Monday, April 21, 2014

My Writing Process (a blog tour!)

I'm excited to share about my writing process today! I was tagged in a blog tour and, as I reviewed the questions, I thought they would be good for me answer and also fun for readers to get a glimpse into my head as I plan and write posts.  

I was tagged by fellow Air Force wife, Jessica of Jessica Lynn Writes.  I have been reading Jessica's blog for several years now (since before either of us had children!).  When I started reading her blog, they were stationed in Italy, which is one of the places we would love to be stationed some day.  Jessica's blog is one of my favorites and I read every post she writes!

The ladies I am tagging in this tour are fellow members of the Redbud Writers Guild, which I joined a few months ago and have found to be the most gracious and helpful group.  Julie Holly blogs at Peacequility and this post describes exactly how I felt when I first joined the Redbuds, although she says it much better than I did.

Jamie Rohrbaugh is not only a writer, but also a pianist who recently released a CD and you can listen to samples here.  I love The Weight of Glory, which is number seven.

I am moved by the writing and honesty of Melody Harrison Hanson.  Here's a line from one of my favorite posts:  "I am learning about boundaries, mostly that I am terrible with them. I do for others until I resent the doing ending up with no time to write or think or pray or sit with the Holy One."  You really should read her whole post though.

And now (finally!) to the questions!

(This picture wasn't posed and wasn't even taken with this post in mind, but I wanted to mention that on the left is a book written by another Redbud, Leslie Leyland Fields.)

What am I working on as a writer?
Consistency and Balance!  I struggle putting ample time into my blog when I'm also doing freelance articles.  I work painstakingly on the articles getting it just right and I'm glad that I do - I usually end up being very pleased with them so it is worth the effort.  However, I don't have the same attitude with my blog.  I don't agonize if I can't get a sentence just right.  I am not sure how to treat my blog writing as seriously as my freelance writing without getting bogged down.  
Also, I am working on taking myself more seriously.  I still haven't had the courage to call myself a writer aloud (other than to my husband!).  And I feel torn between wanting more time to write and (on frustrating days when I'm tired) just wanting to put my feet up and veg out to Netflix when my son naps.
How does my work differ from others of its genre?
I am not quite sure how to answer this one, but here's my attempt: I differ because I write broadly.  I don't fit into just one category. One day I write about military life, and the next about Christianity.  Then it will be a book review, a recipe, or a post about feminism.  I don't consider myself a mommy blogger (although I am a mama) or a lifestyle blogger (because I don't really write about everyday life) or a religion blogger (because I write many posts that don't contain a religious aspect).
Why do I write what I do?
Often I write to inform or help someone else.  My most popular post is a guide for PCSing, and I'm glad that people have found it helpful.  I'm also considering writing more on my erythromelalgia, not because I'm terribly interested in sharing more about it, but because there isn't a lot of information available about this syndrome - most doctors haven't even heard of it!  My few blog posts on the topic have generated a lot of traffic, which means people are looking for help dealing with the pain.  If I can help someone, I want to do it.
Other times I write to understand and to figure myself out.  My thoughts develop as I go through the writing process just as they used to when I journaled.
And, finally, I write to declare.  To be brave.  I write because there are things that I want to say, but I don't know how to say them aloud.  I'm always afraid that when someone meets me after reading my blog, they'll be disappointed by the real me.  I'm not particularly eloquent in person.... 
How does my writing process look?
On my phone I keep a list of ideas for blog posts.  That way wherever I am I can hurry and write it down before I forget.  Right now I have about 15-20 ideas on the list, which seems to be pretty standard.
I try to use the weekends to plan the posts for the upcoming week.  In the picture above you can see my calendar hanging behind my computer.  That's where I keep track of blog posts, guest posts and proposals.  It gives me a good visual of how many times I've posted and what type of posts they have been. 
Usually I try to have at least two posts written on the weekend so they're ready to go.  The night before they go up, I review them quickly.  Then I spend Monday and Tuesday working on posts for the last few days of the week.  I should clarify that this is my *goal*.  It doesn't always happen this way and sometimes (like last week) I end up scrambling to post something at the last minute or publishing something I just wrote.  I prefer to have posts written ahead of time so that they can sit for a few days before I review them and post them.
When I'm writing an article, I start by outlining what I think it will look like and then start filling in.  It usually ends up very different from the original. :)  The writing itself is not usually too difficult, but the editing is painstaking.  I review it countless times.  I read it aloud to myself.  I make other people read it for me.  It is a long process that I actually adore.  All my finicking and fussing is rewarded when I am able to find the right word or get the paragraph just-so.  

Tell me about your writing process?  Do you have any tips for me?


  1. Loved reading about your process. I know what you mean about reviewing a piece over and over and over again, but not doing so with blog posts. I wish I would put more thought and time into some of them.

  2. It's hard to have excellent blog posts ready several days a week AND work on other projects (and do full time childcare for my son!). If something has to give, it usually ends up being blog posts, which I end up regretting.

  3. I'd love to hear how you balance being a work-at-home mom!

  4. Oh boy! I honestly don't think I do a good job of it most days... I actually picked up a few tips from you when you wrote about it a few months ago. Right now we have no extra help for H so I write while he sleeps, while my husband watches him (he pushes the stroller on runs a lot), or while he is kept busy. I have a whole slew of toddler activities to help with that, but I try to only do busy-work while he's up (emails, etc) p.s. I know awhile back you were looking at childcare options for J. Did you check into any mothers day out programs? That's what we're thinking about for H this fall!

  5. I LOVED reading about your process! I'm at the beginning of piecing things together, an arduous process while homeschooling and helping with our business. Super fun to see how you organize yourself for success! Thanks so much for sharing how you do what you do!

  6. Callie, I'm so glad you linked to this--it's great to read about the process of other writers. Although, I have to say--you're way ahead of me as far as scheduling posts! :) I also give a lot of time to my freelance work, and I also feel the desire to take some time off from writing and just "veg," as you say--but then I always want more time to write! :) Thanks for sharing. I am looking forward to getting to know you more as a fellow Redbud writer!

  7. I'm sure that you have a much harder time finding time to write than I do considering you homeschool and has a business! Since good writing comes from solitude, it make it more difficult to have children at home AND write.

  8. Ann! I'm so glad you are joined the Redbuds (and want to apologize for taking so long to respond to this comment!). And, like you, I'm always wishing I had more veg time and wishing I had more writing time! Can't wait to hear more from you and stay updated on your writing!


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