My dear friend and fellow writer, Erin Skibinski of Home Everyday, invited me to be a part of a blog tour this week and buried deep in a mess of burnout and hormonal pimples, I thought this assignment would be the perfect way to resuscitate the creative side of my brain and get my fingers tip-tapping away on my laptop again.
Let me preface this tour around my “office” by stating that I write because I love it, but I also write to make money. To feed my family and pay rent and have health insurance. I try to weave in fun projects so I do not eventually hate writing, which I never thought I would say, but when you are writing all day and night, turning out copy like some kind of mad woman chained to her laptop, it’s hard not to flip a table over and screw writing, running off into the sunset to find another occupation.
#1 – What am I working on?
I write in several different capacities, making my writing life anything but boring.
The Circular Home – My favorite ongoing project is The Circular Home with Inside Shopper where I dramatically boast about domestic life but not to the point of unhealthy obsession. This column is truly me, as I see humor, love and snuggly place to call home the key to a happy domestic life rather than the need for perfection. I channel my inner Erma Bombeck, Mrs. Meyers and Dorothy Parker – real, mostly alive, humor-filled domestic ladies.
Partnering with designers – I work with the lovely Cathe Huyhn-Sison of cdh, who quite possibly could be the best designer I know. I provide copywriting services for her fun clients, which almost seems illegal at times. Our last project together had me staring at designer handbags all day!
Freelance contractor for ad agencies – An often intense (but good intense) gig creating articles and copy in the health and wellness genres, working with an ad agency means being confident enough to research speedily, create concise articles anywhere from 600 – 1000 words a pop, and hit submit – all within 72 hours. I write about anything from reducing pet odor in your home to the misconceptions of Botox.
My first novel – 7 years in progress, I’m finished and just need to woo a literary agent willing to take on a first-time author.
#2 – How does my work differ from others in its genre?
In a sea of other resumes, I decided to specialize in something at the suggestion of Ash Ambirge of The Middle Finger Project. I hesitantly signed up for one of her workshops, as her website literally screams “Screw Business as Usual”, but found her advice for making my writing something people would pay for to be invaluable. After listening to Ash, it was clear that I was born to create health, wellness, and women’s lifestyle content. On a side note, I did not just declare myself an expert. My education and professional background backs me up. Ash just helped peel the onion that is Elizabeth and release the lifestyle swami within me.
#3 – Why do I write what I do?
Because I love it! I tear up writing about crown moulding and scream out in glee at the sight of a new assignment about ways to repair dry skin!
#4 – How does my writing process work?
It’s impossible to predict when the words will flow, so I write anytime the spirit moves me. In the morning, at 4:00 some mornings, in the afternoon, at tea time, at 3:00 picking my children up in car line, at 2:00 in the morning on my way to the bathroom. When I’m inspired, it flows. Now, I’m not saying it flows in a cohesive and beautiful literary masterpiece, rather, a shitty first draft that has the potential to be polished into something I can be proud of.
The funny thing is though, that life gets in the way. I am rarely ever in a “perfect situation” or still state of mind to write and even when I am, it’s inevitable that my brain decides not to function or I’m in a meeting or changing a diaper. But baby needs a new pair of shoes and we must eat this week, so here’s how I attempt at prepping myself for a “successful” day of writing:
Step 1 – I visit the ladies room. For several minutes. And I bring a book. Don’t make that face! Nobody can write when they are full of, ahem, obstructions.
Step 2 – I put on my headphones. When I am researching and writing copy I prefer classical music and when I am working on my novel, Ingrid Michaelson is my music of choice. I am at my most productive listening to the sound of silence, which is a rare occurrence. I still wear my headphones when it’s quiet to muffle out everything except my thoughts.
Step 5 – I pick a place with blank walls, no windows, and no people. Distraction is the killer of my productivity.
Step 6 – I make the most of my emotional meltdowns and carry a notebook with me everywhere I go to jot down ideas or random things I see that spark something in my heart.
Step 7 – I stop when my brain hurts. Forced writing always reads like it’s been forced, making it sound a bit hinky.
Step 8 – On my writing days, I check my email after I’m finished writing. This is because I usually have some kind of rejection email waiting for me and I can’t let anything negative start off my day to distract my confidence. I don’t take it personally when someone says my writing stinks. Okay, I rant for about an hour, but then I get over it. I have been turned down for assignments and told by editors and clients that I have to scrap an article or assignment and start over. Sure it was awful at first and I would slink around the house embarrassed but in this business, you need to get used to criticism.
And that’s it! Easy breezy!
Now go write! And keep writing. And write some more. Make yourself a cup of tea and call yourself a writer, damn it, because that’s what you are. Take “aspiring” off all your social media bios and believe it…