Why Do I Write What I Do?
Since starting this blog in October 2009, I’ve made over 250 posts, totaling over 140,000 words. And that doesn’t even include all the writing for my memoir or anything else. Clearly, writing is important to me, but why do I write what I do?
That’s one of the questions I’ll be answering as part of the Writing Blog Hop, which Allison invited me to do in her own post on her blog Eclectic Alli.
1. What am I working on/writing?
Currently my main project is my memoir about my experience with food and weight: gaining weight as a teen and young adult; losing 130 pounds by changing my relationship to food and my body; and maintaining that relationship and weight since 2003. But I do a lot of other side writing as well. I keep a journal (came in very handy for the memoir), post weekly to a blog, have blogs posted on the Am I Hungry?®Mindful Eating website, write reflections for lay-led services at my church, and write poetry, prose, and fantasy and sci-fi stories when inspired.
2. How does my work/writing differ from others of its genre?
I’ve read a number of other weight-related memoirs, and mine differs in two primary ways.
One, as much as possible, I’ve written it as a story. I do have excerpts from my journal, but I also have lots of scenes and dialogue to make it more of a narrative flow. My hope for this is to make it accessible and interesting to a young adult audience, as well as older readers.
Two, I’ve covered the whole span of my weight experience, not just the process of losing weight with occasional references to being heavy. I have not read anything else that put any focus on the “after” or maintaining phase, but it’s something I consider critically important. Life, after all, does not turn into “happily ever after” simply because of numbers on a scale.
3. Why do I write what I do?
For the memoir, quite simply I wrote the book I wish I’d been able to read as an overweight teen. I felt so alone and rejected at the time, and I would have loved to know that others struggled with food and weight as I did, that it did not mean I was broken in some way.
And in general, I’d say of my writing that I use it as a way to connect with others and learn more about myself. Plus, if I didn’t write, I’d be miserable.
4. How does my writing process work?
With most things, I start off with a draft written by hand, because my mind works differently with pen and paper than sitting in front of a keyboard. Occasionally I’ll do blog posts just on the computer, but it’s not often.
Sometimes I get lucky and what I first write flows so smoothly that it doesn’t take long to polish. More often, it’s just a brain-dump of everything even remotely connected to what I want to say.
Then I take a break from it before going back and pulling it into a more cohesive form. Once I have the essence of the piece together, I sit down to edit and polish, which almost always involves reading it aloud.
A little about Allison, who tagged me for this:
Allison Gammons is finding her way on the meandering, twisting path of life, constantly surprised by what’s around the next bend. Working to embrace and face the challenges inherent with following your dreams, she is writing the journey. Allison is a writer and dreamer, historian and theologian, academic and fantasy-world-creator, genealogist and gluten-free baker, crafter and reader, poet and life-long learner, who is constantly questioning.
In turn, I’m tagging two others.
Mainstream author Roger Pepper withdrew from a successful career in science to follow his lifelong ambition of becoming a novelist. His memoir, My Father The Viking, won 3rd Prize in the 2006 Linda Joy Myers Memoir Competition of the National League of American Pen Women, a competition open to published and unpublished works. He received an Honorable Mention for an earlier version of the first 50 pages of the The Brothers Cro-Magnon from a contest run by the Speculative Literature Foundation. Roger is a member of the Maine Writers and Publishers Alliance and the New Hampshire Writers Project. He is a co-organizer of the Portland Writers Group (350 members), and the host of their monthly evening writing workshops. He now writes full time and lives in Maine. For more information, visit rogerpepper.com or check out his blog.
Edmund Davis-Quinn keeps a blog about his ramblings. When it was most successful, he blogged every day and had daily themes. Writing gets better as you make it a practice and do it more often.