Friday, April 18, 2014

How I Write

I was asked to take part in a blog tour.  I was surprised to find out that it didn't involve a fancy bus and hitting the road and groupies and stages.  A blog tour isn't exactly like that you guys.  But it's still cool.  A blog tour is linking up with other bloggers and sharing words/ideas/thoughts/stories.  This particular blog tour, called How I Write, asks participants to write about their writing process.  My friend Sarah Reinhart from little white whale asked if I wanted to be a part of this tour.  I met Sarah when I started linking up with #iPPP last year.  She has become a good friend who has supported and encouraged me so much over the these last few months.  She is a talented writer, an amazing photographer and a mother of four (who is going to have a fifth baby very, very soon). Sarah asked me to answer a few questions about my writing process and to talk about my video/vlog process as well.

So, here it is, a peek into my process...

1. What am I working on?
I try to write a new blog post every night.  Sometimes it's very easy and I am bursting with creative energy to share the funny or the weird or the frustrating or the amazing parts of my day.  Other times I write about a craft/recipe or fashion or the occasional sponsored post (which I still try to make part of a story).  

I am just starting to dabble more in putting my stories out there beyond my blog.  I've worked with Mamalode a little bit the past couple months and What To Dipping my toes into the rather intimidating world of freelance writing. Pitching ideas and getting ideas rejected, edited, applauded, approved, judged.  It's very validating when a story is approved.  It's humbling when it isn't.  I am learning so much and I love that.  I am learning to appreciate editors' suggestions.  I am learning to not take rejection too personally.  I am learning to be a better writer, a better storyteller.

As far as vlogging, I am smack dab in the middle of VEDA which stands for Vlog Every Day April.  I have been putting up video blogs on my YouTube channel pretty regularly for a couple years now.  But VEDA?  That shit is crazy.  Every day?  What was I thinking?  

Actually, I have had a lot of fun with VEDA already.  I have sort of turned into a suburban version of Joaquin Phoenix in the movie Her, carrying my camera everywhere and talking to it. I even filmed myself in the grocery store the other night.  I've also interviewed my husband and my daughter, vlogged myself on the same stage where Adele, Nirvana, Eminem and other artists have performed, captured moments with friends and dancing like a fool in my kitchen.  Pretty rad stuff.

2. How does my writing differ from others of its genre?

I think I write with an honest voice that is both raw and funny, sad and happy.  There are so many talented writers that pull this off.  I think the thing that sets me a part a little bit is that I am not afraid.  I am not afraid to go to places that others might tiptoe around.  I don't tiptoe.  I march. I dance. I stomp. I skip.  I do not tiptoe.  

The same can be said about my vlogs.  I am not afraid to look stupid, look bad, look silly and it's sort of freeing (for me and the hopefully the viewer).

3. Why do I write what I do?

I write what's in my head and heart.  I vlog the same way.  

Some days it is silly and light.  Other days it's hard, spirit-crushing kind of hard.  That's life.  And that's why I write.

I write to make sense of my head and my heart.  I write to get it out of my head.  I love what Ann Morrow Lindbergh said about writing.  She said "I must write it all out, at any cost.  Writing is thinking.  It is more than living, for it is being conscious of living."

My whole life--before blogs were a thing, before the Internet was a thing--I wrote the same way.  I wrote stories in journals and diaries, on napkins, notebooks, receipts, the back of my hand.  When I couldn't find the right words to speak I wrote and wrote and wrote.  I wrote stories, essays, notes, letters, newsletters, ad copy, columns, interviews and eventually emails, Facebook statuses and blogs.

I simply don't know any other way to think or feel.

I vlog more for fun and to capture memories of my family.  I love making videos of our life and set it to music.  It is a huge creative outlet for me and a whole different kind of storytelling.

4. How does my writing process work?
I write every night after the kids go to bed.  Sometimes the words and stories flow out of me easily. Sometimes wine and the Aretha Franklin Pandora channel help.  

Sometimes there are stories that are in my head for days or weeks.  I usually format them while I'm running on the treadmill.  Then when I get an hour during the day, I knock out the story and my head is clear and it feels amazing.

Vlogging is the same.  Sometimes I have an idea for a video and format the whole thing in my head before shooting it.  Other times it's a shoot from the hip kind of deal.  

Or I link up with other bloggers and use their prompts to make videos.

Here's the closest thing I have had to a viral video, it's my attempt at the cup song and where I end up singing a Prince song:

My process is a bit scattered, full of emotion and passion and creativity, love and a sense of humor.  My process is messy and appreciates editors and validation.  So, yeah, my process is basically my metaphor for my whole life.  

Part of the blog hop is asking two more writers to answer these questions.  

First I thought of my dear friend Greta Funk of GFunkified.  I met Greta at BlissDom a few years ago.  We have a lot in common, she is a mom of four, gluten free and enjoys running.  She is down to earth but at the same time such an inspiration.  On her blog she gives people a peek into what it's like to have a house full of kids.  She also writes about her fitness journey, shares great gluten free recipes and takes amazing pictures. She recently started a new adventure managing the site Today's Work @ Home Mom.

Next I thought of my new friend Andrea Mowery of About 100%.  I just started getting to know Andrea and I am so happy about it.  She is funny and sweet and real.  When I read her her words I always smile.  Andrea recently wrote a piece that was featured in Mamalode, called Transition, that had me nodding and saying "mmm-hmmm, totally!"  

Be sure to check out Greta's and Andrea's responses to these questions!  They'll be posting their answers early next week. 


  1. I have always been amazed by your ability to write something every day that is interesting, entertaining, heartfelt, SOMETHING. It's never, ever boring and I so admire that about you. And your vlogs. I mean, really, Angela. I wish I could put myself out there, but I AM a tiptoer. I wish some of YOU would rub off on ME.

    And thank you so much for your kind words. I'm so lucky to have you in my life!

  2. I am in awe that you are so productive, creative and inspired every day!
    I am the opposite right now, sigh.

  3. "I think I write with an honest voice that is both raw and funny, sad and happy." That is why I love your stuff. Thanks for joining in on this tour, bus and groupies or no bus and groupies :) Love seeing you at work in that pic. And holy moly--you write every night?! I hope I get back to wanting to write with that fervor. These days….not so much. But I'm loving that you do. xx.

  4. I read way more than I comment, but I love this peek into how you do what you do. Like Greta, I am always in awe that you produce such wonderful things day after day. Love this. I write every day too...but you are doing something better than I am!

  5. I love how you stomp. I want to stomp and dance but then I get timid and tiptoe again.
    I write the silly and light and heavy of my heart too. It is such a great thing to record and remember, isn't it?

  6. I am so glad that we got to know each other, Angela! Your bold sense of "I'm doing this" is so refreshing to me. I love your ability to live out loud, since I feel like much of my life is spent living very, very quietly. I can learn so much from your approach to life and writing!

    Thanks again for picking me and for this insight into your life as a writer!