A lot of people ask me how I decided to start a blog. I’m also asked about my topics. At first the idea sounds strange, writing about every day happenings. Maybe it’s an unbelievable shoe or a snide comment by one of my teens. Once a few posts are under a reader’s belt, they get it and start suggesting topics. “You have to write about the shoppers at Trader Joes who take forever to make their free coffee taste just right while others wait.” Or, “you need to write about ladies tennis and the crazies.” I love getting ideas.
A friend from my writers group, Susan MacLaughlin at Knit One Health Too, offered up a new post idea. She suggested answering a few questions about writing, like an interview. At the end of my interview, I suggest bloggers/writers I like for my readers to check out. This phenomenon is called a blog hop. I hope you enjoy the insider’s take on writing and checking out some other blogs.
Why do I write what I do? In the beginning of my suburban life, I joined a lot of organizations so I could get to know the community. One group, Lafayette Juniors, a junior Junior League drew in moms like me from all over town. Juniors, as we liked to call it, hosts fundraisers for charity. One year, Juniors started a kitchen tour, the first of its kind in Lafayette. We needed someone to write up descriptions for an event program and resource list. I took a crack at it with great success and lots of encouragement from my peers.
I went on to be president of Juniors and at the elementary PTA. My favorite part was writing the newsletter. I tried really hard to talk about more than calendar events or accolades. Lucky me, people told me they liked what I wrote and maybe I should write more somewhere else. I was flattered. You never know where your cheerleaders are going to pop up. Without them, I don’t know what I would be doing right now. It took me a couple of years to find that something, my blog, shoezle.com.
How does my writing differ from others in its genre? Shoezle is a slice of life blog. I like to write about whatever ever a mom like me might experience whether it’s family stuff, a new pair of shoes, working out or hating a computer in a light and thoughtful way. I hesitate to call it a mom blog but I have to say, mom posts get people commenting. Some “critics” out there call it a mommy blog and don’t think too highly of this genre. Sometimes it’s true, the “mommy blogs” aren’t the highest caliber of writing, but the same could be said about the New York Times vs a local paper. Heck, even the best are not perfect. My sophomore in high school was disappointed to find a grammatical error in the very first article he ever read in the New York Times. I think the critics of mommy blogs are not parents.
How does my writing process work? I just start writing, no outline or formal process. I want to have fun when I write and I want my readers to enjoy the ride with me. I write about events or incidences I witness or experience. Sometimes I have ideas for a long time. Maybe it’s one funny thing I savor until I think I have a story to tell around it. Sometimes I get inspired in a flash and can’t wait to write about it. When I do finally sit down to write, it sparks my memory banks and other moments weave their way onto the page. Like the time the clerk at Whole Foods referred to himself as “THE Guy” for introducing me to the best tortillas in town. Suddenly I realized I knew all kinds of specialist “guys.” When I’m finished writing, I post on my blog and work on pictures to go with it. Most times I’m creating a photo with my iphone in the backyard or on my kitchen table. I have almost a much fun with the photos as I do with the writing.
What am I working on/writing? My blog shoezle is my fun side. I shoot for two posts per month so I have time for my family and other writing goals. I love hearing from my followers when they enjoy a post; it keeps my confidence up. I am also dabbling in publishing some of my work too. It takes research and tenacity to keep sending out essays and crossing my fingers. I’ve had a few lucky hits. Now I am aiming to take on my Opus, my first book.
Four years ago, I wrote a blog about my husband and his tragic bike accident. I had to write about it on a blog, something I knew nothing about and had to get up to speed quick! CaringBridge.org makes it easy for non-techies in the midst of tragedy to get the word out. So many people wanted to know what happened and the ongoing status of my hubby. I wrote for 18 months about him and filled over 200 pages. A book has been on my mind for years now; I am ready. It’s quite the undertaking. I hope I can describe my summer break as completing my first draft of my first book.
Check out a few of my favorite bloggers:
Alicia Young is an international journalist, author and speaker. Her award-winning debut book, The Savvy Girl’s Guide to Grace: small touches with big impact—at home, work & in love (Parasol Press, 2013) explores ways to tap our inner Audrey Hepburn in a rushed world.
Alicia was once told off by Mother Teresa for not having children (she forgot) and has volunteered at a Calcutta hospice and leprosy hospital. Outside work, Alicia handles parasols and power-tools with equal ease (not really, but she helpfully holds the torch while her better half fixes things around the house). www.savvylife.net
Besides crafting cocktails with Zoloft, Tracy Winslow can be found cursing, crying into her coffee over her stretch marks, and Ouija-boarding her deceased metabolism. She was voted Top 25 Funniest Moms at Circle of Moms/PopSugar and Top 10 Funniest Moms on the Web by Parent Society. Tracy is a featured writer for In The Powder Room and contributor to best selling books You Have Lipstick on Your Teeth and I Just Want To Pee Alone – as well as 7 other compilation books. When she’s not trying to wrangle her children, she can be found teaching Spanish to high school students and blogging at Momaical http://www.momaical.com Twitter: @Momaical and Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/momaicalblog.
Risa Nye is a San Francisco Bay Area native. Her essays, stories, and articles have appeared in a variety of publications, and she continues to mine her vast experience for more things to write about. She also eavesdrops.Her three children live far away and cannot stop her from mining their experiences too.She has an MFA in Creative Writing from Saint Mary’s College in California. This year, she was chosen to be in the cast of Listen to Your Mother San Francisco. She is also a Voice of the Year at the upcoming BlogHer conference. Her ebook, Zero to Sixty in One Year, is on virtual bookshelves everywhere. Some of her writing–including her forays into the world of mixology as Ms.Barstool–and her current blog can be found at www.risanye.com.