Last week, I was asked to be part of a blog train. If you are unfamiliar with the term, a blog train is a bit like a chain letter but without the need for stamps and call for world peace. On Monday, the bloggers who “rode” the train the prior week write a post answering a few questions and featuring three of their favorite blogs. The featured bloggers keep the train moving the following week by doing the same.
I became a passenger on the train via Gina Wagner at The Daily B.
To be featured on Gina’s blog was an honor. Though she writes everything from memoir to adventure features, I have always loved her work on Daily B. She provides a fresh and realistic view of parenting, with a focus on wonder. A gifted photographer, her pictures capture the small moments that make each day extraordinary. Reading her blog is a bit of a reminder to slow down and experience beauty.
Gina is also a champion of writers. I have no doubt that she gets bombarded with questions about breaking into the writing game. I did not want to be another person asking for free advice, but as I got to know her, we naturally gravitated to talking about writing. She encouraged me to take my writing to the next level- I think she believed I could transition into paid gigs long before I ever did.
Thank you so much for all of your help, and the chance to hitch a ride on this train!
Ok, the questions:
1. What are you working on? I have a couple of articles that will be published in the July edition of Tail Winds magazine. One is about surviving the Arizona heat by mountain biking at night. The other is about budget adventure getaways.
I have also submitted a children’s book to publishers and agents. It is a modern fable, following the adventures of a girl whose mother is a bird and father is a fish. It plays on the idea of how the definition of family is changing, and children can benefit from the experiences of differing backgrounds.
Finally, I am in the process of editing a sci-fi short story, inspired by a gentleman in my neighborhood who I call “The Wanderer.” He looks a bit like an older version of Gallagher, and I see him walking the street every day, all over town. I see him so often and in such different locations, I began to wonder who he is and why he is always walking.
2. How does your work differ from others of the genre? I am a feminist and I think most of my work, whether it is fiction, essay, or service, has a distinct feminist bent. My blog and service pieces have always chronicled my adventures in trying new activities, such as mountain biking and triathlon training. I am not a natural athlete. I’m clumsy, chubby, and middle aged. But I want to make my life as joy filled as it can be. I like to think if other women see someone like me out there going after my dreams, they might be inspired to do the same.
3. Why do I write what I do? I have always written, from the time I could hold a pencil. The middle finger on my right hand bends to the right and has a permanent bump of scar tissue. It is from writing stories as a child and holding the pencil for so long and with such intensity.
I started writing the stories for my blog initially as a way to navigate the course of being a new parent. After my second child, I felt like I was exiled to my home- I always had one kid napping. Writing my blog became my way to communicate with the outside world. Once the nap schedule loosened up and I got a little better at the mommy stuff, I just kept writing. I found the act provided clarity in my mind and a way to commemorate all these astounding experiences that make up my life.
4. How does your writing process work? Since I have two small children, finding time to write is challenging. I always get so annoyed with famous writers when they are asked for writing advice and they say something like “find time to write every day.” That just doesn’t happen for some of us.
Knowing my actual writing time is limited, I tend to write the story in my head over the course of the day- which is also why my writing tends to be whatever is currently happening in my life. I ponder the subject as I’m taking my son to preschool, playing superheroes, or making lunch. If I think of a great line or an important point, I jot down a little note so I don’t forget. When I sit down to physically type the story, the process is pretty quick because I’ve been refining it in my mind for hours. I am also lucky because I have a husband who watches the kids while I visit coffee shops and pubs on the weekends, writing stories while I sip coffee or beer.
Now, for the next riders!
1. Gus Sanchez is the voice behind Out Where The Buses Don’t Run.
What I love about Gus’s blog is that by giving us a look at his life as a writer, he inspires the rest of to get to work. He uses his blog to build a community of writers, featuring guest bloggers, posting calls for submissions (one of which landed me a spot in a book. Thanks Gus!), and his popular “Insecure Writers Support Group” posts. He doesn’t offer the same bland, generic advice- he delves into the nitty gritty of trying to be a writer in the midst of actually living life. He also happens to be funny as hell- just check out his bio to confirm.
2. Ryan Lowery writes about politics and other societal issues for various publications, and features many of those articles on his blog.
What I really like about Ryan’s writing is that he gets past the rhetoric and focuses on the story beyond the politics. For example, Ryan recently penned an article about living on minimum wage, a reality for millions of people. He could have issued the standards quotes from the left and right arguing over Obamacare, but he chose to take the angle of the person existing in that reality- what is it like to live on $7.25 an hour? Ryan’s speaks his mind and in the process speaks for many voices who might not be heard.
3. Beth and Bob are the team behind Babu Radio:
Ok, I took a little liberty with the word “blog,” but what is a podcast other than a verbal blog? A radio program hosted by an former stripper and an ex-con/semi-pro poker player/cab driver, covering topics like domination, erotica, D&D, H.R. Giger and anything else that happens to cross their minds. I have never met Beth, but Bob is one of the most hilarious and talented people I have ever come across. For years, I have been saying he should become a comedian. A pod cast is actually better because I can listen to him every week.
Check these people out! You won’t be sorry.