and Abby from Fearfully Made Mom. We’d love to read about your writing processes! 

Why do I write what I do?

I generally engage in three different types of writing, and I do each for different reasons.

Grant writing

Grant writing is my bread and butter. I stumbled upon it in graduate school (I have a master’s degree in Women’s Studies) as a way to combine my love of writing with my desire to work in the nonprofit sector. I’ve written tons of grant proposals—to federal government agencies, state departments, corporate foundations, and family trusts.

Why do I do it? For the money, of course! Not for my own wallet, but for the nonprofit’s budget. The grant dollars I’ve secured have always been for worthy projects aimed at making people’s lives and communities better.

Magazine Writing

I’ve recently started writing for some regional magazines, and I love it. I enjoy the more conversational tone I can use (which is the total opposite of grant writing) and the variety of subjects I can explore.

I also really like conducting interviews; we writers can risk isolating ourselves, so getting out there with my notepad and recorder, journalist-style, is really invigorating. Overall I find magazine-style writing to be refreshing—the perfect middle ground between professional and casual.

Blogging

While this blog is relatively new, I’m not new to blogging. For several years I wrote a blog called Health for the Whole Self, in which I explored healthy living from a comprehensive standpoint—body, mind, and spirit. I also wrote a lot about my struggles with body image and disordered eating, and published an e-book of concrete strategies for overcoming emotional eating.

While the subjects of my two blogs may be different, my two-fold motivation for writing them is the same: I get to write about whatever suits my fancy, and I get to form relationships with those reading my words.

That, my friends, is what makes blogging cooler than any other writing platform out there.

How does my work differ from others in its genre?

For this question I’ll focus on my blog writing. I think Pick Any Two is different from other blogs because it has a good mix of practical content (like when I wrote about the best advice I received for baby’s first year) and stream-of-consciousness personal musings (like my open letter to laziness).

There are lots of blogging experts out there who say you should only have one or the other, and maybe they’re right. But for me, I prefer the blend. I like that I can write about a new research study on healthy eating one day, and reflect on the combination of faith and motherhood the next.

How does my writing process work?

Like most writers, I get ideas all the time, in all locations. To keep them straight, I have a running list of ideas on my Evernote app, divided into categories like parenting, healthy living, and self-improvement. You can often find me dashing out of the shower or stopping mid-jog to open up the app and type an idea.

After that stage, though, I am a planner—in life and in writing.

I usually don’t just sit down and see what comes to me; I plan out my points, my lists, my paragraphs. Because of that, I’m actually a really fast writer. Since most of the legwork is done in the planning stages, by the time I’m actually writing I already know exactly what I’m going to say, and my fingers just fly across the keyboard.

I’m also a very kinesthetic writer. By that I mean that I think and write best while in motion—maybe not my whole body but at least some part of me. This might seem odd, but I tend to doodle whenever I’m stuck or need a mental recharge between paragraphs. I almost always write with a notepad and pen beside me for scribbling.

What am I working on?

Grant Writing

At the moment I’m working on three projects: a state grant to support a summer tutoring program for underserved youth; a foundation proposal to support my local Girls on the Run program; and general research on grant opportunities to help survivors of sexual abuse. It’s a whirlwind, in the best way!

Magazine Writing

I recently finished up two articles for regional publications on the subjects of backyard entertaining and master bathroom upgrades, and I’m currently writing an article on common foot and leg problems for women (think heel pain and spider veins). I’m also hoping to pitch some regional parenting magazines soon!

Blogging

At this point my blogging goal is simply to keep writing interesting content and build up my readership. I recently applied to join the BlogHer Publishing Network and was turned down (which, I won’t lie, was a major disappointment, as I worked with them successfully on my previous blog). So I’m also on the lookout for other advertising possibilities. I’ve heard Adproval is a good connection tool, but I’m open to suggestions!

When/where do you get your best writing ideas? Anyone else a “kinesthetic writer” like I am? 

 image via leocub on freeimages