the best kind of chain letter {blog train}

27 May the best kind of chain letter {blog train}

Last Monday, the lovely and talented Sarah Buttenwieser of Standing in the Shadows posted about a blog train, which she hopped on via Cleaver Magazine. She invited me to hitch a ride.

The rules of the blog train are simple: on Monday, last week’s riders introduce three new bloggers and also answer a series of questions. It’s a great way to discover new writers you might not have read before and spread some love around the blogosphere.

I was honored to be featured on Sarah’s blog and loved reading her responses to the following questions. Today, I’m happy to share a bit about my writing process and introduce to you three more writers I think you’ll enjoy.

First the questions:

1) What am I working on?
I’m juggling several projects at the moment, which I actually enjoy. I’m working on some large service features for SELF and Experience Life magazines, I’m doing some regular blogging and writing for several travel magazines, and I’m polishing some personal essays and chapters of my memoir to take to a summer writing workshop. I like when my plate holds a variety of projects — creative writing, investigative reporting, blogging. It allows me to stay busy without getting burned out on one type of writing. 

2) How does my work differ from others in its genre?
This is a tough question. Everything I write is nonfiction, but I participate in a few genres. My ultimate goal whether I’m writing a service piece or crafting a personal essay is to make you, the reader, consider something familiar in a completely new way. I seek to connect personally with you, to hold up an experience or concept like a prism and grab some light and reflect it at different angles.

3) Why do I write what I do?
I started my career as an editor for travel and outdoors magazines, and before that, during grad school, I was a science writer and newspaper reporter. So writing about travel, fitness and the outdoors is a natural progression. I’m good at taking complex information and presenting it in an engaging way. …But that’s not really WHY I write. I write because I have to. Since I was a kid, writing has been the thing that keeps me grounded and connected in the world. It’s my lifeblood.

4) How does my writing process work?
Again, it depends on the genre of writing, but I will say a lot of the work happens before I ever sit down to type a word. I visualize stories, how they’ll appear on the page, what the heds and deks will look like. I think about who I want to interview and what photographs and illustrations might accompany the story. If I’m working on something particularly big or important, I often wake up in the middle of the night with an idea and write it down in a little notebook I keep on my nightstand. 

The actual writing happens in stages. I carve out a few hours here and there and get as many words on the page as possible, let it sit for a few days, and then go back in with fresh eyes and polish it. Since I worked as an editor for so many years, I’m a bit of a perfectionist. I have a hard time looking at a manuscript and thinking it’s complete. I always feel like it could be better. 

Oh, and my writing process invariably includes espresso. 

Now I’m happy to introduce three of my favorite writers/bloggers.

1. Jennifer Manske Fenske is a novelist and co-founder of Fat and Appy with her husband, children’s book author and illustrator, Jonathan Fenske. Together they create modern art and beautiful stories for children of all ages. You should visit their blog often, because there’s always a new, exciting project brewing over there! Jen and I have been close friends since college, and she constantly inspires me.

2. Rachel Walker and I met through our magazine work, but she quickly became a good friend and writing partner. She recently launched a fun blog and community for parents over 35. Spawn & Survive promises to help ease the transition to parenthood with honest stories and sage advice from someone who’s surviving thriving. Rachel’s writing is smart and engaging, and I’m excited to see where her blog takes her!

3. Kat Glover isn’t afraid to take risks, whether it’s in her writing or her life. She’s relatively new to the writing scene, but has already published a few articles about her adventures in triathlons, mountain biking, and parenting. She has a knack for storytelling, which is clear when you read her blog. I’m excited to see her name in print more, and I’m inspired by how prolific and consistent a writer she is.

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