“Christine’s a writer.”
That’s how my friend introduced me and I couldn’t help but cringe a little when I heard those words. It felt like it was play pretend, like when I used to play pretend I was a doctor or a boutique store owner when I was a kid. It didn’t feel real.
Writing has always been a way for me to make sense of my emotions, thoughts and the world around me. Up until a few years ago, I’ve scribbled in a journal almost every day since Junior High. Sometimes I go back and read through them but mostly, it’s a cathartic release of whatever was in my head and my heart at the moment that needed to come out. Who knew that from that beginning that my love of writing would continue to grow.
I am honored that my friend Tricia asked me asked me to join the Writing Process Blog Tour. I’ve loved getting a sneak peak into the writing process of so many writer whom I admire. It almost feels like you’re pulling back the curtain on the Wizard of Oz and you see how the magic happens, how those beautiful words make their way on to the page.
So here’s a bit about my writing process…
What am I working on?
Typically, I’m working on any or all of the following four things.
1. Freelance articles
Earlier this year, I committed to pursuing freelance writing as part of my career. Usually, I’m working on 3-5 different articles at one time. Since I often feel like a perpetual student, I love digging deep for these articles and learning about the topics I’m writing about.
2. Blog posts
Forever blog posts either for this blog or guest posts for friends.
3. Consulting work
I still do some work as a freelance consultant, mostly for nonprofit clients and mostly development work. I write a lot of grant proposals and reports.
4. Pitches and essays
This is always ongoing and definitely one area that I don’t get to spend as much time as I would like. You have to continue to generate pitches (and send them out) if you hope to get work as a freelance writer (Remember “be a writer not a waiter“?) so I try to craft as many quality pitches as I can. I also love writing personal essays but again, I don’t get to spend as much time writing these. I think that it’s mostly because these require the most reflection on my part (and willingness to see that reflection). Sometimes these essays get pitched. Sometimes they end up on the blog.
How does my work differ from others of its genre?
I say that I share stories about life, family and fitness on my blog but I’ve never felt that I quite fit into the niche of healthy living blogger. I don’t share the details of my workouts or food. I don’t share a lot of “how to” or more service-oriented fitness posts, although I’ve started to a bit with my Ask a Yogini series.
I like to share my journey – the stories and the lessons that I’ve learned through these experiences. I’m stealing some words from my friend Ari, who kindly described my blog and writing in this way:
“She talks about fitness and family, but more importantly she shared her journey, and her inner thoughts in a way that makes you feel like you are growing right along with her. She puts that voice in your head that reminds you how powerful self reflection is.”
Why do I write what I do?
I write mainly for self-reflection. It allows me to capture both special moments as well as daily life. But more important for me, it offers a chance to reflect on situations and to understand why I acted or reacted in a certain way and what I can take from that situation.
I write about fitness because right now, that’s where I learn the most about myself and about life. It’s where the lessons come through the clearest to me, while I’m standing in the ocean staring out at the waves or in the middle of yoga practice or a run.
I treasure the opportunity to share my story as a way to life up others. I share the challenges that I encounter, my successes and setbacks as well as how I choose to handle these situations in a real and honest way. It helps me feel connected to others, knowing that they have gone through something similar or struggle with similar challenges, and it gives me strength.
How does my writing process work?
I think that this is the reason why I’m so enamored with this Writing Process blog tour – because I don’t think that I have a writing process, and I often don’t feel like a writer and maybe if I read about other people’s writing process, I can glean a few insights here and there about how to become a writer. Does that make sense?
Ideas will come to me randomly and never if I’m actually trying to generate ideas. I have ideas scribbled all over the place – a small notebook, post-its and notepads around the house, random emails to myself, notes on my phone. I try to organize all those ideas in Evernote but I don’t do it often enough.
Idea and story generation are often the hardest for me. I probably spend most of my time trying to come up with good ideas, researching them and then constructing pitches. I really don’t like the pitching process but know that it’s a necessary part of the game…I mean job.
I write in my head a lot. I’ll turn an idea over and over in my mind until I find just the write angle and lede into the article or blog post and until I figure out what the point of the story is that I want to share. I do try to have a point with my writing rather than blabbing on and on. That’s what my journal is for.
I mind-write when I run or in the shower. Oddly enough, I find that I mind-write the best when I’m riding the subway. I put together sentences and structure so that when I sit down to write, about half of the work is already done. I don’t like writing quickly and then editing a lot. I like to have a good first draft, which is a lot to ask for but I do.
For blog posts, I almost always write my posts the night before I post them, usually after the boys have gone to sleep. Even if I know beforehand what I want to write about (I swear I do have an editorial calendar). I don’t know if it’s because I need a little fire under my ass to get me to write. It’s a terrible habit and doesn’t leave much room for editing.
For articles, once I get approval from my editor, I dive right in to research the topic and schedule interviews. I often need to have all the information gathered before I will start piecing the article together. I know what the article structure will be but I like having the details that each piece of research or each interview brings to determine how to weave together the story. And then I edit and edit. Put it away and then edit again.
I’d love to hear about your writing process so considered yourself invited to participate in this tour. Why do you write what you do?
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