For something a bit different here today, I’ve been invited by Mama’s Empty Nest to participate in a blog hop post! It’s all about blog writing today, and I was asked to share my thoughts on the four questions below. If you would like to read her great blog hop post from last Monday, please check out her wonderful blog soon!
Since this is a blog hop, I would also like to invite you to participate, if you would like to do so. If you would like to respond to these same questions in your own dedicated post next Monday, one week from today, please leave me a comment below with a link to your own post, and I will add a link to your post here. I would love to read your thoughts on this topic!
If you are a new visitor to my blog, welcome! I’m glad you’re here, so grab a cub of coffee and come sit on my porch with me!
As a little background, I have written regularly in blogs for over ten years now. On the advice of a dear friend, I first began writing in a private blog journal during a particularly difficult time in my life, and I was hooked almost immediately for several reasons. The primary benefit that I experienced from writing regularly was the opportunity to really examine my thoughts in a much deeper way. In essence, I was my own fan, as well as my own critic, along with what I truly believe was some serious divine intervention in a few instances, and I have treasured this growth process ever since. I still keep a private blog journal today.
A couple of years after I started my private blog, I then joined a mostly private group of blogging moms that I thoroughly enjoyed via a social network that was completely new to me, and I made several long-distance friends there that are even Facebook friends today. Sadly, it fell apart due to issues with that network at that time, but I’m glad to still be able to keep up with some of those dear friends that I made there, even though our interactions are much more limited via Facebook. I enjoyed writing at that previous site so much, though, and I also enjoyed reading the posts of my friends there. We found an online kinship that was new to me, but I also found that I really loved writing more than ever, too.
Even before this special network fell apart, though, I made a decision to finally create a public blog for topics and thoughts that I wanted to share in a more public format. After my previous experience with a network that went down completely, I also wanted to create a blog at a place that I felt would not experience those same issues of viability long-term. With that desire in mind, I opted for WordPress, and I have not regretted that decision at all. My public space here has been a true joy for me, and over the past year, I once again renewed my commitment to post regularly and continually improve my writings.
With that background in place, please hop on down with me to the questions for today!
1. How does my creating process work?
My creating process for each post usually starts with an idea or experience that interests me to a point that I want to both share it with readers (both present and possible future readers) and preserve it in a written format for myself. If an idea meets both of these criteria, I then move on to the next step. If not, I will just write in my private blog or share those thoughts via an Instagram picture or a Facebook post, if appropriate.
First, I begin with a quick draft where I write down a list of main thoughts for the entire post, refraining from going into detail until later in the process. Often, this is as far as I will get with a post because if I am not happy with the main points, I do not pursue that topic further.
The next step in the process is to add the detailed thoughts, and this is what can get me in trouble in a hurry. I can bloviate with the best of them, and I frequently must go back and condense, condense, condense. Often, this is where I am fact-checking for details as needed, too, such as “What was the name of that cute little bakery where we stopped in Big Sur that had the beautiful garden?” Google search is a life saver sometimes, isn’t it? Somewhere in this lengthy process, I finally come to a point in this detailed process where I am satisfied that I have conveyed my points concisely and accurately and hopefully with a little personality and fun.
My final steps in writing a post are to check for basic errors and to re-read it as if I was a reader that was not familiar with the topic at all. I also allow for a style of conversational talk in most posts, too. I am not writing a paper for college English here – been there, done that – and I want to convey my thoughts in my own unique voice most of the time. Of course, the final step is checking for possible spelling and grammatical errors, and I try to put my best effort into proofreading.
As I said, this is usually how my writing process works, but there are times that I just throw caution to the wind and just type and post, kind of like the “grip it and rip it” theory in golf. Sometimes that is simply the best approach, too. As I think back on memorable posts that others have written, I certainly remember several posts that seemed to fall into this last category and were so striking and heartfelt in the process.
Occasionally, I will also participate in “photo only” posts, particularly on Wordless Wednesdays. I dearly love photography, but right now, I am experiencing a bit of a “drought” as far as inspiration in this area. This makes me sad, and I hope to break out of this “drought” very soon.
2. How does my work differ from others of its genre?
My posts here at My Five Fs fall into five main categories (genres) that most interest me, day in and day out. Unlike some bloggers who keep a more narrow focus of just one category of writings on their blog, I chose to encompass these five categories of writings on my blog when I began writing here four years ago. This broader focus allows me to write about the things that are on my mind and heart the most at any given time, and it helps me to stay inspired to write. I would likely become a bit bored if I only focused on one area, so this format seems to work well for me to help me stay motivated to write.
Different people blog for different reasons, and some also attempt to derive income or notoriety from their blogs. My Five Fs is a more personal space for me to share some things that I believe some others might be interested in reading, even if the readers are more interested in one specific category here than the others. This blog also allows me a place to challenge myself in my writing activities, which is one of my empty nest goals. I have always loved to write but seldom had the time to really do so regularly until this stage of my life.
Even after four years of writing here at My Five Fs, I still want to challenge myself to expand my writings in all five categories even more. Finding free time to write is still a frequent challenge for me, but I hope to pursue this goal going forward to hopefully include more creative writing adventures (fun), more food and diet posts (food), more posts related to current books I’m reading (faith, fun), some “throwback” posts (family, food, fun), and some posts specifically related to topics of timely interest to explore further in my own faith walk (faith).
3. What am I working on?
I have several things in process here at My Five Fs at this time. I have some travel posts in process from recent trips that were quite memorable for me, including my long weekend trip back in June where I took my 93 year-young mother and my 83 year-young aunt on a road trip to Oklahoma for the first time all by myself. That was quite a trip, and I have some great stories to tell, as well as even more insights on aging, which seems to be a recurring topic in my life right now for some reason. We also recently took two wonderful RV trips, including our 4th of July trip to the mountains of northern New Mexico with some friends. It was particularly memorable for me this time, as I ended up in the emergency room nearby to get three internal stitches and seven external ones. More to come on that one, but for now, just know that it only took an hour and the trip was still great! I am also considering writing a post on how I recently defended my copyright on three photos on a public Facebook page (that has over 12,000 followers) where a book author actually took outright credit for three of my photos. That was interesting, to say the least. As far as my own Facebook posts, that one went a bit viral among my outraged friends, and their encouragement helped me to set the record straight.
I am also working on a new permanent page that is Texas travel-related, and I have actually been working on it off and on for months. Hopefully it will “make it to print” later this year, and I hope it will be a nice resource page for a few people, too. (9/14/14 – link to permanent page added)
Recently, I considered making some changes to the look of my blog, but after spending quite a bit of time looking at options, I decided that I really am happy with my blog just the way it is right now. Contentment is a wonderful thing.
4. Why do I create what I do?
I generally write posts that others will hopefully find interesting or perhaps even make them think a bit at times, as well as to challenge myself to be a better writer and explore some topics in a deeper way. I also write a few posts more for myself as a journal entry, knowing all the time that it is something more personal and may not appeal to others so much but still might appeal to some. Over the past four years, I have created a comfortable place here that feels like an “online home” for me, especially since I have also incorporated some other “pieces of life” on the blog, such as my Goodreads updates, my Twitter feed (mostly retweets of tweets I like), and links to sites I frequent in each of my five categories.
To take this final question a bit deeper, though, I felt challenged to start a public blog after attending a commencement ceremony at my daughter’s university when she received her master’s degree a few years ago. The speaker was quite good, and at one point, he specifically challenged the graduates to have a presence online and not let their “voice be silent.” He was addressing that point to the graduates, but this mama also took it to heart. I thought about it for months, and finally decided to work a bit harder to really find my own voice in several ways, including blogging.
I appreciate each and every one of you that spends a little of your precious time here with me when you can, and I will always strive to put my best foot forward for you when you visit, while still keeping things real in the process. Thanks for stopping by today! 😀
Update 9/10/14: This great article, entitled “Kill Your Darlings” is written by the folks at WordPress, and it speaks to the whole “condense, condense, condense” that I spoke of earlier in this post.