Trista Hendren, author of The Girl God and Mother Earth, has invited me to join the #mywritingprocess blog tour, a great opportunity for writers to discuss their work and connect with one another, and for readers to take a peek behind the scenes. Here are my answers to four questions about my writing process:
1) What am I working on?
I’m researching a book entitled American Sexism: Questions and Answers that will answer questions about sexism for a general audience, via feminist terms and concepts. This book approaches feminist issues from the perspective of someone who is steeped in mainstream culture and has ideas, both conscious and unconscious, that are shaped by it. It will include chapters on media, sexuality and relationships, work, violence, and politics.
2) How does my work differ from others of its genre?
American Sexism differs from other feminist “primers” in that it begins where the audience is—steeped in the questions and assumptions we see around us in the media every day, and trying to sort through them in the context of individual experience. I am bringing my skills as a technical writer to this book, creating lists of “frequently asked questions” and presenting them in topic form. The book is also informed by my experience as a blogger and gender studies professor—I believe many people have feminist questions, but wouldn’t necessarily name them as such.
3) Why do I write what I do?
I am deeply passionate in my belief that all people should be free to pursue their unique talents and gifts, to do meaningful work, to have loving, fulfilling relationships, and to accept, love, and embrace themselves. Sexism, racism, homophobia, and other forms of discrimination create external and internal barriers to all of these things, and hurt every one of us.
4) How does my writing process work?
When I’m blogging, I tend to write quickly, pulling in information from books, articles, etc. that sometimes surprises me. I usually have a topic and a direction in mind, but I have no idea exactly what is going to come out until it does. Then I let it go, because it’s time to move on to the next thing.
When writing fiction, I need time, space, and quiet. These things do not often coincide in my life, so I tend to write fiction slowly, here and there. When a draft is complete, I send it to a reader, or not. I revise once, or twice, or three times. When it is done and the final line resonates, I let it go. Because it is time to move on to the next thing.
I suspect that I’ll write my nonfiction books—American Sexism, and the next one, Reclaiming Venus—via a combination of these processes. I’ll need more time, space, and quiet, and more revision, than I give to my blog posts. But I won’t have the luxury of working piecemeal over a long time. This will be my next adventure, and I look forward to it.
Next Up: Julie Brooks Barbour
Next up on the #mywritingprocess blog tour is a wonderful poet—Julie Brooks Barbour, who blogs here. Ms. Barbour is the author of Small Chimes (Aldrich Press, 2014) and two chapbooks: Earth Lust (forthcoming from Finishing Line Press, 2014) and Come To Me and Drink (Finishing Line Press, 2012). Her poems have appeared in Waccamaw, diode, storySouth, Prime Number Magazine, The Rumpus, The Lindenwood Review, Midwestern Gothic, Blue Lyra Review, and Verse Daily. She is co-editor of the journal Border Crossing and an Associate Poetry Editor at Connotation Press: An Online Artifact. She teaches composition and creative writing at Lake Superior State University. Visit her online at juliebrooksbarbour.com