When I first began writing, I was a little girl curled up in the bottom bunk bed of a big, yellow brick house in a small, secluded town, scribbling away in my journal. Writing was a way of filtering through my thoughts. Putting my stories down on paper helped me make sense of the diminutive – yet seemingly complicated – world I was living in.
As I grew, so did this “world”, and therefore my ideas and opinions, as well as my writing process. I decided to make the words a bigger part of my life and that meant forming them into a viable career path.
Today, I use the words in a number of ways:
- To help create brand awareness for small businesses,
- To share ideas and information with the readers of various Canadian publications,
- To tell stories that may one day be bound by paperback, and
- To share my personal and professional experiences – both the victories and failures – in the hopes that someone out there will find them relative to their own journey.
While I have found new and exciting writing outlets to explore, which go beyond the intimate seclusion of a personal journal, the little girl in the bunk bed lives on. I still use the words to make sense of it all.
But what I have found to be even more valuable than the act of writing itself is the way these words are able to influence others.
Hopefully, a closer look into my writing process offers just that – a method for building connections, learning, and continuing to grow.
I was invited to participate in this tour by fellow WCYR member Mark Koning, author of Chronicles of a Girl, who blogs over at Challenging Barriers. Thanks for the invite, Mark, and for challenging me to really look at the practice behind the words.
1) What am I working on?
As hinted above, I am currently exploring a number of different writing paths. During the typical 9 to 5 hours, I spend my time blogging for small businesses. Our clients come from all industries – human resources, freight, architecture, wine, health and wellness, etc. I get to explore all kinds of topics when writing for these brands.
Aside from my day job, I am working on some exciting freelance projects. As of April, I will be a new contributor to tech publication wrlwnd.com, and I’ll be writing regularly about all things related to social media.
I am also writing a book. It’s in the very early stages, but it is creative non-fiction/memoir. It’s a project that sits very close to my heart – a true story of love and romance, but also extreme pain and sadness. I look forward to sharing more details soon.
2) How does my work differ from others of its genre?
When I decided to go to school for journalism, I was driven by an urge to share people’s stories. I enjoy feature writing, because it involves interviewing strangers and investigating certain aspects of their lives – digging into their passions, experiences and perspectives, and exposing their hidden truths.
I want to be authentic and open in my writing. There’s something about capturing this raw exposure that really adds meaning to the words. Of course, it’s one thing to report the facts, but it’s another to craft them into a story that resonates with an audience. This is why I strive to share meaningful truths in creative ways.
I’m not sure this is what differs my writing from others, but it is essentially the muse I am constantly chasing.
3) Why do I write what I do?
I write to inform and inspire. I write to connect – with people and places, ideas and passions. I write to create. The act of writing gives me the feeling you get when you sit under the moon on a clear night, talking about love and life with your best friend. In that moment, you’re able to speak without regret or fear or consequence. You can express your thoughts without judgment.
Of course, writing and publishing are two different things. But in the moment, when I am writing, I’m not doing it for the people who will judge or criticize. I’m writing for the ones who will relate – and those people are always out there. Sometimes they’re just a little harder to find.
4) How does my writing process work?
A wise man once said, “Either write something worth reading, or do something worth writing.” My writing inspiration comes from real life experiences – whether my own, or those of someone else who is willing to share.
Even in the fictional works I have experimented with, my characters are based on people I see riding the train into work, or walking the dog down the street. My plot lines are structured based on conversations I’ve had.
Mary Heaton Vorse once said: “The art of writing is the art of applying the seat of the pants to the seat of the chair.” Though I agree with her, I have to add it’s equally important to step outside. I need to have a world to explore in real life before I create one on paper. (I am also quite content exploring the worlds sitting on my bookshelf, or popping up in my Twitter feed).
When it comes time to write, I try to put it all out there – I just let my fingers do the work on the keyboard. Then comes the intensive editing process – a skill I will forever be looking to improve. Eventually, I grow tired of polishing, and I take a break to look out the window where kids dressed in rubber boots and raincoats jump from puddle to puddle in the streets. Then the next idea hits me – and I’m off.
Passing the “pen”:
In continuing this tour, I am thrilled to invite two women who are very passionate about what they do. I enjoy talking about writing with both of these ladies and I am looking forward to seeing their posts next week.
Mary-Anne Babiolakis is a Greek girl, who was born in South Africa and now resides in Toronto; an avid lover of popular culture, social media, travel and education, she loves to connect with people across the world through blogging. You can find her words over at Merzybean.
Sheri Andrunyk is the founder of I C Publishing and the I C Bookstore, entrepreneur expert, and author of Working From Home & Making It Work and Hearts Linked by Courage; and she is extremely passionate about providing more choices and high level support to other writers, business professionals, wellness coaches, and spiritual mentors. Check her out at ICpublishing.ca.