My Writing Life

Yellow Deli
This is a photo from the Yellow Deli, a really popular study spot in Chattanooga. I can’t tell you how many papers I wrote there.


I’ve been talking about writing a lot here. I didn’t exactly plan to, but whenever I would think about a blog post, I always wanted to write about the creative process, about tips and tricks I’ve picked up, about favorite authors or artists opening up their studios and giving away their secrets. I can be an oversharer of things I like (hopefully not of TMI), and I love when others share what makes them tick.


But I started thinking, you guys don’t necessarily know about my writing life outside of this blog (unless you happen to know me outside of the internet). You won’t find my name on the New York Times Bestseller List or my picture in the back of a book at your favorite bookstore. I haven’t won any awards or prizes or even been published (unless presenting at a conference counts? Still not sure about that one.). So if you’re wondering why I’m talking about writing all the time or if I know what I’m talking about, I get it. So I decided to share a little bit about my writing… history? Experience? Now that’s a scary word.


I grew up reading all the time. I was terrible at sports but good at words, so I read all the books I could get my hands on. And while I loved reading, I didn’t really think about being a writer myself until I was in 6th grade, when Miss Shoup noticed that I liked writing, and encouraged me to keep up with it. She deserves a medal for that, because I found some of my elementary and middle school writing and journals this summer and it was HORRIFYING. But she still somehow found good things to say about it. I think that’s the mark of a great teacher- encouraging you while still pushing you to be better- and I’m really lucky to have had lots of great teachers.


In high school I wrote mostly research papers and a terrible poem here and there, but I was excited for college because then I would finally get to write fiction! And then I went to Covenant, which has a great, academically-focused English program. Oops. So I still wrote mostly research papers (usually at the Yellow Deli or another coffee shop if I could), and even got to give presentations at two academic conferences (which still blows my mind), and took creative writing classes whenever I could. Even when I was supposed to be working on other writing projects, I was always daydreaming about characters and plotlines, but I always decided that my ideas were stupid before I got very far. (To be fair to past-me, I’ve read through some of my old character descriptions and plotlines and they are, in fact, pretty stupid. A lot of my main characters mysteriously resemble my middle/ high school crushes, so I’m ok with the fact that those stories never saw the light of day.)


So now that I’m out of college and working a real job, my writing life looks pretty different. I have a self-imposed deadline for blog posts, so that makes sure that I don’t completely slack off on the writing front. I’m working on a fantasy novel inspired by one of my creative writing classes from my senior year. I’m thinking it’d be for middle grades, but I’m not 100% sure about that yet. I’m still working out the kinks, figuring out what my bad habits are (procrastinating, falling down the swirling vortex that is “research,” etc.). Sometimes the mindlessness of watching TV is really appealing after a long day at work, but I really want my writing to be that fulfilling hobby to come home to everyday. I read this blog post about Erin Boyle’s writing process for her book the other day, and I think I’m going to try out a similar process. Have a little writing “nook” (ideally a cute little office space, but this is real life, so probably the dining room table or the couch). Drink hot chocolate. Write. That sounds so nice, and I’m kind of excited for it.


So, what do you guys think? Was this interesting? Self-indulgent? (Yes, probably, but oh well.)  I’m toying with the idea of mixing in some more fiction-process-things, along with other booky, foodie, blogger things. We’ll see. And if you’ve made it this far, thank you. I really appreciate you for reading my words.

I’m going to L.A. tomorrow for a whirlwind weekend, which is crazy and exciting because I’ve never been! I have one gift guide queued for you over the weekend, and then I’ll be back next week!

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