A big thank you to Irene Waters in Australia who has kindly invited me to take part in a “Writing Process Blog Hop” – This particular hop aims to get writers to share some of their thoughts and ways of working around their writing. There are a few basic rules:
1. Introduce and link back to the person who nominated you.
I think I met Irene through the LinkedIn group of the Memoir Writer’s Society. Irene is the antithesis of me in her prolific output – I’m sure I’ve been ‘sent her’ at times to help me with my perfectionist procrastination!
She blogs virtually daily on everything from poetry to pictures and manages to participate in a whole host of regular writing challenges including Bite Size Memoir.
Irene believes that reflection is an essential part of life and in doing this she has written many short stories and poetry. She doesn’t baulk at the unusual which is shown in her varied background. It was her time on the island of Tanna in Vanuatu which motivated her to write her soon to be published first memoir Nightmare in Paradise where she brings alive her experiences and reflections.
She has had short stories published in the anthology “Eavesdropping” by the River Writers and also in Idiom 23 Vol 23 November 2013. She is currently undertaking a Research Masters at Central Queensland University examining sequel memoirs whilst currently writing her second memoir After the Nightmare.
Blogging for a short nine months Irene’s writing reflects her life, her thoughts and opinions and her humour as she takes us around the globe and into her world. She lives on the Sunshine Coast of Queensland Australia with her husband and German Shepherd Dog Zac and the new addition – a cocker spaniel Bundy. You can connect with Irene on: Twitter and LinkedIn or visit her blog: Reflections and Nightmares
2.) Name three writers who will continue this Blog Hop and notify them.
Anne Goodwin loves fiction for the freedom to contradict herself and has been scribbling stories ever since she could hold a pencil. During her career as an NHS clinical psychologist her focus was on helping other people tell their neglected stories to themselves. She now has over fifty short stories published both online and in print and two novels awaiting adoption by loving homes. Anne often juggles her sentences while walking in the Peak District, only to lose them battling the slugs in her vegetable plot.
As a break from finding her own words, she is an avid reader and barely-competent soprano in a mixed-voice choir. The ongoing tension between her real-life and fictional sides is played out on her website, annethology, on her blog, annecdotal, and via tweets at @annecdotist.
I am a writer and performer of personal and historical narratives, as well as folk tales and myths, that reflect the texture and complexity of family and community life, the blessings and betrayals to be found therein. The tension between intimacy and autonomy is a key theme in my work. I strive to give my audience, reading or listening, an awareness of beauty in the moment, a vision of justice, and inspiration to act effectively and compassionately in the world. I currently make my living as a grant writer, telling the organizational stories of two Minneapolis nonprofits. I have two amazing adult children.
My blog began because I needed a web page and professional presence for my first solo Minnesota Fringe Festival performance, The Sins of the Mothers, in 2011. For about two years it was a miscellany of personal reflections on the art and craft of storytelling, reviews of performances, thoughts on the writing life, and written versions of stories I have performed. In 2014, I made a promise to myself, as part of my own creative practice, to post once a week. So far so good.
Rachel Bown, mum to 2 teenagers Joe and Lois and currently in remission for the second time from stage 4 bowel cancer.
Author of The C List, a recently published memoir by Watkins on surviving bowel cancer.
And somehow fitting in a full time job as Marketing Director of a software and information company. Talks too fast, eats too fast but trying still to take one day at a time!
3.) Answer these four questions about your writing:
1. What are you working on?
I’m working on my cancer memoir and trying to contain it to the one story. After some recent advice from an experienced editor and author, I’m going through a tricky and unrewarding process of editing a theme back out of it to ‘un-complicate’ it before she has another read!
I also work on my blog, hosting Bite Size Memoir and making time to post other short pieces about writing and life as well as read and join in a couple of the many interesting discussions and writing activities others host.
2. How does your work differ from others in this genre
I’m not the first survivor of a terminal cancer diagnosis to write up their story but all memoir by nature is personal and unique. What may be different is my desire to show how it really was so I might manage to communicate what I hope most of my readers will never experience.
However, for those readers in a similar predicament, I want to show that an ordinary person – with warts and all – can sometimes achieve the extraordinary – I won’t pretend either that I’ve found THE answer, as some books of this genre do – I do think there are answers but they’re complicated. I discuss some of my ideas but the overall message is loud and clear: doing something – ANYTHING – is better than nothing.
3. Why do you write what you do?
I’ve nearly answered that above but I’ve come to understand that purpose is what makes life worth living but you have to have hope to have purpose in a terminal situation. I’m writing my book to pass on hope. It took me a while to find her, but she was in Pandora’s box after all.
My blog writing started out to avoid feeling lonely and keep some close supporters, who aren’t necessarily physically close, up to speed with what was happening. It’s evolved beyond that now, into ways of expressing myself and exploring ideas with others. People can dip in and out of the bits that might interest them – or not, but I’m ‘over’ worrying about pleasing everyone at once – it’s just a magazine not a literary examination !
4. How does your writing process work?
Emotionally. Like everything in my life – it’s often about sensing what’s coming and feeling it before seeing, hearing or experiencing it with any other sense or thought! The challenge is finding the right words to put the reader there too.
I write notes in the middle of the night, dictate ideas as I drive along – only to lose them all for a time, repeat myself and go round in circles.
To this end, I’m having some success with Scrivener – capturing thoughts and memories like Dumbledore and his pensieve – and able to organise them later when the patterns begin to emerge.
Once I’ve got something typed, I’m usually pretty happy with it because the above oscillations mean there quite a bit of unconscious editing already gone on.
Oh and as I elude to frequently, I’m constantly distracted from the job in hand – maybe because of the organisational issues, but also I know, from a love of novelty! Sometimes the twitter chat and comments here, are more immediately rewarding (a bit like eating a slice of cake instead of focusing on fitting into that dress for the ball I’m going to on Friday..) Consequently I sometimes go days without getting a word into the main task. This leads to guilt and flurries of activity and new resolutions to be more structured and disciplined!Thank you once again, Irene. I’ve both enjoyed and learned something from answering these questions. I hope you all enjoy the bloggers’ work that I have shared in this hop. I look forward to learning a bit more about their writing processes.