Why I write: a blog hop
My lovely, wise friend Sophie tagged me in a blog hop questionnaire this week. I'm invited to answer some questions on writing and why I write what I do.
To be honest, it was timely. Readers of this blog will have noticed I haven't posted a lot recently.
The reasons? (1) I don't think too many people would be that interested in what I've been thinking about in the last few weeks. I mean... "yay, cello practice" or "Chapter 3 of the new novel needs some work" or "my kids still don't eat their vegetables happily." You immediately thought, "oh, I'd love to know more about that", right?
No. Didn't think so.
The deep thoughts and ideas seem to come in patches. One month I'm thinking awesome stuff, the next I'm dithering around.
Reason (2) is this: In the times I have been thinking about things other than my cello, my novel or my children's eating habits, I simply don't have much knowledge or expertise or confidence with which to express an opinion about them. Want me to wax forth on Iraq? The rise of jihadism? Australian federal politics? I'm an amateur, people. Give me a break.
So answering these questions for this blog hop is like having an enforced topic, although I have to think it's pretty ironic that I'm writing about my writing when, clearly, I haven't been doing much writing at all.
They want to know: What am I working on?
Over the last month I've been editing a book about a woman's journey to restore her young son's sight. It was a very enjoyable project and I had a great time getting her story whipped into a really readable shape.
Apart from that, I've just finished the first draft of the sequel to my novel Invisible. It's called Invincible and I'm swinging wildly between thinking, "Wow, I did a really great job" and "Wow, what if everyone thinks this is boring/stupid/rubbish/unsuitable"?
In the last six weeks I wrote between 3000 and 5000 words of the novel a week. It was pretty hard to then back up and be creative on the blog. Actually, it's been hard to be creative with anything else (except the cello, obvs, because that's my new passion) so I haven't been doing any sewing and almost no creative cooking.
How does my work differ to others in my genre?
On this blog, I'd like to be offering two to three observations a week on human behaviour, language and thought. I'd like to be writing about relationships and how they work or don't work. Sometimes it happens. Sometimes it doesn't.
Does this blog even have a genre? Um, I wouldn't know. And, unfortunately, this has been the whole problem with my blog from the word go. I only ever started it (back when I had three children under six) so that I'd have an outlet for expressing thoughts that had nothing to do with children or child-rearing. Sometimes a girl just needs a break.
Since then it's lurched in different random directions. I think though, in the end, it serves as my online journal. The stuff that makes my face light up and my brain work harder is here. Relationships, making things, authenticity, loving God. The sorts of topics I love to have conversations about over a cup of Earl Grey Tea. Maybe the genre is just 'Cecily's brain'. In which case, thankfully, it's top of its genre.
Why do I write what I do?
If I'm writing what I think about, then the question is really, "why do I think what I do?"
Even in my own family, I'm constantly surprised to see how differently other people's brains are. Things that get my brothers going, I find totally boring. (I'm sure it's a mutual feeling by the way.)
I guess I'm wired to think about relationships, I love the way words work together and I have a great need to be both practical and efficient. Mix that, and you end up with this blog. God made me this way. Ask him the question.
How does my writing process work?
I read or hear something that goes 'ping' in my brain. I start to turn it over, sometimes by myself, sometimes in discussion with other people, and then, when it feels like its brewed and beginning to bubble out, I sit down and write. Preferably when there are no children around (which is getting harder and harder as they get older and stay up later and later.)
It's intriguing to see that the actual process of putting the words on the screen clarifies the thoughts and creates the direction of the outcome.
This does mean that in order to get material, I need to read a lot. And I need to give myself space to process it. And then space to actually write it down too. Perhaps the weeks I don't blog a lot are the weeks in which I'm busy with others things (novel writing or book editing) and there's not a lot of space in my brain.