Blog tours are always fun and motivating: They’re a great way to share our passions and reach out to fellow enthusiasts and new online readers. I’ve been invited to take part in a “Writing Process Blog Tour” by Joanne Zippel. Thanks, Joanne!
I had the good fortune to meet Joanne at one of her inspiring workshops, “Reaching the Right People.” She’s a creative coach with a background in the theatre who’s dedicated to empowering writers and other artists to balance their creative talents with the practical aspects of pursuing a living in their chosen field. You can find out more about Joanne’s wonderful work at http://www.zipcreative.net/blog.
Now, on to the blog tour theme — an exploration of my writing process:
1) What am I working on? I am currently polishing my latest revision of a Middle Grade (ages 9-12) historical fantasy with a touch of magic realism. My heroine, Britomar, is a 12-year old girl who leaves her idyllic life to masquerade as a boy and become a page to a knight. I’m a nonfiction writer with five books to my credit and have been published by Random House, Henry Holt, and McGraw-Hill. This MG novel is my first foray into fiction and its been a complete joy to work on. Every day I get to play with characters I love and invent a world!
2) How does my work differ from others of its genre? MG/YA fiction is one of the most dynamic areas of publishing right now. Many of the books in the genre focus on contemporary issues, while my adventure story takes place at a distant time and place, when “Englande was young and green.” My book explores relationships, kinship with nature, loyalty, love, and becoming bigger than your fears — all timeless themes — in ways that I believe are fresh and exciting.
3) Why do I write what I do? I love to write: fiction, nonfiction — I love it all! I have many projects in the works, including a play about Sojourner Truth and a screenplay about Oscar Wilde. In the case of my MG novel, I didn’t really choose this genre, it chose me. When I came up with my story and began writing, it naturally evolved into a novel for kids (especially girls!) who love historical fantasy and magic realism. Over time, I hope to expand Britomar’s world into the YA realm.
4) What is my writing process? I find that I’m most productive when I’m in work-play mode. I like to work intensely for blocks of time and then take breaks so I can decompress and let my mind wander and my ideas percolate. I used to get anxious about not being at my desk, but over time, I’ve learned that there’s a natural rhythm to my writing: trusting it and staying in harmony with it brings me my best results. My writing mantra: A relaxed mind is a creative mind!
In writing my novel, for long stretches, I committed to working with focus and intensity for at least three hours a day. I’ve found that having a generous block of time at my command really frees me to play and experiment. I used this same strategy when I was writing my last nonfiction book, Birthing the Elephant: the woman’s go-for-it-guide to overcoming the big challenges of launching a business (Random House). This approach of working steadily every day for a block of time enabled me to write that action guide for women entrepreneurs in six months. My MG novel is taking much longer, but I still find that working steadily every day gives me momentum.
Now, as part of our blog tour, I’d like to introduce you to three writers I admire because of their creativity, perseverance, and enthusiasm:
Mike Tully: A friend and mentor of mine, his enduring passion is analyzing the impact of mental strategy on peak performance. His findings apply not just to athletes, but to everyone — writers included! — who want to improve their game and excel. His new book, Think Better, Win More! (co-authored with Dr. Rob Gilbert), is loaded with valuable action strategies we can all use. An English major at Holy Cross College, Mike Tully spent 12 years as a sports writer for United Press International. Turning to coaching, he developed programs on the NCAA and high school level. Now he speaks nationwide on the subject of improvement. Co-author of Think Better, Win More! How Sport Psychology Can Make You a Champion and Ten Things Great Coaches Know, he’s author of The Improvement Factor: How Winners Turn Practice Into Success. He blogs at http://totalgameplan.com on inspiration and information for anyone wanting to get better at what they do.
Jessica Lauryn: A talented young author, Jessica brings enormous enthusiasm to her craft. A life-long lover of romance, Jessica took several writing classes in college, and told her professors she was one day going to write soap operas. When graduation came, she joined a critique group, and on a whim, decided to write a romance novel. Later, on a train ride to her internship in the fashion industry, Jessica finally cracked open her very first romance novel. That hot August morning, she fell head-over-heels for the genre and has been writing it ever since. Jessica loves speaking about writing, and has taken part in “How to Write and Publish” panels at Barnes & Noble and local libraries. Jessica also wrote and hosted the workshop, “Reforming the Former Villain: Does He Have What it Takes to be a Hero?” When she’s is not writing, Jessica enjoys keeping current with the story lines on Days of Our Lives and The Young and the Restless, and shopping for the latest fashions and the prettiest of antiques. Though she resides in Central New Jersey, her heart belongs to the White Mountain National Forest in New Hampshire. She can be reached at: http://www.jessicalauryn.com
Leta Herman: I know Leta as a gifted, creative healer who’s passionate about bringing her deep knowledge of the benefits of Chinese Medicine and the Five Elements to her work and the widest possible audience. She is the co-author of The Energy of Love ((Llewellyn 2014), a wide, witty, and insightful guide that offers a whole new approach to fostering deeper, more loving relationships. Leta is an author, Five Elements and Chinese Medicine teacher, and nationally certified acupressure practitioner. She has immersed herself in the philosophies of Daoism, Alchemical Healing, and Chinese Medicine, as well as many other healing modalities. A Smith College graduate and past nationally syndicated journalist, she has devoted the past 15 years to learning everything possible about the Five Elements. In other aspects of life, Leta is also a world explorer who speaks multiple languages, loves life, her family, and a challenging game of Boggle. She can be reached at: http://theenergyoflovebook.com/eol-blog/