A couple of weeks ago my friend Chels Knorr invited me to participate in a Writing Process Blog Tour and I said yes before I knew what it entailed. Write about my writing process? That’ll be quick, I quipped: “Fall in love. Break up. Write like a madwoman. Repeat.” I’m glad I didn’t let myself get away with that snarky answer and actually thought deeply about the questions–I even learned somethings about myself in the process.
So without further ado, welcome to the inner workings of my writing mind:
1. What am I working on?
These are good questions because they force me to answer myself. Like, what am I working on? I work on so many things simultaneously it gets confusing, but I’m dedicating most of my time to a particular project—on a good day I’ll call it a novel; on a bad day I’ll insist short story. It’s still in that fun stage where it’s deciding what it wants to be. All I know for sure is that it’s fiction loosely inspired by non-fiction, and that it is both a love and a hate story. But mostly love.
2. How does my work differ from others in its genre?
I will say that my real creative work (as opposed to writing I do for the dollar bills) is not “pop.” Largely it isn’t easily marketable in today’s mainstream industry; it isn’t formulaic. It isn’t avant garde either. It sits uncomfortably somewhere in-between. Many times it’s been suggested that I “should just write a best selling romance novel and make a bunch of money and then focus on writing how you write. Your writing is incredible but might not sell to the masses.” So, I’m like, “fuck the masses.” These people have a point… just not a point I care about at all. I really am just interested in being authentic. Good work always finds its way eventually—authenticity does; so my motto is focus on good work and let the rest happen as it will.
3. Why do I write what I do?
Love has been the thesis to my writing always. I don’t know why but it’s the only topic I’ve cared to explore; probably because it is largely unknowable in its entirety and always will be. And by love I mean both the messy, tragic human love we spend our time trying to blanket ourselves in and big, spiritual Love that blankets us all without effort. I’m captured by how romantic love can be used as a segue as well as a detour to spiritual Love. I’m captured by the heart as a transcendentalist. I write what I do because, to be totally truthful and perhaps cliché, I have no choice. It’s spiritual for me.
4. How does my writing process work?
I wish my answer could be as simple as “I write in the morning, but only after I do 10 minutes of silent meditation and have my first cup of coffee in my hand”—which is true, but not the whole story. My writing “process” is actually a lifestyle, and a grueling one at that—it requires major discipline if I plan to succeed. I am not one of those modern-awesome-chic writers who have four children, a job, a bustling social circle and still have time to write their best-selling novel AND keep an active blog (damn them!). I’m not so lucky. My creative process is brutal and, therefore, sacrificial. To be “on,” I require so much alone time, discipline and self-maintenance. It’s very monk-ish. It often appears selfish. I make a difficult lover, ironically. That’s my secret.