Ramblings

Blog Tour: The Writing Process, or How To Own a Blog Worth $1449.

Blogging Amigo and all around funny guy, Snoozing on the Sofa (aka Scott Nagele) has nominated me and fellow blogger Pieter who runs a blog called Ah Dad in a game of blogging tag that is a cross between winning a trophy for participating in U-5 soccer and hot potato. I like when I get nominated for these things, not because I am a self-centered jerk, but because the blogging world is the lonely island of misfit writers and getting any recognition is nice.

Scott’s blog is devoted to his family, which is growing rapidly, and his parenting adventures are humorous, and loving. In other words, Scott is my kind of guy. I have followed Scott’s blog for some time now and he always has great posts.

Pieter lives in South Africa, the country at the bottom of Africa that everyone can find, and blogs about his family. When Pieter isn’t watching the Springboks lose to the All-Blacks in rugby, he is buying tickets to see One Direction in concert. Anyone who takes his children to see One Direction deserves a medal on Father’s Day, but they probably don’t have Father’s Day in South Africa since everything is upside down there.

René Descartes at work

I also use a quill for first drafts. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Okay enough about other people, let’s get down to why I am here. Why am I here? Like Descartes I blog because I am. At one time in my life I gave up on writing. (Note to my readers, I am about to be serious for a paragraph.) When I was younger I enjoyed writing. Writing in college killed that joy. I don’t know if it was the amount of required formulaic essay writing, the fact that I was a lazy writer, or if I my brain decided to surrender. Whatever it was, I came away from college and had given up on writing. Fast forward about 15 years and I was teaching high school English in a small Washington coastal town. I liked my job, enjoyed the students, but really didn’t have time to write. I taught many promising students, but the one that started me back to writing was one who died tragically. He was a very good writer and thinker. I really felt, as I do with many of my students, that he was destined to make a mark in this world. His death drew me back to writing. I started to find time to write.

On to the required questions.

1. What am I working on now?

My blog writing is a small bit of my writing pie. There are many days when I want to kill my blog and leave its dead body floating in the internet, but I am like Michael Corleone after he knew Fredo did it. Someday I’ll send my blog out fishing with Luca Brasi and it will never be seen again.

The other pieces of my writing pie are still in the oven, but this summer I will be self-publishing a book of short stories and writing a screenplay for my unpublished novel. If I don’t make too many mistakes in my first attempt to self-publish then I will begin working on self-publishing my novel Lost Summers In Paris. Lost Summers is my novel about the writers and artists in Paris in the 1920’s. I have two other novels in their infancy and I hear it is bad luck to talk about those things before they are done, but one is related to my recent trip to Europe (The Summer of Jon) and the other one is not.

2. How does my work differ from others in the genre?

My blog writing is difficult to put a genre tag on because I don’t really follow the rules for running a successful blog and this might be why it is a blog valued at $1449 by Google. I write a little travel, but my travel writing is not helpful if you are planning a trip because most of my travel writing is related to me getting lost and doing stupid stuff.

My fiction writing is usually about odd people doing odd things. I lean towards little tragedies and life’s mysteries, but what ends up on the page is usually determined by forces within me but outside of my control.

English: This systematic overview categorizes ...

Look, a graphic from Wikipedia. . (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

3. Why do I write what I do?

I started my blog as a place to practice my writing. I am a firm believer that public humiliation is the best way to hone a craft, and a subscribe to Malcolm Gladwell’s belief that one must put 10,000 hours into something before you can become really good at it. (I know what you are thinking. No, I don’t think I have reached the 10,000 hour platform.)

Almost everything that ends up on my blog is something related to my life. Somebody said (Plato? Emerson? Elvis?) that an unexamined life is not worth living. I think my blogging is a way for me to examine my life.

After the death of my student I decided that writing a novel was what I must do. I don’t know why but that is what I decided. I wasn’t sure what I would write, but one day I saw a picture of a baseball signed by the artist Vermeer. The article was about art fraud but the picture kick a hole open in my brain and I began to think about a baseball league that could have formed in Paris in the 1920’s between the artists and writers who lived there at that time. It started there…and then I read 50 books (really, I’m that mental)…and then I rewrote the novel 20,000 times (this is hyperbole)…and entered it in some contests…and rewrote it again…and now I think I am done with it. I am very proud of my work and think it has improved each time I completed it.

4. How does my writing process work?

I try to write each morning from 5am to 6am during my work year. It is the only free time I have since I have to attend rap concerts, watch Mad Men, see any televised sporting event that is mildly interesting, and eat.

My blogs write themselves. I sit down with an idea or something that happened and just let it go. I let my little muse go and I don’t worry too much about what comes out.

When I write fiction I take my time. I write, edit, write, edit, let the work age like a cheap wine, and then let my mind fix things. My subconscious is a much better writer than I am, my subconscious is also a much darker place than my working mind. I think that is because it is hard for light to get past my thick skull.

 

Pieter Claeszoon - Still Life with a Skull and...

Not my actual skull, but give me five more years. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

And now I will pass the hot potato to two more bloggers.

The first blogger is one I discovered through Scott’s blog. She always had funny comments and so I followed her little picture thingy to her blog and found out that her blog posts were just as good as her comments. Traci writes about her life, her work, and her family. She has a quiet humor and there is a kindness to her writing that can only come from someone who lives in the southern United States. Check her out here: http://tracicarver.com/

My second blogger is CherryReads. Cherry’s blog is very focused: Free Hockey Romances. What is a Free Hockey Romance? Well, they are romance novels about hockey that Cherry can get for free. Her reviews of these novels are always hilarious. I don’t know much about hockey (and from the sounds of it that would not prevent me from writing a hockey romance) but that has not stopped me from really enjoying her work. You can find her blog here: http://hockeyromancereviews.wordpress.com/

Traci and Cherry, it is now up to you to pass along this chain-letter-blog-thing to two more bloggers (if you want, or you can ignore the whole thing and risk the 7 years of bad luck).

 

Categories: Ramblings, Uncategorized

10 replies »

  1. Just give me a minute to re-adjust my sense of humour, for that too is upside down. And we don’t lose to the All Blacks, all the time, just most of the time.

    Great response, but I’ve got a question: Why write a novel about French artists in the 1920’s? No, I don’t accept answers like “Cause I can.” or “Why not?”

    Humour me, I’m intrigued. And that takes a lot, as I have recently diagnosed myself with Adult ADHD.

    • The novel really centers around Hemingway and a fictional character who brings baseball to Paris. In Hemingway’s A Moveable Feast he says that he first met Fitzgerald at the Dingo Bar with a baseball player named Dunc Chaplin. I began to add up all of the artists and writers in the city at that time and found out there were plenty to form baseball teams. James Joyce, Pablo Picasso, John Dos Passos, ee cummings….so that is how I got it rolling.

  2. Jon, that was awesome. I’m so glad I chose you to bother with this. I loved this line: “I am very proud of my work and think it has improved each time I completed it.” in the ‘I wish I had written that’ kind of way. It sums up novel writing perfectly.

    And how did you discover the Google value of your blog? That tidbit is immensely entertaining and baffling. I think you should sell before the bottom falls out of the blogosphere.

    Keep us informed about the publishing progress. It takes me a good year to read a book these days, so I want to get an early start.

  3. Unreal! Thank you. I wondered why my blog traffic was up. And by up, I mean that someone read it. Somehow, you always manage to read and comment without any traffic appearing on my little charty-thing (to use the technical term.) Unless you’re a ghost.

    “Free hockey romances!” Sounds like the battle cry for a revolution.

  4. Thanks for the nomination, Jon. I was already on board with your book about Paris, but I was scandalized by the fact that I could hang a price tag on my blog. If I divide the worth by the number of hours I’ve put into it, I probably owe Google a tidy sum.
    And I often ponder the impact I have on student writers. Not the grade that they earn, but how they see themselves as writers. I know that some walk away feeling confident and even reborn to a process that used to cause them pain, but I wonder if others think, “Hell will be an endless string of Ms. Carver’s writing prompts.”

    • I’m pretty sure my blog is really worth $0, but I believe everything I read on the internet. Guiding developing writers is difficult because there is a very fine line between building confidence and giving constructive criticism.

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