My Writing Process Blog Tour
Each week writers and poets are answering a few questions about writing process on their blogs and then they tag other writers to do the same thing a week later.
Also! This is a really good time to link to Finishing Line Press, where my chapbook “Meaningful Fingers” just went on sale this week! These are pre-sales; the chapbook doesn’t actually go to press until July, but every pre-sale informs the number of the press run so, if you have the money and want to help a sister out, I would be really grateful. A lot of the poems in this chapbook were birthed in last year’s NaPoWriMo. Goes to show, you never know what will lead where.
Without further ado (ie: plugging):
1. What are you working on?
Right now I am working on getting together media kits for the release of my chapbook, and trying to book readings and radio spots. Yup, all that for a chapbook. Another chapbook comes out later this Fall with Horse Less Press, so I am working on the marketing pieces for both books at the same time.
I have a few manuscripts out right now that I am trying to find homes for – ranging in length and topic and style. One is a chapbook of poems about the difficulty of relationships and addiction (in a nutshell, so you know, some light reading) that I am trying to publish individual poems from right now and ditto on another chapbook that is mostly a grouping of divorce poems.
Another manuscript is a chapbook of a long series poem that is an Ars Poetica and some of those poems will be featured in the May issue of Right Hand Pointing. They picked me and two other female poets to be featured in an issue. This ms is a tricky one to find the right publishing home for, because it’s really different.
And there is my beast of burden: a full length ms that is a hypertextual reimagining of Little House on the Prairie. Yup. You read that correctly. A few of these pieces will be published soon with Menacing Hedge, an awesome journal.
So… it’s been a very molasses-like process. Everything in publishing seems to move in slow motion. Somewhere in the background there, I am working on another full length manuscript of poetry to have ready to send out early next year.
I’m writing a poem a week for a workshop group I am in and I’m getting ready to write a poem a day in April, because I am insane. I am still writing for the series at Radius Lit on parenthood and poetry and occasionally I contribute other nonfiction to Rattle & Pen. I also just finished up some book reviews for Poetry Crush.
The better question to ask would be: how the fuck do I find time to do this?
2. How does your work differ from others of its genre?
I don’t know that it does. Certainly I write through my own filter and a lot of my work is informed by other works. I don’t want to back myself into a corner by claiming a niche or style since I feel that how and what I write constantly evolves. Even my voice isn’t static. Although, there is a mild theme at play here of riffing on books from my childhood, like the Nancy Drew poems out later this year and the Little House poems.
3. Why do you write what you do?
Poetry is what I studied exclusively in my graduate program, so it is what I know and enjoy. Why poetry? Why not? There is a different freedom with form in poetry than there is with the nonfiction writing I do. It brings me pleasure (and sometimes displeasure) to create and craft and edit.
Why do I write the particular kind of poetry that I write… I don’t know how to answer this. Compulsion? Familiarity? Experimentation? Comfort? Discomfort? Healing? Processing? All of the above? Probably. I’m always trying to make sense of the world around me. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t.
4. What is your writing process?
I write every day, even if it’s just for a few minutes – either online, in a journal, or a notebook. When I’m writing a poem, I’m usually thinking about it and concentrating on concrete images and then I wait for the muse to show up. But whether or not the muse is there, I’m still always writing. I’m a compulsive list maker and highly organized and good at organizing my time, which is not always easy with a small child hanging around. Sometimes the writing flows naturally and sometimes it doesn’t. I’m very deadline-driven, so having goals in place helps me write towards something. I also do a lot of reading and that always informs how and what I’m writing.
So there you go.
I asked writers of fiction and nonfiction and poetry to answer the same questions on their blogs and these are talented writers whose work I find inspiring, fresh, and important.
Annmarie O’Connell resides on the South Side of Chicago. Her work has appeared in Slipstream, Verse Daily, Curbside Splendor and Whiskey Island Magazine. Her chapbook Her Last Cup of Light was recently published by Aldrich Press. You can read her blog at all at once the heart breaks.
Shannon Brugh received her B.A. in English Literature from Washington University and her Masters in Teaching from Seattle University. In addition to her contributions to Rattle & Pen, you can read her personal blog, Becoming Squishy. Shannon still resides in Seattle with her husband and two young sons, and is working on her first book.
Virginia Robinson received her M.A. in Creative Writing at the University of California at Davis. Carrier, her first collection of poetry, was published by Swan Scythe Press in 2005. She has given many readings, most notably at City Lights Bookstore in San Francisco. For the past nine years, she has taught literature and composition and was selected as an workshop instructor for the (In)Visible Memoirs Project in 2012. In addition to her contributions to Rattle & Pen, she also writes for her blog, Minnow Peck, from her home in Chapel Hill, which she shares with her husband and their two daughters.
Kirsten Sundberg Lunstrum is the author of two books of short fiction—This Life She’s Chosen and Swimming With Strangers (both published by Chronicle Books). Her short stories and essays have been published widely in journals, and she has been the recipient of a PEN/O. Henry Prize and fellowships from the Sewanee Writers’ Conference and the MacDowell Colony. Kirsten is the founder and curator of the blog Rattle & Pen, where she sometimes also posts her own short essays on writing and motherhood. She has taught widely across the U.S., but now lives and teaches in Seattle.