My Writing Process: How the Magic is Made

by Chloe Jeffreys · 15 comments

in Blogging

There’s this thing going around Bloggertown where bloggers are writing about their writing processes, and Carol Cassara from carolcassara.com invited me to participate.

carol-cassaraCarol is a rock solid blogger who has been a writer all of her life. She brings a discipline to her blog that I envy.

Carol posts nearly every day. Her posts are usually short, en pointe, and carry a core message that we are in charge of the way we choose to react to events and situations in our lives.

Carol is also my friend, and a huge encourager. She reminds me often of who I am, because I forget a lot.

I call her when I want to go cry or stamp my feet over the unfairness of it all, and she reminds me that just because I get a little shit on my shoe doesn’t mean I have to lie down in the squalor.

Tiger

Get to the Point, Chloe

I’m now supposed to answer four questions about my writing process that will explain everything. Here goes…

What am I working on?

In the last year an amazing shift has happened on my blog. While I still have my wonderfully loyal readers, a much larger percentage of my traffic now comes from search engines. That only took six years!

So I’ve spent the past two days going through all of my posts clearing out the clutter, and then reconfiguring my Navigation Bar so it is more user-friendly.

At the beginning of this tedious project I had 331 published posts. I ended up throwing nearly 1/3 of them into the trash.

Was that hard?

I started out at first like, “Oh, but I LOVE these posts. They point to some significant time in my life!” and by the end…20 flippin’ hours later!….I was all, “This is crap! Why did I write this anyway?”

Kill your darlings? It was slash and burn by the time I was done.

“You there! Yes, you! That piece of crap writing over there that makes no sense. Into the fire with you!!”

How Does My Work Differ From Others in My Genre?

I have a genre?

Why do I write/create what I do?

I honestly cannot help myself. I would stop if I could. Lord knows I would. My life would be so much simpler if I did.

My husband would get laid more. My hair would be glossier. And my floors? You would be able to eat off of these floors if only I didn’t write this damned blog.

How does your writing/creating process work?

So here’s the sneak peek behind the curtain.

Writing goes one of two ways for me.

The first way is all neat and tidy and calculated. Like a surgeon deciding what organ to slice out, I intuit what the world needs me to say, and then I say it.

For example, you don’t need weird diet supplements that cost a small fortune and require you to join a brain-washing cult that takes over your life and alienates all your Facebook friends and family.

I promise you, you really don’t.

And because I have a science degree in nursing, I feel duty bound to tell the world that our Paleolithic ancestors scratched out their meager existences living on moldy fruits and insects for their SHORT lifespans, and did not pick up their dinner at the Whole Foods ready-to-eat Paleo buffet.

The hardest part of this type of writing is figuring out what the world needs said. It’s especially hard now that Google has taken away the keyword search tool. Poop on you, Google!

It’s also challenging sometimes because there’s usually a bit of research I have to do so I don’t screw up anyone’s life.

The Warrior Muse

The other kind of writing I do is messy and ugly and probably unwise. It’s likely the type of writing that Carol was referencing when she wrote about my style.

This is the writing that slaps me awake at 4am in the morning and demands that I write NOW! I figure this is what Hesiod, one of the first bloggers in history, meant when he came up with the idea of the Muse.

Classical art usually portrays the Muses like this:

The Muses

But mine doesn’t look anything like those ethereal beings.

In fact, I have an actual photograph that I took with my Samsung Galaxy Note 3 one night when my Muse woke me up as I was innocently sleeping outside in my primordial forest. 

Xena Get Up

 

My Muse is pretty much a badass. She does not care one bit what you think of me. In fact, she invites you to take a shot. (She also doesn’t care that I’m the only one of us who feels the blows.)

In her opinion, who are you anyway to judge me? And why should she or I care? It doesn’t bother her at all that sometimes after I write I curl up in a ball on my bed wondering, “What the HELL have I done?”

My Muse is a cruel mistress who demands I live on almonds and honey vanilla Greek yogurt swilled down with red wine. She doesn’t let me bathe, and she insists I wear the same pair of pajamas all day long, and into the night if necessary.

This is the writing that garners me no SEO. No search engine looks for posts called Wide Awake or Riding a Dragon Named Purpose. These posts are read for a day by my loyal readers, and then left forgotten, except by my stalkers (love you!).

My Warrior Muse is only satisfied when I’ve left blood, sweat, and tears on my keyboard.

But she’s also the one who whispers lovingly in my ear, “You can survive this. You’ve survived much worse. Never be afraid of the truth because the truth will set you free.”

And then she tucks me into bed, and lets me sleep it off.

Bloggers read other bloggers, and two bloggers I read religiously are Linda Roy and Rhonda Little. Next week they’ll be sharing their writing processes with the world and I can’t wait to read what they have to say.

elleroyLinda Roy writes the humorous, musical blog elleroy was here, where she expounds upon life’s absurdities as a suburbanized wife and mom who also happens to front an Indie Americana band, Jehova Waitresses. She’s thrilled to have been named a BlogHer Voice Of the Year for 2014 and also serves as a Managing Partner and Editor In Chief at the politics & pop culture website Lefty Pop. You can find Linda rocking the social medias at Facebook and Twitter.

I’ve known Rhonda Little for a very, very long time. We met years ago when we were both Conservative Christian homeschool moms. That seems like eons ago now. Rhonda has this to say about her blog:

Rodalena

There’s a verse in the bible that says, “Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.” That, in a nutshell, explains why I blog: I am working my life out. I’m remembering, observing, laughing, challenging, feeling and sharing the world from my own small vantage point, all in an effort to work it out and hopefully understand it a bit better in my own head. This isn’t the easiest or safest thing I’ve ever done, lemme tell you, but, I am compelled to search and learn and grow, and so…I blog. You can find Rhonda’s blog at rodalena.com

 

nancy hillNancy Hill was a Mommy-writer for local parenting papers long before the internet turned low paid freelance writing into unpaid Mommy-blogging.  She has since turned her semiotic anthropological training into guerrilla anthropology as a spokesperson and blogging front woman for neglected demographic groups, Late-Boomers, and then as a peace activist and disrupter par excellence bringing CODEPINK to Arizona. She blogs for the heck of it at Reasoncreek.com and a bit more professionally for her business at HillResearchServices.com. She loves information of all types and believes that women are changing the world for the better by linking together as their silence of centuries falls away over the internet.

Leave a Comment

CommentLuv badge

{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

Jack June 1, 2014 at 3:29 pm

I once wrote about beating my muse silly and received many nasty emails about why men shouldn’t beat women. I wrote them back and suggested that reading comprehension is a critical part of reading and never heard back again.

Anyhoo, I appreciate that you write fearlessly.
Jack recently posted..Is Blog Envy Killing Your Blog?My Profile

Reply

rodalena May 31, 2014 at 8:16 am

First, , hi Brenda!

Chloe, I’m honored and tickled pink and slightly terrified that you’ve included my among such talented company. I am currently inventing something I plan to pass off as A Writing Process (I’m thinking going all A. A. Milne with some random capital letters will make it Seem Legit).

In my mind, you’ve always been synonymous with bravery. Bravery, to me, is one of the most essential parts of quality writing, and quality human beings.

Reply

Carol Cassara May 28, 2014 at 6:47 am

Honestly, Chloe, I’ve never met a writer who wakes me up the way you do with your blog posts! I mean, I’m just out of bed getting to this and my crusty eyes widened! You really do have a talent for the left turn and shaking things up. It might be my favorite thing about your posts. Thanks for one of the best compliments I’ve ever had. Because lifting people up is a gift we all should exercise more often to make a better world, I concluded not too many years ago.
Carol Cassara recently posted..Quacks like a duck? Yeah, it’s crazy.My Profile

Reply

Chloe Jeffreys May 28, 2014 at 2:34 pm

Being an encouragement to others is the highest calling a human being can fulfill in the life of another.

Thanks for reading and being there. I do so appreciate it. Can’t wait for lunch!
Chloe Jeffreys recently posted..Why I Kicked God Out of My Sex LifeMy Profile

Reply

Crazy Mama May 28, 2014 at 6:07 am

Ahhh I love your blog ( I found it through twitter somehow)….you know, your warrior muse is also quite good at saying exactly what the world needs to hear. She pulls the boogey man out from under the bed and makes the whole world see it…and that’s a good thing. The courage of people like yourself to stop letting society push things under the rug is inspirational, and the wisdom and insight you deliver your posts with is truly genius and helpful to women that take the time to try and absorb what you’re saying.

Reply

Chloe Jeffreys May 28, 2014 at 2:36 pm

Thank you! What a great comment. The only part about pulling the boogey man out is that I have to go under there to get him first. And he often scares the holy shit out of me.

But I do believe that truth is a powerful weapon against fear.
Chloe Jeffreys recently posted..Why I Kicked God Out of My Sex LifeMy Profile

Reply

Brenda May 27, 2014 at 9:52 pm

Dude. I miss Rodelena. And I love stalking you. :) Did you delete the posts about redoing your spare room? Or was that a couple of blogs ago?

I’m glad your muse is a badass that lets you get some sleep afterwards. Mine just makes me take a Xanax and sleep it off if I’m lucky.

Reply

Chloe Jeffreys May 28, 2014 at 2:38 pm

Brenda, right now a lot of those sorts of posts are in review. When I migrated webhosts two times ago my images didn’t make it and so those posts were all screwed up. I’ve pulled them until I have time to reorganize my media file. THAT’S another time-sucking nightmare!

Anyway, Rodalena is the bomb-digity. I was so thrilled when she found me one day.

BTW, I’m also a fan of Vitamin X.
Chloe Jeffreys recently posted..Why I Kicked God Out of My Sex LifeMy Profile

Reply

Annie May 27, 2014 at 9:38 pm

Wait a minute, did I just describe myself as a “sheep folk?” Oh hell, what have I done? I am not!

Reply

Chloe Jeffreys May 27, 2014 at 11:28 pm

I was wondering about that!! You ain’t no sheep, baby.
Chloe Jeffreys recently posted..My Writing Process: How the Magic is MadeMy Profile

Reply

Annie May 27, 2014 at 9:37 pm

I am one of your confirmed loyal readers, and for me it is all the more fun because I got to know you a little through work. I think the odd thing for me has always been the contrast between your incredibly articulate, hit the proverbial nail on the head writing, and the description of you wondering, “What the HELL have I done?” You’re the TIGER so don’t worry about us sheep folks. After all, what really have you done? You’ve shared your life in a beautiful way, even the difficult stuff, and have pointed out some truths that if people don’t like, screw’em! And maybe, just maybe, something you write will sound that chord in someone’s examination of their own life, and some of their own tiger stripes will develop! Just saying sweetheart.

Reply

Chloe Jeffreys May 28, 2014 at 2:39 pm

I miss you, by the way. Like a lot.
Chloe Jeffreys recently posted..Why I Kicked God Out of My Sex LifeMy Profile

Reply

Linda Roy May 27, 2014 at 7:09 pm

I’m going through the process of weeding through my blog posts, cleaning them up and dumping some. It is taking forever. And you’re right; it is hard to do away with some of them – some of my history – but then again, I’ve got some stuff in there that I really wonder what I was thinking, phoning it in. lol Give your muse a big ole hug, because she is badass! Writing your truth is so important, no matter what, and I truly believe that people appreciate unbridled honesty more than we think. I sometimes write things, hit ‘publish’ and cringe, only to be pleasantly surprised it struck a chord with someone. That’s what we’re here for, right? To entertain and make a difference. You definitely do that, my friend. Thanks for reading me and for inviting me to participate in this thought provoking exercise!
Linda Roy recently posted..Song Parody: Teenage WaistbandMy Profile

Reply

Chloe Jeffreys May 28, 2014 at 2:40 pm

Linda, I cannot wait to read how you come up with your stuff. You are a hilarious satirist. Thanksgiving will never be the same for me after reading your post last year.
Chloe Jeffreys recently posted..Why I Kicked God Out of My Sex LifeMy Profile

Reply

Previous post:

Next post: