Picture by Alejandro Escamilla
I was rather astounded the other day when Muriel, who blogs at French Yummy Mummy, invited me to participate in the #mywritingprocess blog tour. She writes humorous yet insightful stories about the hazards of being a French woman in London and even had an article in The Times, so you know, between her and the other illustrious writers who take part in the blog tour, I’m not intimidated at all!
I say astounded because despite the fact that I’ve written over a hundred posts on this blog, I don’t really think of myself as A Writer. I’ve never published anything and aside from the occasional paid translation work, the closest I’ve got to writing a proper story was a romance when I was fifteen; embarrassing doesn’t begin to describe that piece of
trash literature… I’ve never really thought about writing processes and whether or not I have one so it’s been fun thinking about the four questions I had to answer as part of the blog tour. I found the introspection informative and I hope you will too!
1. What am I working on?
Right now, I can honestly say I am not doing very well on the writing front. Recently, my time has been spent party-planning, holding clingy babies and toddlers and thinking wistfully about our August holiday to France, the first time we are going away in two years!
I am spending more time thinking about writing than I am taking pen to paper. This said, my brain is buzzing with threads of posts and I am trying to be more disciplined in writing them down for future reference.
2. How does my work differ from others of its genre?
I write about anything and everything if it strikes me as interesting, which is to say that I don’t focus on anything in particular, so the blog has quite an eclectic feel with an emphasis on the differences between the French and the English way of life. Over the last four years, it has evolved to encompass reflections on parenting, book reviews, and more personal stories, opinions and insights (as well as completely fluffy subjects like TV shows). I also share recipes and make brave yet doomed attempts at taking pictures to go with the posts.
3. Why do I write what I do?
Blogging is very much a hobby to stop my life from revolving entirely around the kids. I love them very much, but I need other things to think about and the blog has been wonderful in providing this. So I guess I write for me and it has been a great outlet for processing my life. I have had a lot of fun with some of the posts whilst others have been more challenging, personal and even cathartic. What it hasn’t been is boring.
I do wish I was more organised and more prolific, as well as maybe a tad more daring, but if I’m honest I often feel a bit out of my depth. I know there’s a lot more I could be doing and would do with the blog if I had the guts, time and head space to do justice to the subjects I am interested in (such as mental health and religion to name but two). But I’m one of those people who knows a little about a lot of things and who is an expert at nothing. So I can share opinions and anecdotes from my experience but I am not able to do the amount of research to accompany the pieces that would convince me I’m not just talking rubbish.
4. How does my writing process work?
So I don’t really have a set process but there seems to be method to the madness.
- Some posts I just sit down and write in one go, whereas others get rewritten over a number of days.
- I keep a notebook of ideas and save drafts in WordPress that I revisit every so often. Sometimes, I will just jot down a title or a sentence to use later.
- I read a LOT of other blogs that cover a wide variety of subjects, including some written by people I completely disagree with on most things! It’s often very challenging but also illuminating and definitely inspires my thinking and my writing, both in style and content.
- I must confess that I have occasionally sat down with a pen and paper and written the old-fashioned way. It seems to help me think better. It’s probably for the same reason that, as much as I love my Kindle, it hasn’t replaced the simple pleasure of opening a physical book.
- Other than that, I tend to think about things and write in my head during my morning shower but my writing time is in the evening once the kids are in bed. So I often forget what I was thinking about in between, which is not super helpful. I take ages to write a post, I always rewrite a hundred times, and basically press ‘publish’ because I run out of ideas to improve the post, rather than because I am 100 % happy with it.
Continuing the blog tour next week, I am delighted to introduce you to:
- Sophie, who lives in London after spending 12 years on the French Riviera. She is married to a Frenchman (who is a mean cook) and blogs at Franglaise Mummy. One of the best things about her posts is that every time I visit I want to leave a comment, they really are that interesting. If there ever was a sign of a healthy blog, this is it!
- Sarah at St Bloggie de Riviere, who makes me feel quite homesick at times with her stories about daily life in France. Her recent posts about her kids’ school experience is bringing back all sorts of (mixed) memories.
- Deb writes at Sixtine et Victoire. Not only is she a very talented photographer, but she’s really hands-on with her kids in a practical and non-threatening way and shares particularly nice recipes that kids can make themselves. Her Montessori-inspired toddler activities are also wonderful but a bit more awe-inspiring for me so I only admire them from afar most of the time…