Thanks to Danielle Ariano for inviting me to be a part of this writing blog tour. What does writing mean to me? Why do I write? Here are the cliff notes:
What am I working on?
This blog. I know, seems silly, but this blog actually keeps me writing. Even if they aren’t Pulitzer Prize-winning pieces, I’m still writing, experimenting with voice and style, and all in the hopes that one day I’ll have enough material to write another book.
So that’s the second thing. I originally set out this spring to publish an ebook of my recent book, Sugarcoated, only to discover I had so much more material to cover. I didn’t think I could do Sugarcoated justice by repurposing it for the Kindle and Nook so I decided to expand on its premise of my diagnosis with Type 1 diabetes and write a more fulfilling manuscript. But first, I have some personal growth to do, and maybe when I land on my feet again, I’ll have a frame for my story. We’ll see.
How does my work differ from others of its genre?
I like to think I have a very unique, witty, and sarcastic voice that draws readers from every walk of life and only adds to my popularity and respect as a profound writer. And I like to think no one has ever written about diabetes before (minus the numerous blogs and social media followings out there).
But in the end, I am a writer like anyone else. I read a lot. I learn from observation. I’m a sucker for bittersweet endings and raw character development. I’m currently pursuing the “creative nonfiction” avenue because I like telling true stories, and I never like writing about myself so I see this as a challenge.
Maybe that’s my contribution? In my mind, I live in other worlds, often imaginary and unrealistic, but I am grounded on Earth. I attempt to interesect the two, if only to make sense of random chaos. I am not a believer in “everything happens for a reason,” but I love ironies and coincidences.
Why do I write what I do?
When I started writing short fiction as a kid, it’s because I wanted to create something new, explore choices and development through different characters, and ultimately, control the fate of their outcomes. I often wrote when I couldn’t find anything to read.
But when I suffered from depression in college and then became diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes at 22, I changed course. I started writing, not just to vent my frustration, but to share my stories, in the hopes others would read them and find closure or learn something new.
Plus, I love language and playing with words. Even with nonfiction, I still attempt to create story arcs, experiment with different forms and frames, and end by exposing the raw humanity, but with subtlety, of course. If I learned anything from my MFA, it was that not every story ends tied into a neat little bow. I like the openness of that realism.
How does my writing process work?
I would like to say that I think long and hard about what I’m going to write before putting pen to paper (or in this case, fingers to keyboard), that I outline everything like I used to do for college essays and research papers.
But the truth is, my writing process is a stream of consciousness. Sometimes, it might be a sentence, an image, or an ending that inspires me to sit down at my computer or type a few paragraphs on my phone on the train ride home. I have a list of story ideas that I keep on my phone – sometimes these help me meet my goal of posting once a week on my blog.
Other times, I just sit down, like I am now, and write. I’m never sure what’s going to come out. But I won’t stop until I finish. I may come back and revise or completely change the arc, but I never go into a story thinking about revision. I remember one time reading a bestselling author’s tips for writing, and one of his rules was not to worry about grammar, punctuation, etc. when writing the first draft. Just write, and worry about everything else later.
This is a blog tour, after all. So here’s who’s next (and thanks again Danielle Ariano for inviting me to be a part of this tour).
Dawn graduated in 2013 with an M.F.A. in Creative Writing and Publishing Arts from the University of Baltimore. She currently helps rich people design custom frames for their artwork and is a personal chef for the production office of House of Cards in the morning. She writes when she can and is currently working on a football blog, as well as a reality based fiction short. You will always see her with her iPhone and a cup of coffee.
Follow her at Crumbs of a Pink Tinted Brain (note: there are a few posts in the draft period, so please excuse the lack of relevance).
In addition to poetry and fiction, she writes the occasional book or theater review for Monologging.org and does design work for Cobalt Review. She recently released her first chapbook of travel poetry, titled Mapping the Stars.
Follow her at rachelswriting.com.