My Writing Life, From the Ground up: Blog Hop

I was tagged by Jordan Rosenfeld in the Writing Process Blog Hop. Here’s her blog, and now for mine:

(1) What am I working on? 

Three books, actually, all in their early stages.

For years, I’ve been picking up and putting down a childhood memoir, and it’s finally gaining some steam and courage behind it. Every time I work on it, I find I’ve grown into a new perspective and am able to give it a little more maturity, which I suppose is what I’ve been waiting for.

I’ve also outlined and started writing a book called, “Yoga for Writers” that provides physical, mental, and soulful advice for staying present and available to the page.

Lastly, I’ve been writing a book of essays—loosely woven together by my lifelong passion for the woods—that explores issues from childhood and nature, to mental illness and parenting.

Meanwhile, I’ve also been publishing essays related to my books in progress through my column, “At the Root of Things,” on the popular website and in various other locations, such as, and

I work as a freelance editor, and I just completed the first in a series of blogs with self-editing advice for writers, “The Magic of Expanded Dialogue Tags: Tips to Build Strong Characters and Draw Readers into Your Story,” which appears on my own website,

(2) How does my work differ from others in its Genre/s?

In all three of my non-fiction books—even my more instructional yoga book—I borrow heavily from traditional fictional techniques, like writing with a strong hand for imagery and figurative language, while staying rooted in truth and clarity.

(3) Why do I write what I do?

I’m compelled to. When I was in high school and college, I tried to write fiction. It always came out like a horrible, slightly fictionalized version of my life. All my closest friends know that if I’m not writing, I’m not functional. It’s how I process my life and my deepest feelings.

(4) How does your writing process work? 

Inspiration often comes from a conversation or from the way I finish a discussion in my head.

I’m also a kinesthetic thinker: ideas arrive while showering, driving the minivan, riding the spin bike, running, or breathing in yoga class. None of these provide convenient access for recording the thoughts of my forgetful brain.

After years of torn envelope corners dangerously shredded all over my driver’s console and my purse with unintelligible markings, the yellow notepad on my iPhone with the microphone quickly grew indispensable.

In fact, despite a thousand cracks in my phone, I’m afraid to replace it because I don’t trust the transition of all my ideas to some “cloud,” then onto to my new phone.

As a story brews, I add to the ideas, email them to my computer when I have the chance, where sitting down without a blank screen no longer daunts me.  Instead, I’m magnetically drawn there by the raw material that already awaits me: snatches of dialogue, images from an event, sensory description of an emotional moment, descriptions of a person.

Next week, you’ll hear from Tomi Wiley James, a superbly talented fiction writer from Tennessee.


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