my writing process

My dear friend Kerstin Auer of Auer Life invited me to write about my writing process. She writes about her process here. If you are not reading her blog, you should. If you get a chance to have breakfast with her, you should do that too! She is fun and funny, smart and thoughtful. She is honest and herself – which is what I like about her the most. And? Her kids are hilarious.

What am I working on:
Fancy Feet is going to be an audio book! So everyone will soon be able to hear me tell my story. I’m waiting for the details right now. While there isn’t a second book yet, the book I have pored over for 3 years will be offered in a new way and I’m very excited about that.
I haven’t been here at my blog as much as I would like to be, but you’ll find me at other places, soon to appear at Bonbon Break. You can also find me in high schools telling my story, giving presentations on road safety for ICBC. After Fancy Feet became FANCY FEET, writing at my desk for hours each day was set aside to promote, sign books and worry that people are tired of me.

How does my work differ from others in its genre:
There are many brilliant writers out there, people who are achingly good whose work is inspirational. I can learn from them, but I can’t be them. I know my limits. While I strive to get better, I know I’m not a genius and I don’t pretend to be one. I don’t substitute big words for small words if small words suffice. I know how to string a sentence together. Voice is what makes all writers’ work unique and sets work apart. As I write I ask: is this true to me, to my voice?

Why do I write what I do:
I love writing and over the years that love has grown. My blog has given me an incredible opportunity to meet and connect with people. I love that thing that happens when you write something, compelling people to exclaim, “Me too!” Relating and sharing and the exchanging of stories are the best parts of blogging. I write because I can’t help myself. It is something that’s inside me. I feel at home among words, so I’m challenged and content all at the same time when I’m reading or working on a new piece. My blog has been a great platform to practice the craft of writing.

How does my writing process work:
Quiet. I need quiet. I can’t write with noise. I write best when I am alone. Scott works from home in the basement and I’m irritated if I hear the scrape of a chair or a muffled voice on the phone. When I hear his footsteps on the stairs, I actually bristle. You writers know what I’m talking about. Woe to the person who interrupts the writing zone. Yes, I am that precious.
If I’m stuck and hit a wall (you know that black hole where any skill you thought you had is sucked up, up and away) I take a break. I get up from my chair, have a snack or run an errand. That last sentence or the right word will often find me in the car or as I’m stuffing clothes into the washer. Books are good influences and triggers, too. Getting into someone else’s story makes room for my own. Writing is creative and sometimes we need for inspiration to find us, but it’s also a discipline. In order to write, I need to write.

Final thoughts:
Kerstin talks about bringing a notebook with her wherever she goes. When I worked on my manuscript a good friend gave me a notebook and it was one of the best writerly gifts I was given. I tucked it into my purse and any idea, thought…good, bad…went into this book. I dated it, so I knew when I had this profound or pathetic musing. Another wonderful gift given to me was Stephen King’s book: On Writing. It is the best book I have ever read about writing.

7 thoughts on “my writing process

  1. Kerstin

    Thanks so much for your kind words! You know how I feel about you, right?!
    I am determined to have another brunch (or even coffee) date this year – you up for it?
    Also – yay for Fancy Feet being an audio book, can’t wait for that!

  2. Robbie

    I find the scrapping chair very amusing!! I’m one extreme or the other…complete silence or Pandora cranked, dishwasher running, tv on, kids fighting, sitting in the middle of it all pounding away on the keyboard.

  3. tara pohlkotte

    someday girl. we are going to sit and talk and not talk for hours 🙂 i am so pumped for the audio version! something i am learning is how important my actual voice is to how i write, something i wasn’t even aware of until i began getting opportunities to read my work out loud. so to get to hear your words in your voice? get out of here. fan girl mad blush happening. thank you for always showing up, for glaring at your husband and getting those words down. i need them. always.

  4. julie gardner

    First, I am THRILLED to be reading a new post from you. Yay!

    Second, I hear you on the need for quiet. I not only need a silent house, I prefer an empty one. My husband’s work schedule is unpredictable and if he finds himself at home during the day, I have so much trouble getting anything done. Even if he is silently working at his computer downstairs.

    I twitch and fret at mine.

    Why is that???

    Third, I agree with you on the ‘getting up from your desk’ when you’re stuck. It totally works. And ON WRITING is spot on with every piece of advice.

    The one element of your writing process I haven’t tried is carrying around a notebook.
    But you can bet I’m considering it now.

    Lastly, I love your words. Can’t wait to HEAR them and P.S. I’ll never get sick of you!

  5. michelle

    “I write because I can’t help myself.” Me too! My husband retired and my writing space is upstairs. SO can relate to bristling when you hear footsteps on the stairs. My thought is “Please let me write this down before he interrupts me and it is lost forever.” (Because of course whatever it is is brilliant and profound, I’m sure.) Thanks so much for the insight into your process.

  6. Dana

    I just love all these writing process posts! I’m about to write my own, so I feel happy to be in such good company.

    I just recently read Stephen King’s book, “On Writing” and was a bit surprised how helpful it was. For a while I assumed (wrongly!) that it wouldn’t apply to my kind of writing. Another fantastic writing book that I love even more, is the new book by Dani Shapiro called, “Still Writing.” It’s so inspiring and filled with wonderful advice.

  7. Alison

    I love reading this, Heidi. Especially since I have read your book (and OMG audio book, so exciting!), and can now imagine you writing in the quiet. Thank you for sharing.

    PS: I love Stephen King’s On Writing. It’s my writing bible.

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