On My Writing Process

Well, they got me. My friend Kate and her crew from It’s Just Brunch have tagged me to share a bit of insight about my writing process. I’ve been asked this a few times by other friends, so I’m electing to/complying with the demand to pull back the curtain on how I do this.

Here we go.

1) What are you working on?

At any given point, it’s rarely one thing. Up until fairly recently, writing in this space has been top priority for me. But now that I’m lucky enough to have other outlets that are nice/brave enough to allow me to share my work there, I adjust my focus to what I’m doing for them. The Niche Movement hosts a series called “See What Sticks,” where I share life and career advice that I pull from books and essays that I’m reading. They’re embarking on publishing a book as we speak, and I’m so excited to be a part of that project, even in a largely supportive role. TPM Cafe is another assignment I’ve recently gotten, and it allows me to talk about political impact on current events, which allows me to indulge in nerdy analysis of some of my favorite elements of pop culture. I’m loving the perspective that I get to share with them. And recently, I wrote a piece for Forever Twentysomethings, something I hope to do more of. At any point, something is swirling around in my brain- the decision is, where will it land?

2) How does your work differ from others of its genre?

The thing that I love most about what and how I get to write now, is that the genre can change. The focus of this blog has changed multiple times since I first started it. It went from being a place to document my firsts, to a place to share analysis of student affairs work, to putting comedic writing and performance in context with life, to whatever else I want it to be on any given day. So I guess it differs in that it literally differs- you could find nearly anything here, depending on my mood.

3) Why do you write what you do?

I am what my friend and occasional collaborator Courtney calls an “idea blender.” Most of what I write is the direct result of seeing, reading, or learning something, and completing the phrase “Well, that reminds me of…” It’s that thought process that leads me to connect Mike Birbiglia’s comedy to educational research about deep learning, to address heckling as a way to handle criticism in work meetings, or even (one of my personal favorites) examine the feminism inherent in how Drunk History is constructed.

4) How does your writing process work?

I couldn’t really answer this question eloquently, until I read Austin Kleon. In his books, he talks about how he divorces his actual work from the screen. He writes, draws, and doodles on a desk that doesn’t have a computer, but his final product generally ends up there. And while sometimes I write on a computer, many of my outlines, doodles, and word association starts in one of roughly…five notebooks in my possession. Any purse or bag I carry has a book and a notebook in it. Those pages hold the seeds of what eventually becomes much of what I write. Some days it’s organized outlines, other days I create elaborate word clouds or mind maps. I like to commit things to the screen, save them as drafts, and then return to them later. If I still like them, I hit publish the day after.

 

That’s literally all she wrote today! I’d like to tag my friends Sue Caulfield, Courtney O’ Connell, Josie Ahlquist, and Marci Walton to reveal some of the magic behind what they’re working on and how 🙂 Thanks for the tag, Kate!

 

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