Chain Gang

Remember when chain letters were the thing?  You’d get one and quietly sigh at the knowledge you’d have seven years of bad luck…unless you hand copied them onto every sheet of that pink floral letter writing paper your Nanna gave you last birthday. And distribute them faithfully.  Oh the frustrations of pre-facebook ‘sharing’!

Sharing is so easy with facebook.  I love it.  But recently I have been discovering a world beyond my beloved facebook, in the ‘Blogosphere’.  When a fellow blogger, Annette, whom I seriously rate, asked me to be part of her ‘Blog Hop’, I said yes before I said,
“Wait, what?”
A Blog Hop, thankfully, is not a chain letter.  It’s a bit like a tag-pass-it-on kind of thingummy. A group of bloggers making a kind of a chain gang.  We all write about our writing process and then nominate three more writers to do the same.  It started back here, with Josefa. So here is my contribution to the wonderful Annette’s Blog Hop.
By the way, you should head over to I Give You the Verbs, she writes like a boss.

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I have been working on my brand new (baby)blog.  It’s four weeks old and a bit of a fractious baby!   For a start, like any newborn, it just won’t behave the way I expect it to; there are strange stray bits of fluff that can be found in all sorts of odd nooks and crannies.  And no instruction manual in sight. But yeesh, this new baby is loud. It’s been yelling itself red in the face since it’s birth.  And like any new Mum, I am exhausted and completely in love.  I even love it’s imperfections, cos I made it, and it was so overdue, I didn’t think it would ever get born.

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I write for relief.  I write to explain myself and my invisible illness, so people will understand both of us better. And I write for people like me, stuck with progressive health issues they can’t control, fighting for good healthcare, for treatment, for more time, better time, with their families.  I write so that my words can reach people who are beyond my arms reach; can provide them with an understanding voice, words to express some of the hard stuff, kindness or compassion when the sky is bleak.  I write so that others won’t feel so alone, so that I won’t either.  I write because I have always written.  Because writing makes me feel like my best self.
And I write to remain.

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I have listened to so many writers discuss their process.  I listen with awe as some describe their writing ‘discipline’ or ‘routine’.

What happens with me is a little bit more impulsive.  I will be mulling something over, some idea, feeling, injustice, bit of beauty, a phrase my child says, or a concept, something that has hooked my attention…  Sometimes it only lasts for a few minutes before I pull the laptop up from it’s charging station by the bedside table.  Other times it will be a few days of ‘background thinking’.  Then somehow… music.  Like a cosmic coincidence, I will hear a song on the radio, or begin humming a tune that reminds me of the very thing I am musing about.  I think all coincidences are on-purpose.  They are signposts. STOP!  FORM ONE LANE! WRITE! The music gets my fingers twitchy.

I get writing and write until it is all out and finished. I write in bed and directly into WordPress. I don’t plan it or structure it.  I just write.  It comes out with it’s own shape and usually, I like that. I hit publish.  If I don’t, I change it.  If I go back to it the next day and I need to tweak it, I do.  Having it already out there on the internet is powerful motivation to check and edit. I only add pictures after the writing; it’s too easy to procrastinate during the find-the-right-picture stage.

If I am writing for my other blog job, over at Nic-Nac, the process is slightly different.  Kylie will send me parenting topics she wants covered, or a link to an online debate, or a news article or parenting site forum that is discussing something juicy.  “An Idea?”  she’ll pop into the subject line.  I try to keep her posts to 600 words or less. When I write for Kylie, I write wearing a different hat.  In her pieces, I am not an unwell mum; just a mum.  I keep all references to ill health for my own platform.  I like writing her pieces just as much as writing my own, because when I’m writing for Kylie, I am everywoman.  I like that slice of life.  And writing for work is like …playing for pay!

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My genre is a tiny corner of the health sphere.  The two most prominent Dysautonomia blogs belong to Michelle, from Living with Bob and Carrie from Just Mildly Medicated.  Michelle’s style is far more ascerbic and funny than mine, she has a gift for presenting information in a way that is accessible for both practitioners and patients.  Her work makes me cry and laugh and she has incredibly cool personal style.  She is a superhero.  And Carrie, from Just Mildly Medicated  is stoic and strong.  She’s funny too and I love that she lists reading as a hobby.   Carrie’s a military wife in the States, with a big brood and bigger health problems.  Yet none of them too big to break her sass.  Both of their styles are similar to mine in that we talk about the heartbreak and the hardship of our disease.  But different because I am a new to blogging and I am not funny (according to my kids who know about these things). I am just finding my voice and trying it out.  And I hope people will find my openness helpful.  I’m not afraid to discuss the nitty gritty stuff.  It helps me.  I hope to find the best words to express what many of us experience.

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The three writers I have nominated for the Blog Hop are beautiful people as well as interesting reads.  I met all of them on my Blogging/Writing course.  It all finishes in two days time, but I know we’ll be a ‘group’ for much longer than that.  I have found ‘my people’ and I am not letting them go!  I like their work and so it follows, if you like reading mine, you’ll like reading theirs, too.  Click on over to their places in this Blog Land.  They will be telling you all about their writing process, some time in the next week. But in the meantime, there are lots of treasures to unearth where they keep their words! They’ll make you feel right at home.

Screen Shot 2014-06-14 at 8.56.09 pmYvette writes for her blog
Bear Loves Dove
She’s a creative, crafty, snap-happy, flower-loving, treehugging, motorbike riding, daydreaming, zen searcher who is never too far from a gorgeous ball of yarn and a crochet hook and is a bit obsessed with Peace Love & Harmony.

Sarah writes for her blog
Sarahs Heart Writes.
She is a tri-nation girl who is a champion of compassion and kindness, a dabbling cook and the worst housekeeper ever.  She is a traveller on this journey we call life, documenting its crazy, funny, sad and joyful moments along the way.

Kate writes for her blog:
One Small Life
Kate has two little kids who are her gurus.  She runs, she meditates and she writes about it.  She struggles with balancing a perfectionist streak with an imperfect life.  When she cooks and makes things it never looks like it does on Pinterest, but she’s learning to be okay with that.  Life is full of big   messes and little beauties and she’s trying to focus more on the latter.

When Annette asked me to join her in a Blog Hop, she nominated two others from our course who I love too.  Have a look at why Karen writes, and what Naomi loves. X



…and just because I haven’t been able to get this song out of my head since I wrote this post…