Poet and writer Stuart Barnes (fellow Queenslander) has tagged me in a Writing Process Blog Tour. He doesn’t have a blog but he does have a tumblr thingy. I thought it sounded like a good idea so I could find out what I’m doing 😉 Thanks Stuart – you’re a champion 😇
Basically the Writing Process Blog Tour involves me answering some questions and tagging some other writing bloggers to continue the tour.
What am I working on?
I’m a bit scatter brained at the moment – things distracting me left, right and centre – but if I search long enough there may be some structure to my writing life. Part of the problem is that I am torn between fiction and non-fiction so both are getting a look in.
My major non-fiction project is my draft book The Autism Files which I have blogged about on numerous occasions (you can read sample chapters if you click on the category Autism Files in the right column of the blog). The book is about my son who was diagnosed with autism at the age of three and describes the first few years of his life before and after diagnosis.
The Autism Files describe the process of diagnosis, education and treatment in relation to our son and the family. Each chapter looks at a specific issue or problem that my son experienced (eg., anger management, sensory issues, early intervention, and the hidden curriculum). I describe the issue in relation to my son but also in greater detail for a broader audience who may be interested in understanding the condition. I have tried to combine my skills as a researcher and psychologist with my experience as a mother of a child with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) to pare down the essential aspects that others may find useful.
My fiction is more organic and includes writing poetry, blog posts, short stories and (in the future) a novel. Publication of these works is not high on my agenda this year. I may change my mind down the track (when I free up enough time).
How does my work differ from others of its genre?
I’m not sure I can answer this question in regard to fiction (I really doubt that many poets differ from others, significantly, in the way they write poetry and would you want your poetry to be too different – poetry is a craft with thousands of years of tradition that is generally built on rather than deviating from – however, there is always room for improvements in quality).
I hope that my non-fiction work The Autism Files will have its own niche in the world of autism books because (1) I am Australian (most autism books in the English language are written in the USA or UK and things are very different in those places when it comes to the health care system and autism) and (2) I am a parent of a child with autism but I am also a psychologist with a research background: and hence the book is both a resource guide and a personal narrative of our family’s struggle with the complex condition that is ASD.
Why do I write what I do?
I write non-fiction because it’s what I do – I have been writing non-fiction since I was a young girl in a Brisbane primary school run by nuns (yes, a convent – eek!). Then there was high school (e.g., ‘please discuss the relative merits of Heathcliff’s reactionary approach to his love interest Catherine in Wuthering Heights’ 😉 ), followed by University (endless assignments lining up from here to Betelgeuse Seven and not to mention the odd thesis or three – and mine were very odd, but that’s another story).
After Uni the writing continued – they always make psychologists write stuff, didn’t you know. Lots of technical stuff (reports, policy outlines, summations, recommendations, and not to mention collations of dry statistics). You also must keep reading all the non-fiction stuff if you don’t wish to get behind on the professional (is there such a word) ladder. An extended absence from the workforce (the one where I am a psychologist) means I’ve barely got my footsy on the lowest rung of the ladder – look, she’s about to fall off they whispered, with barely contained glee.
I write fiction primarily for the fun of it and to develop my writing and language skills. There is nothing quite like the writing of poetry to hone the prose and to assist in the extermination of clichés. There is nothing like writing a novel to make you realise how hard writing a novel is. Basically I love words and the fiddling of these words into arrangements like a musician creates a score – simple.
I do it for myself but if others like the arrangement then that’s fantastic –but I’d still get on that stage and perform even if the theatre was empty. It’s the reason I wrote lists of my favourite words when I was a kid – so I could look at them and savour the taste when the lesson got too boring (I sure wasn’t going to show the teacher or my friends).
How does my writing process work?
Unlike the autistic people I know and love, I (a mere Neurotypical) have no routine #gasp and I dislike schedules, rules, regulations and order! (Yes, it’s a disgrace Michael).
However, I can tell you that when it comes to writing non-fiction I am very good at procrastination. I also read a lot, take lots of notes, make lots of observations and try to write when the kids are at school.
I will tell you a little about my writing of poetry. Some days something will stand out to me – a line in a book, a photo I’ve taken, a painting that someone else has painted, a headline on the news, a word, an emotion – and I will pay attention for five minutes and put that ‘something’ to the back of my mind. A few weeks down the track I will sit down to write (don’t know what until it comes out of my fingers) and often I will write a poem, based on that trigger, and there it is (some would say their muse had spoken, but I know that it is my subconscious mind at work, probably during the night when I dream excessively – much of the work has been done by the time I get to my blank screen).
Next on the Writing Process Blog Tour:
Ok – enough log rolling 😉 feel free to participate, procrastinate or to ignore the request.
I’m easy like that😎