The Writing Process Blog Tour

I find it funny that my first post after a three month blogging hiatus concerns my writing process. For all you know, I haven’t written since my last post way back on April 15. But I can assure you that much writing has occurred this summer. In fact, I’ve experienced some writerly firsts this summer. I attended my first writers’ conference–the Yale Writers’ Conference. The amazing Terra Elan McVoy taught an exhilarating Children’s & YA session over the five days and I made some great friends.

That alone would have made the summer a success from a writing perspective, but then in July I was lucky enough to attend the Midwest Writers Workshop. My time at Yale felt like a writer’s retreat. This felt like a writer’s baptism by fire. Over three days, we learned about the publishing industry, market trends, how to pitch to an agent, how to create suspense in our writing, and so much more. Another energetic YA session, this time taught by Daniel Jose Older, kicked off the conference. And by the end of the weekend, I had another first–my first request for pages from an agent!

Amid all that excitement, I met even more great writer-friends and one of them, Kathy Palm, invited me to join the Writing Process Blog Tour. At first I felt hesitant–what does someone at the very beginning of her fiction writing career have to share that others might want to read? Then I realized that while my fiction career is in its infancy, I’ve been meeting various writing deadlines for a couple of decades now. So what the heck. Here goes!

What am I currently working on?

I am working on a middle-grade adventure story–think The Giver meets Hatchet–called The Outlands that I started as part of NaNoWriMo in November 2013.

How does my work differ from others in its genre?

There are so many great things going on in middle grade right now. But what I’m missing as I read is a good old fashioned survival story like My Side of the Mountain. I am very interested in medicinal uses for native plants, so that definitely comes into play on Elias’s journey.

Why do I write what I write?

Two reasons: my children, Gabriel & Lily. They fall into the middle grade age range right now. Not only does that mean that I’m previewing a lot of middle grade for them, but also that I hear the thoughts and dialog of middle grade children all day long. That has been really helpful as I fleshed out Elias and his friends.

How does my writing process work?

I used to get by just franticly scribbling things down as a deadline loomed. Now that I’m a full-time mother and a full-time writer, I have to be a lot more disciplined. I try to write every morning, Monday through Friday, while the children are in school and if I’m really in a groove, or I miss a morning session, I write in the evenings after they’re in bed as well. This summer has been a huge challenge because we’ve been traveling all summer. Making time to write was often impossible, but luckily I’m in revision right now, which is a little easier to do in fits and starts than generating new content, which I prefer to do in longer uninterrupted blocks so I can really get into the flow.

And now…I’d like to introduce some of my writing friends who I’ve invited to play along:

I met Jilly Gagnon at Yale Writers’ Conference this summer. She’s smart, hilarious, and writes both YA and adult humor. Check out her blog, It’s (not) Just Another Writer’s Blog.

When Sara Toole Miller and I first met, she was still Sara Toole. Little did I know that my fellow DePauw alum and I would reconnect years later to share the joys and woes of the writing life. Her blog is a great resource for writers!

If I had to describe Gail Werner in two words, it would be: writing twin! When we met at the Midwest Writer’s Workshop, magic happened. We just couldn’t stop talking (I know that surprises those of you who know us in real life). Check out her blog and also her amazing photography!