Kristina Cerise, a fellow blogger who writes at Defining Motherhood, asked me to participate in a “Blog Hop.” This is a sort of chain blog post that explores different bloggers’ motivations for writing and keeps the ball rolling by asking each writer to pass on the request to others. It’s also a fun exercise for us writers, who often work so hard on writing posts that we don’t stop to think about why we love it so much. These are my thoughts.
1. Why do I write what I do?
I write about the things I care about – family, parenting, food, reading good books, CrossFit, zero waste lifestyle, travel, and feminism, to name a few. These are subjects that occupy my thoughts, that entertain and intrigue me, that create strong emotions within me.
I write about these and other things because I can’t not write. I’ve written obsessively from the time I was 11 years old and my grandmother gave me my first diary for Christmas. Since then, I’ve filled countless journals and notebooks with my thoughts. I channeled that energy into blogging, and now into professional reporting, and yet writing is still something I wake up every morning with a desire to do. It’s an integral part of who I am that cannot be resisted or denied.
2. How is my writing different from others in my genre?
When I started blogging in January 2012, one piece of advice that I read on WordPress was to find a niche, or one particular subject, and stick with that. Blogs that were too broad tended not to be as successful, according to WordPress. Ironically, I think that my blog has been successful precisely because of its broad range of subjects.
While all my posts are connected by the overarching theme of being a stay-at-home mom living in rural Ontario, the posts are varied enough to hold the interest of many different readers. Whether it’s baking artisanal bread one day or doing a crazy CrossFit WOD the next (almost an oxymoron if you know anything about CrossFit’s anti-bread Paleo culture!), you never know what my next topic will be.
(Or, as a dear friend put it to me last week, “We’re always wondering what crazy s*#t you’re going to come up with next!” I took that as a big compliment.)
3. What am I working on/writing?
I write daily for TreeHugger, which keeps me on my toes. I have to come up with a post every day that relates to green living, sustainability, local food, health/fitness, eco-friendly products, etc. While there are days when I feel completely devoid of creative ideas, I absolutely love the challenge of having deadlines and accountability to an editor. This job has also resulted in the combination of two great loves — writing and travel — which is a pretty sweet deal.
I dream of having the time to write books someday, but now is not the time for that. I’m very happy to be in the present, raising my little boys at home and earning money doing what I love most.
4. How does my writing process work?
I work best in the early hours of the morning. Getting out of bed never ceases to be torturous, but once I’m up, I love it. The alarm goes off at 5:25 a.m. I stagger downstairs to make my cup of green tea, then I sit down at the computer.
There’s not much time to wake up lazily and slowly, so I quickly consult my list of ideas for TreeHugger, as well as my saved links to interesting online articles, and get to work as fast as I can. I can finish a post within an hour; then I upload it, format it, and save it for proofreading and editing later in the day. By then it’s 7 a.m. and chaos has awoken along with the two little hooligans.
I work fast out of necessity. Time is so precious that I can’t afford to waste it. When I can’t figure out the right wording, or if an opening paragraph is being particularly stubborn, I usually take a deep breath and try to imagine myself talking to Jason, my mom, or my sister: “How would I explain this to them, in ordinary language?” As soon as I pretend I’m talking to someone I’m comfortable with, then the words start to flow again.
Now, I’ve been rather disconnected from the personal blogging world for the past months, so I didn’t do a great job at recruiting fellow blog hoppers. These are the 2 lovely people I approached, who I thought would write lovely, thoughtful articles on this topic:
Elizabeth Johnson, a.k.a. my mother and painter extraordinaire
She has a great blog, and is a fantastic writer when she manages to tear herself away from canvases and oil paints to actually get a post done.
Kris Andrew, a.k.a. great friend, fantasy writer, super mama, and new convert to CrossFit (!)
Kris was my inspiration to start writing in the first place, when I found out that there was a fellow mom in this small town who actually blogged!
Do check out Defining Motherhood’s blog hop contribution, too, as it’s a lovely post — along with everything else she writes!