When I was 5 years old I would daydream while looking at the Simpsons-Sears catalogue. Oh the amazing things me and my sassy girlfriends would do. That’s me on the far left. Isn’t my hair scarf groovy? The girls and I would play in a band when we weren’t busy travelling and modeling for the Simpson-Sears catalogue. This beach was in my back yard. Oh it was a spectacular story I had crafted in my imagination.
Creativity, writing and storytelling has always played a big part in my life and career; from elaborate childhood daydreams, to aspirations of becoming an actor, to my eventual career as a film editor, a luxury store manager, corporate communications specialist and currently a marketing executive and blog author. Creativity and continual learning is something that has fueled me and my livelihood. Along the way I’ve met some pretty extraordinary people as I got my toehold in the creative arts industry and now corporate world.
My good friend Jo-Ann Blondin is someone who has been with me through much of my creative journey. She’s a marketer extraordinaire, registered holistic nutritionist and author of The 9 Cup Challenge. Jo-Ann was kind enough to invite me to join this blog tour centered on the writing process. You can follow this link to Jo-Ann’s post on her writing process too.
My Writing Process
Disclaimer: Before I start to tell you about my writing process I must warn you my contribution to the blog tour WILL NOT be a first class ride – I’d liken it more to a trip on the Harry Potter® Knight Bus. Let’s say my writing style and posting frequency is a bit erratic, at times it operates at high speeds and then it comes to abrupt stops. Yup, that pretty much sums it up. Enjoy the ride :)
Q: What are you working on?
There are two key areas I’m focusing on with my blog; theme and consistency.
Theme. In 2010 I based my blog on the theme of buying organic food on a budget. You can see my original post on how I got started here. Over time other topics crept into my posts so I started to consider a bigger concept for my site. My blog now focuses on the broader notion of organics and living a sustainable lifestyle that is kind to the planet. I’m in the midst of reworking the navigation of the site (ugh) and all of my categories to make room for new ones. I want to keep my content fresh, interesting and relevant to my growing audience.
Consistency. What can I say? I’ve been consistently inconsistent with posting. I speak with with lots of bloggers via my job and this is a pretty common problem. I’m in the process of mapping out an editorial calendar that is reasonable and coordinates with my work and family schedule. I hate making promises to myself of posting 3 times a week and I only manage to squeeze 2 posts into a month. Although I’m always up for a good challenge, I want running my blog to be enjoyable – not a self induced guilt trip.
Q: How does your work differ from others of its genre?
Good question. I think my tone of voice (aka writing style) is a little different from most blogs about organics. I don’t want to preach – I’d rather come across like I’m sharing bite sized pieces of information with my best friend. Also for a self-professed foodie I’m not into snapping shots of my food in restaurants. I eat out a lot between business and personal travel and over the years I’ve only grabbed a hand-full of shots in restaurants. I’d rather enjoy the meal, chat with my dining companions and pay homage to the chef’s work by thanking my server and tipping generously.
Quick story: I was recently at a very popular and $$$$ restaurant in Montreal and we were surrounded by foodie-cum-hipsters whipping out their SLR cameras and using flashes to take pictures of their meals. I wanted to slap their nerd glasses off them. Am I the only one who feels this way? More on this meal in a future post. Note: there will not be pictures of my food.
Q: Why do you write what you do?
This one is easy. I enjoy writing about stuff I’m passionate about. I think the broad principles around organics can and will help save our planet. We are consumption junkies in North America. More, faster, bigger, better. We need to slow down and take in what we are doing to ourselves and the planet. Life can be simpler than you think. You can be less stressed.
Q: What’s your writing process?
My writing process is a bit of a hot mess. I may have an idea for a post or short story that brews for days, weeks or months. The main thing is I need to capture the idea somehow. Below is a picture of my office and a close up of my ‘thinking corner’. Let me tell you what’s in it.
Creative Space – My Thinking Corner. As a visual person, I really like having pictures or objects around me that resonate with my current state of mind. I begged the local Wholefoods Market to gift me one of their carrot Earthlings posters for my home office. This picture warms my heart and fires me up when I enter my home office to write. I have lots of other objects that make me happy in my work space – vintage pictures of strangers (I don’t know why I like them but I do), a special birthday note from a friend, typesetting blocks, a handwritten note from my Grandpa, my mala beads…
Books. I read – like A LOT. I have been culling down my home library as much as I can but books do tend to keep coming in. I prefer purchasing second-hand books over new but if there is a new book out there that I really
need want, I will purchase new. I love the library but even with the new online ordering systems, I still can’t seem to get there to pick up books let alone return them on time.
Paper. I jot down notes throughout the day. I have journals that I will keep by me while I read, listen to an audio book, or watch TV and I’ll scribble down thoughts as they come. I also have a system for capturing interesting phrases and words throughout my day. I carry a Levenger index card holder and as I hear or see something ‘capture worthy’ I write in on a card and file it in my word box under topics like a thesaurus. Here’s what a typical index card looks like – I used this word earlier in the post.
Digital. I’m a power user of Evernote. If I see anything interesting on the web I throw it to my Evernote account and tag it with one of my many topics. I can go back to these resources and have accurate sources to cite for a story and I don’t have a heap more paper in my office than I already have.
Thesauruses and Dictionaries. I’m a geek and I like reading them. I have a stupid amount of them and my favorites are of the vintage page-worn variety.
iPhone. This is critical tool for capturing quick snap shots of things I see every day. I have to keep exporting my images to make room for more on a regular basis. I’ll also snap pictures of articles, ads, words and recipe ideas from books and magazines when I’m in a doctor’s office, friends house or at my parents.
Keeping on my toes. I do this literally and figuratively. You will notice from my office picture that I do not have a chair in it. I’ve converted my home office and work office to standing work stations so I stand while I work and write. Not only is this healthy for you but it keeps me focused on the task at hand. I also keep on my toes by reading other people’s blogs to see how they are writing.
Pulling it Together. Once I have made the commitment to write I set aside an evening or afternoon to tackle the post. With all of my resources in hand I typically write the post in one fell swoop and I try to keep each post to fewer than 300 words – excluding any recipes. Needless to say, this post does not fit the norm of my writing style. After I write, I copy edit the hell out of my post looking for duplicate words, ways to tighten up the message and ways to improve the graphic layout. In the copy editing process I’ll dip into my index cards and see if I can find a more interesting way to say something and make the story true to my tone of voice. Before I post I double-check my links, spelling, optimize my tags, craft my social media links to the post and I hit publish.
That dear readers is how my writing process works. Do you write? What’s your process? I’d love to hear.
Continue on to the next stop of the blog tour here…
Next week on May 5th you can read up on the writing process from the author of Eye Candy Popper. But you don’t have to wait until the 5th to head over there for a good read. You’ll like it – I promise. Here’s a bit about the author:
I’m an urban eco-blogger & foodie passionate about healthy living!
I’m all about eating in a natural way, so that means organic whole foods and cooking from scratch. I use natural remedies instead of synthetic drugs and antibiotics. I love to travel and stay active with running. I also love interior decorating, as well as fashion, especially when it’s eco-friendly! I am passionate about finding healthy solutions for whatever comes my way and helping the environment at the same time. I talk the talk and walk the walk. I’m on a mission to show that living a healthy lifestyle is not complicated!
So you know; Eye Candy Popper is going through the humbling process of migrating her site between two platforms. Can I get an “Amen” from anyone who has gone through this process. It’s painful but worth it in the long run. So anyone who wants to follow Eye Candy Popper – and you will want to – please be sure to subscribe through email.
Thanks so much for reading and please share your comments and tips for how your organize yourself for writing. I’d also like to know which blogs you enjoy reading too!
Regarding the Simpsons-Sears catalogue shot: luckily my dad is as much of a hoarder as I am and he still has some of the catalogues I used to look at. This snap is from a 1968 catalogue. The Harry Potter Knight Bus gif is from the following wiki page http://harrypotter.wikia.com/wiki/Knight_Bus