My Writing Process Blog Tour

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Above: my tribute to the World Cup.

Thank you, Monica Comas, for inviting me to participate in the My Writing Process Blog Tour. She’s a super writer and I’m a huge fan of her blog, so I’m delighted to be a part of the tour. Please visit Monica at www.monica-comas.com.

When I started thinking about how to approach the subject of this blog, my mind turned to soccer. My family became big soccer fans while we were living in Switzerland and we’ve been watching the World Cup from Brazil as much as we can. I don’t always follow a rigorous process in my writing (rigorous is far from the right adjective to use in my case), but, as someone who wasn’t that involved in organized sports in school, I see that there is much to apply from sports to the writing life. Soccer players practice and practice and practice. No matter how good they are, they are always trying to get better, to come up with new moves to keep the ball away from their opponent, to steal the ball, to score. For a long time I didn’t understand how much work I needed to put into writing to make it good. No amount is enough, really; at some point you just have to call it done. But then you start again, and practice, and get better.

What am I working on?

At the moment I’m in between projects, which means I’m trying to decide what to write next. The good news is that I’ve always come up with an idea for a new novel before I’ve finished revising the current one. My challenge this time around is that in addition to my new idea I have three partially-started novels that I could work on instead. So the question is, do I go with:

(1) the shiny new idea, for which I have only a few plot points mapped out, about a woman who goes to Europe to figure out what went wrong with her marriage;

(2) the historical about a peculiar young woman whose mother is trying to marry her off while her father is away;

(3) the contemporary women’s fiction, in which a woman who may be thrown out of her graduate anthropology program comes face to face with her former husband as she’s wondering whether she’ll ever feel settled with her significant other;

(4) or the mystery, where the protagonist is a therapist who has suffered a bad divorce from a famous husband and finds her newest patient murdered in the front hall of his London home?

I’m hoping to decide very soon so I can get some new words on the page.

How does my work differ from others of its genre?

My critique partner has described my writing as “warm and wistful.” I tend to write about people who have suffered a loss and are still suffering, but there is hope at the end of the tunnel.

Why do I write what I do?

The first novel that I wrote as an adult, when I truly was groping in the dark, not knowing what I was doing at all, turned out to be women’s fiction, and even when I wrote a mystery (since I love reading them), I kept delving into the protagonist’s problems more than following the trail of the murder. I guess in a way it comes down to voice: what comes out of you when you’re not trying to do anything in particular with your writing. I write what I write because it is what feels the most natural to me.

How does your writing process work?

I would rather write in the morning after a cup of coffee and yogurt or toast, but since I work full-time that doesn’t happen. Usually I try to get my words in after the kids go to bed. Because I’m not able to do this every night, I also spend a couple of hours at a coffee shop on Saturdays and Sundays. I am a believer in writing 1,000 words a day at least five days a week. This is the only way I get to the end. Because I tend not to outline before writing, I do suffer from some weeks during my writing process when I come to a full stop while I decide what comes next. Something always does.

If you have any thoughts about which novel I should work on next, I would love to hear your thoughts! Otherwise I may end up flipping a coin. :)

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