Grace Peterson, friend and author of REACHING–A Memoir, invited me to participate in this blog hop and answer four questions about my writing process. I haven’t blogged anything in quite some time and so I am grateful for this opportunity. I invite you to visit Grace’s blog and check out her memoir on Amazon. What a fascinating story she has to tell!

1. What am I working on?

My one goal this year is to work on my second memoir, a follow on from my first book, and the story of my journey from grief to grace. I can’t tell you much more about it at this time as the book is still a work in progress, much like myself. I find that writing is similar to sculpture, or any other art form. You begin with a blank page, an open canvas or a block of wood, and as you continue, even the artist herself is amazed at what emerges from the bareness. It will certainly be a lighter read than my first book, It Rains In February, which covers the story of my husband’s suicide.

2. How does my work differ from others of its genre?

No story in and of itself is unique. Yet there is only one person who can tell a particular story, their story, in their own voice, and that is what makes each work unique.

3. Why do I write what I do?

I am a storyteller by nature and telling real-life stories is a part of my life. A friend once laughed as she remarked on how I could formulate a simple trip to the grocery store into an interesting story. My writing journey began by journaling my way through pain and grief, which ultimately transformed into my first published book. Writing is a voyage of self-discovery for me and I wonder now how I ever managed without it. Writing has become my form of healing. I write to try and make sense of the inexplicable. I write to put my memories on paper, for my children. I try to do what every writer aspires to, and that is to evoke strong emotions within a reader. I write from the heart and share my stories in the hope that it will not only bring me clarity, but may also provide entertainment, insight and inspiration to others. I write to give hope in a world where there often isn’t any. Stories connect us all and give us a reason to believe that the impossible can be possible.

4. How does my writing process work?

Stories swim around my head all day, every day. Unfortunately, not all of them make their way onto paper. In one moment to the next, a whole story can disappear as my thoughts stray to the shopping list or some other task that requires my attention. I try to make it a priority to scribble down even just one snippet of a thought, in the hope that the memory will return to me later when I have time to sit down and concentrate. I do not write in consecutive order or linear time. I write what comes into my mind or heart. A feeling, a smell, a reminder, a look from a stranger, a dream, or a song on the radio that stirs up a memory.

Books, however, do not write themselves and it is vital to set aside regular dedicated writing slots where there are no other distractions. For me, this happens at night time after the rest of the world has settled down. This is not necessarily the time when inspiration flows, so I’ll often use this opportunity to look at my random notes and attempt to continue the thought process. It also helps me to have some goals in place. This year I have committed to write something every day, even if it is only one sentence. And I have a goal to finish my current book by the end of this year. I have discovered a nifty writing tool, Scrivener, which I am using to create my new book.

* * *

Leila Summers is a storyteller, writer and personal coach with a love for all things creative and human. She lives in South Africa with her two daughters and animal friends. Leila published her first book, It Rains in February: A Wife’s Memoir of Love and Loss, in 2011 and is currently working on her second memoir.

Many thanks to Grace for tagging me. To keep the blog hop going, I have been asked to tag some blogging author friends.  I invite you to visit their blogs next Monday, March 10th, to read about their own writing processes.

June Collins made international news headlines in 1969 when she became a whistle-blower and testified before a U.S. Senate Committee. She pointed the finger at a group of corrupt American Army sergeants who had made millions in Vietnam by demanding kickbacks from all booking agents and sales people. June, an ex exotic dancer, had provided rock bands to the US military camps during the war. After destroying her business by listening to her conscience, she made a comeback when The Khaki Mafia, (co-authored with Robin Moore, author of The French Connection) was published and became a best seller book. During her many years living in Asia, June had become appalled by the plight of the abandoned street children. In her home country, Australia, adoption was near impossible. Therefore, she chose to remain in the USA. Eventually she was able to adopt six children, ranging in age from three to thirteen, from India, Korea, Columbia and the USA. Once the children were grown she again turned to writing and has written two more books. Goodbye Junie Moon is the non-fictionalized story about her encounters with The Khaki Mafia. The sequel, Junie moon Rising, shows her recovery from PTSD after the war ends and she tries to fit back into civilian life. Following a turbulent life, she now resides in relative tranquility on a mountain top overlooking the ocean in Queensland, Australia. Find out more about June at her blog and on Facebook and Twitter.

Curious about everything, Faith A. Colburn earned an undergraduate degree in journalism and political science, then got a job as public information officer for a state game and fish management agency. After more than a decade with the state agency, she moved back to the family farm for another decade where she went bankrupt with her husband. (The timing was awful, just before the beginning of her generation’s farm crisis.) Next, she earned a master’s degree in journalism and went to work for a social ministry organization that provided services for people with developmental disabilities. Downsized from that job, she signed on as a communication specialist for a university research and extension center. From there, she went on to earn a master of arts in English – Creative Writing, receiving the outstanding work of fiction award in 2009 and the outstanding thesis in the college of fine arts and humanities award in 2012. She has three sons, a step-daughter, and step-son. She currently has two books available in paperback and ebook formats, Threshold: A Memoir and From Picas to Bytes, and is currently working on a novel based on the lives of a big band singer and a shell-shocked World War II vet. The award-winning short story, Driving: A Short Story, is available on Amazon.com. She blogs at faithanncolburn.com and maintains a Facebook page.

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2 Responses to The Writing Process Blog Hop

  1. Jennifer B says:

    We miss you and wonder what you’ve been doing when you’re not writing. Sending good thoughts across the globe from Colorado.

  2. Jenny, I miss you all too, and I am planning on continuing writing on my blog more this year, 2015. Hope you had a wonderful holiday season, and that this year brings good things to you and your children. x

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