When Rachel Stuckey invited me to take part in this sort of blogging chain-letter, I felt honoured to be counted among some of the most prolific, professional, and gutsy writing women I know. Here are my answers, followed by the three writers I am nominating.
1) What am I working on/writing?
There are two distinct themes in my writing: First there’s the revising and “drafting for the author” that I do as a substantive editor. Mostly I work with subject-matter experts who are not writers but have been hired to author something (book, app, etc.). Then there’s the writing I do about editing and freelancing — for Copyediting.com and for my podcast.
2) How does my work/writing differ from others of its genre?
Technical and business aspects of editing are what I write about, not the grammar and language issues that so many others handle beautifully and extensively. Podcasting is another way my work differs. When I write about editing, it often ends up in a spoken-word radio broadcast format called a podcast (broadcast for iPod, or any MP3 player, distributed online). The thing I like about writing for my podcast is that I don’t have to conform to anyone’s style or content restrictions. I can swear-up a storm on the podcast, if I ever get the nerve.
3) Why do I write what I do?
For pay. I’m a hard-nosed business-woman in that respect. I draft for authors because publishers pay me to. I don’t write a word unless I have a market for it. I write about editing because publishers pay me to… now.
At first I was writing on my blog because I was worn out from answering the same technical questions over and over. Helping people feels good, and honours the help I that I have been given. Efficiency is one of my primary goals and having a well-crafted answer that I could point people to saved me a lot of time.
Surprisingly, those first few posts turned into a call asking if I would teach those topics in a formal course. Then came the calls from publications. There really isn’t time to write for non-pay now. Except this post, which is fun and rewarding in its own way.
4) How does my writing process work?
I sit down and write. Maybe it’s an info dump of everything I already know, followed by what I need to fact-check. Then I organize it, then flesh it out. To revise my own writing, I have my computer read it to me, and look at the structure using Word’s document map or outline features. There are a few other techniques that I shared in another post.
If it’s a podcast episode that I’m writing, I also do a cold read to check that it sounds natural.
If I’m writing something over which I control deadlines, such as the columns I write, I have the luxury of putting a post aside if it really isn’t taking shape. I have nearly 60 posts in some state of draft: ranging from research notes to half-baked article. Eventually, one of those floats to the surface because the right bit of background comes to me or I finally figure out what I want to say. Sometimes a topic just gets hot and I push a post out to ride the wave. With the right motivation, I can pound out a final version in a hurry.
What happens next on the blog hop?
I’m passing the torch along to three other bloggers. I’ve connected with these people a lot in the past and am inspired by their support and their drive.
kvetch.ca — This anonymous blogger is a friend of mine, and I love her style and the chances (being frank) she takes in her writing.
Steph Cilia — This woman turned her passion reviewing books into paying gigs, simply by doing such a good job at it that publishers took note.
If they accept the challenge, you’ll find their answers on their blogs next Monday.