A couple of weeks ago, an email dropped onto the virtual doormat that is my inbox inviting me to join a blog hop on writing. I should come clean here, and admit that when Elizabeth’s email first arrived, I wasn’t entirely sure what a blog hop was… seems I’ve led a relatively sheltered blogging life. This blog hop thing though is a bit like a relay – each blogger writes a post framed around a set of questions, then passes the baton on to other bloggers. I realised after reading Elizabeth’s post that it’s also a good way of finding new blogs to read, (if you aren’t already reading Elizabeth’s posts about gardening in Tasmania, allow me to introduce you to her blog Dig In), and of pinching some ideas for how to get more from my own writing.
So, thanks to Elizabeth – I’m pleased that you thought of me when inviting others to join in the blog hop. And here we go…
What am I working on?
Ah now this is an easy one to answer at the moment… apart from the blog, there’s nothing. I finished an article for a local magazine a few weeks ago, and now every minute that I’m not writing, I’m either gardening or packing up boxes ready for our house move in a couple of weeks. Writing will resume when we’re settled in the new house and I can unpack the box filled with pens and paper… although with a whole new garden to work on, it’s going to be tempting to be outside with a spade rather than indoors with a keyboard.
How does my writing differ from others in its genre?
This is a trickier question to answer. I’m not sure that my writing does differ that much. More rambling, less coherent than others perhaps? The Garden Deli started out as a way to chart the food growing year in my garden, and how the harvests are reflected in the food I cook, so I guess that makes it quite personal. And I like to bring in other aspects that affect the garden, especially the wildlife. You might have noticed, if you’ve been visiting here for a while, that bees, butterflies and other ‘creepy crawlies’ figure regularly… a hangover from my time working in ecology in year’s gone by.
Why do I write what I do?
There’s a bit of a story to explain this. When I first discovered that I really enjoyed writing, I decided that I was going to be a freelance science writer. At the time I’d just started a PhD as a way of getting back into research after a long break to raise children. Not long into the project I realised that world of academic research had changed since I was last there, and it wasn’t really where I wanted to be. But the idea of science writing was much more attractive, and I started writing short pieces for a magazine produced by the biology department for local secondary schools. I was also able to get some advice from an established freelance writer – “don’t wait until your thesis is finished” she said “start writing straight away”. And she pointed me in the direction of the internet, where it’s easy to publish material. Not sure how, but while searching for science websites to write for, I came across The Foodie Bugle. I only needed to read a couple of articles before I was convinced that I’d love to see something I’d written on that website. I’d been growing food for many years, and it was something I felt comfortable writing about. Science writing took a back seat while I started to explore the world of garden and food writing… and it’s still in that back seat now. I’ve loved being able to write about the whole cycle of food production – everything from the seed to what ends up in the bin at the end of a meal. And I’ve been really lucky to meet some wonderful local food producers and retailers in researching articles – people who are passionate about the work they do and have great stories to tell.
How does my writing process work?
I’d love to say that I’m an incredibly disciplined writer. Sitting down early each morning with a cup of coffee and only getting up from my desk (which is, of course, neat and organised at all times) when the page is full of wonderfully crafted sentences. In reality, unless it’s a really good writing day and the words are flowing, I find it incredibly hard not to be distracted by anything and everything – washing needs hung out, kitchen sink could do with a clean, another cup of coffee…why not?
Ideas for blog posts can come from what’s going on in the garden, something I’ve heard on the radio or read in the papers, or can be prompted by other blogs. The Garden Share Collective has been great for providing a focus for regular blog posts.
For me, getting the first sentence or paragraph right is usually the key to the whole piece. Once I’m happy with those first few words, the rest seems to come together more easily. Unfortunately, those first few words are often wandering around in my head but very reluctant to come together on the page. It sometimes helps to sit down and write the words I think will work, just to see if they can get themselves into some sort of order that makes sense and reads well. Other times, going out for a walk or getting on with other chores (hoovering is often good) lulls the words into a false sense of security, and before they know it they’ve been rounded up and put into the sentence I was looking for.
Well, that’s the sorry story surrounding my writing… now it’s time to pass that virtual baton on. I’ve managed to talk two bloggers whose writing I really enjoy to join the blog hop –
Cathy writes over at Words and Herbs – a lovely collection of posts about her garden and some inspiring recipes drawing on the ingredients and traditions of Bavaria where she lives.
Andrea shares stories from her home and travels on her blog at Shabby Chick. Everything from her own delicious kitchen creations to her daughter’s imaginative, but maybe less delicious, garden potions feature on the blog.
I should really be introducing you to three bloggers who will be taking up the challenge of the Why I Write blog hop. But lack of time (I’m blaming the house move again here) has meant that there are just two – quality over quantity I like to think… Instead, and I’m hoping this isn’t breaking too many blog hop rules, I’m throwing the invitation open to you. If you feel inspired to write about your own writing, why not have a go? Use the set of questions above, and tell us why, what and how you write. If you’d like to let me know when you’ve posted something, I’d love to add a link at the bottom of this post. Happy writing!