I have a blog crush. Okay, I have like fifteen of them, but one of them is Stephanie Jankowski from When Crazy Meets Exhaustion. If you read blogs at work, her page may be blocked, thanks to the “sex” in her url. WhencrazymeetSEXaustion.com. See?
Don’t get all excited that I’m sharing a new sex site with you, though. Steph is a mother and a teacher, a lover of words and a humorist. Her blog is full of good clean fun, and if she touches on naughtier stuff, it’s still pretty safe for work.
Do I know how to introduce someone, or what?
Steph is one of my most trusted blogging friends, and I’ve sought her counsel numerous times, because she’s a smarty and because she’s got mad editing skillz. I could really use a full-time editor, but since Steph has a job, and just recently birthed her third child, she doesn’t have time to edit my stuff for free. I save those favors for anthology submissions, and pay her in Facebook likes. Facebook likes she would have received anyway, since she gives me a serious case of the LOLs.
My favorite thing she’s written is Breakfast Burritos Make Me Sick and I Hate Guys That Wear Abercrombie & Fitch. Oh man, college relationships are so dumb.
Steph tagged me in this fun blog tour, where some of my friends are talking about their writing process, and today is my turn! I’m excited about this, because (SPOILER) I love talking about myself. All bloggers are a little egocentric. Also, no one has ever asked me about my writing process. The questions I get about blogging are usually more like, “Oh, do you make any money doing that?”
Why do I write?
Since I was a pony-tailed, four-year-old in mismatched stripes, I have loved writing out my thoughts. My first opinion piece was written on my parents’ nightstand in permanent marker, a scathing “I hat Brian.” I felt powerful, declaring my feelings for my brother in a way that could never be erased, and while my “hat” for him was fleeting, the memory of writing it will be with me forever, like the scar on my upper lip from falling on my grandmother’s fireplace.
My courage was not without reward. I got a good spanking, and a look of disappointment (and dare I say pride?) from my parents. That situation was also a good lesson in the permanence of the written word. Once it’s out there, it’s no longer mine. Also, you may get your ass kicked for writing something others don’t agree with. I try to be mindful of that when I’m writing, and to weigh the pros and cons of being brave in my opinions, but conscientious of how my writing will be perceived by loved ones. That’s one reason why I never publish anything while angry. I’ll write in anger, but rarely does it see the light of day.
I write to entertain, to share a bit about myself, and as a way to bring people together. The comments section of a post I wrote about big families is a great example of that. So many people from big families, sharing memories of their rowdy relatives, makes me happy. I also like eliciting an emotional response from people. I want you to laugh at my funny stuff, and cry at my heartfelt posts.
Sometimes I’ll write a post to brag about a cool craft or recipe we made. I’ll be all, “Dayum! This is going to look amazing on Pinterest!”
What does my writing process look like?
That depends. If I’m writing a Crock Pot Thursday post, most of my time is spent on the images. With a smaller word count, you would think these would be my easiest posts, but they are really my most time consuming. I get dinner out of the deal though, so it’s cool.
All of my other posts are first written in one of the many spiral notebooks I have floating around. Some are in my bag, some in my office, and some are in the car, but all of them, without exception have drawings from my kids in them. The collective works together look like the scribbles and ramblings of a crazy person. And maybe they are.
I then type my post out, editing as I go. Often, I don’t title a piece until it’s done, because often an idea takes a completely different turn somewhere around the third paragraph, and my finished product rarely resembles the original idea. Truly, that is one of my favorite parts about creating a post: the wonderful surprise of how it turns out. Many times, I’m able to work through some personal stuff when I’m furiously scribbling an idea onto paper, which is very cathartic.
If the post I’m working on is sponsored, I spend some time researching the company and the topic, ensuring I tell my story while including the agreed upon topic points. I treat every published post with professionalism, but sponsored posts get extra attention, as it’s important to me to honor my commitments, and meet or exceed the client’s expectations.
After almost every post I write, I remember I need a pinnable image to go along with it. Most of my images for essay type posts are an afterthought.
What makes me different?
I’m not different.
There are countless other bloggers sharing their words with the world. Many of us are mothers, many of us share anecdotal stories, crafts, and recipes. There was a point, about six months into blogging, where this fact terrified me. How could I build an audience when there are so many writers doing the same thing? How could I find a fresh topic to discuss when we are all talking about the same stuff?
But then I thought about my favorite writers. With very few exceptions, my favorite wordsmiths aren’t my favorites because they are talking about unique topics. They are my favorites because of their voice. They share experiences in a way that draws me to them, and makes me want to read their words.
The two bloggers who preceded me in this blog hop both discussed their voice when asked this same question. This tells me two things; the first being that voice is hugely important when it comes to writing. It is the singular thing that sets us apart from the sea of other people sharing their written word. And Jenn and Steph are right. Their voice is what makes them special, and it’s what makes me want to read everything they write.
I hope people feel the same way about me.
What am I working on?
I have just contracted with a client on a sponsored post and review, so I’m in the early stages of planning that post, I’m editing the photos for this week’s Crock Pot Thursday post, which is one of those full of flavor, full of calorie recipes we love, and I have a birthday coming up, so I’m kicking around ideas for a post about turning 37. I know, right?! You totally thought I was 26, and are in shock right now, aren’t you? You guys?
I write for my local newspaper, so I’m working on an article for my Friday deadline, and I’m trying to come up with something fun to do with the kids that I can write about for the following week. Most of my newspaper columns are about local mom/kid stuff (zoo, Science Center, library programs, etc.)
I just got back from BlogU, and one of the people I was most excited to meet was Carisa Miller. I totally dig Carisa’s humor, and I can feel her cool, Portland vibe from all the way across the country. Since I lived in Portland for 8 (or was it 9?) years, I knew I would have the chance to meet her in person someday, but I expected it to be years from now, when I’m able to drag our family back to the Pacific Northwest for good. The fact that she flew across the country to attend BlogU was such a fun surprise, and I was thrilled to get to squish her adorable face in person. Computer images don’t squish properly.
Carisa is clever, and her humor can be biting, which I love. She gardens and crafts, and DIYs like a mofo. When she’s not spinning words, raising kids, and making jam from the berries in her yard, she’s directing the Portland, OR Listen to Your Mother show. Kind of a big deal, right?
While you wait for next Monday, when Carisa will take us through her writing process, you can check out her latest post about camping with kids. You know I dig camping, and Carisa’s take on camping with kids just makes me love her more.
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