My curiosity about the creative process led me to accept my friend Julianna’s invitation to something called “My Writing Process Blog Tour.” Her lovely blog, Foodie On Board, is full of unique and exotic recipes that will make you instantly hungry. I love that her culinary style is influenced by a diverse range of cultures, and I feel like I’m on an international voyage whenever I read her posts. She whips up things like Quinoa Salad with Saffron, Drunken Figs and Pistachios. Doesn’t that sound amazing? You can see why I couldn’t say no.
Part of this blog tour involves answering questions about my writing process. I can see how a similar workshop would be beneficial to students who have trouble getting started with writing assignments.
1) What am I working on?
If by “working on” you mean presently and consistently, then I would have to use the term very loosely due to other pressing obligations and well, you know, procrastination. Ever since I figured out that I had a tiny bit of writing ability, I’ve wanted to publish my family’s migration story. In 2006, I traveled to Laos for the first time with my mother. I kept a pretty thorough journal during the trip, but only when I opened it again last year did I feel inspiration rekindled. I thought if I could just get it in print somewhere, it might give me the push I needed to publish. As of this blog entry, I am still procrastinating.
2) How does my work differ from others of its genre?
Like other culturally themed writers, I spend a good deal of time reflecting on my childhood and memories of my family, so the tone tends to be nostalgic. The posts are scattered, covering random points of time. I try to write humorous pieces to balance out the heavier ones. My topics range from cooking and traveling to infectious disease surveillance. Since we cannot help but look at the world through the lens of culture and personal experience, anything I write stays with the overarching theme of an immigrant’s narrative.
3) Why do I write what I do?
Memories are especially important to me because so few of my relatives remain who remember how things were before and during the Lao Diaspora. One of my greatest fears is that, as my relatives pass on, everything that makes us who we are will fade: language, traditional dishes, folklore, religion. By sharing my family’s stories, I honor them and the sacrifices they made for us. In some ways, I write because I must, otherwise my brain becomes too cluttered.
4) How does your writing process work?
Blogging has been an exercise in completion. I am terrible at finishing manuscripts, but I figured I can handle small chunks at once. Most of the time, I don’t need a prompt to get me started.
I write thoughts as they come, a bit stream-of-consciousness. And then I edit – a lot. I have an almost-phobic aversion to bad grammar, spelling mistakes, and using the same word in successive sentences. Sometimes stories almost fall into place on their own, following a natural progression. At times, ideas for fiction come to me in dreams. I try to write them down first thing in the morning, but I’ve never finished these stories. My nonfiction posts about childhood and family are written as they were told to me or as I remember them, sometimes with a touch of creative license to make it flow. I pay attention to details as I go about my daily life…you just never know when you’ll have to draw on that memory.
My Tour Companions
I rounded up 2 of my friends to join me on this tour. I follow so many food bloggers (because let’s face it – I have an inner fat girl living inside me) and decided I want to see how non-food-bloggers go about the writing process. Not saying that my food-blogging friends have nothing else to write about! Many of them are quite creative and versatile. What I mean is… I’m going to put this shovel down and move on now…. I chose these two gems based on 1) blog theme and 2) willingness to participate.
First up is Kelsey@Sticky Rice and Ketchup. I instantly liked Kelsey because she married a Lao guy, which of course reminded me of my own family. Bias aside, I see the potential for some good stories from her bicultural perspective, so I keep prodding her to write more. No pressure! 🙂 She and her husband seem like fun-loving sweethearts too, so I look forward to getting to know them through her blog (but not in a creepy way).
My second tour companion is Jim@All We Are Saying Is… I have to catch up on his posts – he is more diligent than me – but from what I have read, this guy spends a lot of time pondering a variety of topics. I like ponderers. I make it a point to be mindful of the world around me on a daily basis, but sometimes I grow weary…and that’s when I need to read a good post that gets me back to being mindful. (Have I started to ramble? ) One day, when I am retired, I’d like to build a log cabin, as Jim has done, and spend my days foraging and pondering. Ah…so many years of work to go.
So next week, June 9, you will hear from these two friends. I don’t know about you, but I sure am looking forward to reading their insights!