I’ve been invited to participate in a Writing Process Blog Chain where writers who blog describe their current writing process by responding to a standard questionnaire. Lee Kofman was kind enough to tag me on her turn. For those not in the know, Lee is a fearless writer, teacher, mentor and lovely person who has written three books of fiction in Hebrew, and numerous essays and articles. In all of this, she shows a knack for opening up meaning within her topics. As a reader, it's as if you've been shot in the arm with authenticity, sincerity, and a dash of eloquence. If you want to find out more about Lee, visit her blog, The Writing Life.
Now here I am, telling you a little about what I’m currently doing, and then tagging the next writers to continue the chain.
What am I working on now?
I am currently working on two projects: my PhD novel in stories You Belong Here takes up most of my time. I am in the revision stages, and methodically working through each story, while taking in greater narrative threads throughout the collection. I have ambitiously/insanely taken on five character journeys in the novel, and so week-by-week I am a mum, a dad, a lost child, a princess or a golden boy, depending on the requirements of the novel. My other project is The Doppler Effect, a thematically linked collection of stories using found media formats (podcasts, exhibition guides, video games etc.) and adopting them into a cohesive literary framework. I will be most likely working on this when I head to Bulgaria for the Sozopol Fiction Seminars later this month.
How does my work differ from others in its genre?
I hope my background in journalism mixes well with a need to express an emotional reality. My favourite feedback from readers has always been that they felt something while reading my work. An ex-girlfriend once said that every story I wrote was about loss. I hope that I now cover a broader, more varied spectrum. On a good day, I hope every story I write is read by someone who understands what I’m trying to say; who reads it and says, ‘Yes. That is what it’s like’.
Why do I write about what I do?
I think about this a lot. Here, I would have to lift a quote from the lovely and unforgettable Amy Espeseth, who said of her novel Sufficient Grace, that she only wrote the story she was given to write. If I write often of sad, lost and lonely people it’s because I want to understand them, and I am particularly well placed to tell their stories.
For much of my life, I saw my sensitivity as a burden, and indeed, my time in football, cricket, and basketball teams did little to dissuade this notion. Once I started writing, it turned out to be my greatest strength. From there, it was a short jump to find my writing niche. It’s unlikely I’ll change topic until I understand, and sadly, I often don’t, at least not until I've finished a particular story.
How does my writing process work?
I write Monday to Friday from 9am to 5pm, and have done for the entirety of the PhD. This was hideously difficult at first. In the nine years previous, I had worked all manner of jobs to stay afloat, and wrote either first thing in the morning (at around six am) or late at night (from around ten pm through to one am). This was all incredibly romantic, but also meant a shift to more standardised working hours was bound to be traumatic.
I’m better now at managing my time. Thus, mornings are saved for revision, and afternoons are when I write new drafts, often having avoided this for about an hour or so, having suddenly discovered the need to run system maintenance on the laptop. My stories take a long time to write, almost comically so. Thus, ‘The Knife’, eventually published in December 2012, was first drafted in March, 2011. It’s lucky that I work on more than one story at a time, or I’d probably be washing windows at a traffic light by this point…
But enough about me. Now I’d like to introduce you to two fine writers, who will tell you their own stories about what they’re currently writing, how and why.
Les Zigomanis has been a writer for over twenty years. He’s had stories and articles published in various print and digital journals, had two screenplays optioned, blogs, and is currently working on his next novel. http://www.leszig.com/
Louise is a writer, mother-of-four, and an ex-medico. She has recently returned from a Varuna Residential Fellowship where she worked on her first novel, 'Ida's Children', which she hopes to complete within the next few months. The novel is about two sisters, one of whom is childless while the other conceives easily. Both women must give up on a dream. Two of Louise's short stories were published in the anthology 'Jukebox' (Out of the Asylum Writers, Fremantle, 2013). She lives in Perth, Western Australia and blogs at www.louise-allan.com
Karen Andrews is an award-winning writer, author, editor, poet and publisher. Her work has appeared journals and publications throughout Australia. Her latest book is Crying in the Car: Reflections on Life and Motherhood.
She has been blogging as Miscellaneous Mum (miscmum.com) since 2006; it is one of the most established and well-respected parenting/personal blogs in the country.