I’m Cheating On My Computer With My Loose-Leaf Notebook

There’s this fun thing going on each Monday with some of the pals in my computer; we’re talking about our writing processes. It’s a blog tour about writing, people! SWOON!

As an English teacher, I’ve taught the writing process several times: pre-write, draft, revise, etc. It was always very mechanical (English dork pun right there), and while the formula helped many a’student, especially those who were more mathematically inclined, I always felt it was void of creativity and heart.

Something Clever 2.0‘s Jenn Rose has invited me to chat about my writing process today. You may recognize Jenn and her blog because, um, she’s kind of a big deal. Writer for In the Powder Room, NickMom (get me in there, maaaaan), and Tweeter to celebrities who actually respond, Jenn is the cat’s meow. What does that even mean? Every cat meows, so why is it a compliment? But it is. Anyway, her writing is smart, sometimes biting, and always hilarious. She writes about things in a completely different light than others, which is what makes her stand out. Well, that and her hair: JennRose

One of my recent favorites by Jenn is a little ditty called “Can Water Actually Be Affected By Consciousness?” It sounds like a chemistry lesson, but I assure you it is comedy perfection.

On with the tour!

Why Do I Write?

‘Cause I like it. As soon as I could pick up a crayon, I was scribbling random things that, to the untrained eye appeared to be…well, scribbles. But my Pooh Bear and I knew better; there were poems, stories, comic strips, and lists. Mostly lists of other things I wanted to write. The problem with expressive people like me, those who aren’t afraid to say I’m pissed off! or I really love that!, is that not everyone really cares what we have to say. Enter: writing. I can write until my heart is content and you can take it or leave it. It’s a win-win. People have said I’m good at it, too, so I’ve got that goin’ for me. There’s also just something totally romantic about putting pen to paper and creating, which is usually how I start…

It’s a Process, And I’m a Project.

Go ahead and laugh: my best “stuff” starts on paper. There are three laptops, two tablets, and five cell phones in my home (why do I have five cell phones?), yet I opt for old faithful: my spiral bound notebook. When something strikes me, I write like a mad woman, furiously flipping pages to continue my thoughts. My nightstand has disappeared under my “notes.” Not until I feel completely exhausted do I know I’m done, and it’s then that I’ll begin revising. I edit on paper, type it up on the computer, and then edit again. If it’s a really important piece (like something I’m trying to force upon an editor), I’ll ask my husband to read it over. He’s really good about saying a lot without saying too much; brevity is not a skill o’ mine. It takes forever, but it’s worth it. Unless I write it and no one reads it, then that sucks.

Usually, life experience is my writing fodder, but there are times when I’m like, “no more about kids!” I branch off (read: leave the playground) to find some inspiration. I’ll do research, have conversations with others (namely those with opposing views), or scroll through BuzzFeed to see what’s happening outside the four walls of my house. It’s rarely as entertaining, but it’s good to know the younger Kardashian sisters are growing up to be morons like their siblings. And Rob didn’t even go to Kim and Kayne’s wedding? WHAT? And that right there is why I normally stick with my life as my inspiration.

What Makes My Writing Different Than Others’?

When I was a freshman in college, we all went home for break and I sent a new friend (okay, my crush) a Christmas card. I don’t remember what I wrote, but I know when he responded (score!), he gave me one of the nicest compliments I’ve ever received about my writing: you write just like you talk. GOOD! I want people to read me and feel like they’re having a conversation with me, not just reading words on a screen. I try to punctuate my sentences as I punctuate my thoughts. I’ve also been accused acknowledged for saying things others only think. Sometimes that’s a good thing (like when I freaked out about this a-hole high school student and got 2,000 views in the first two hours it was published), other times, not so much.

P.S. I read Jenn’s response to this question and she, too, writes like she talks. Maybe there’s something to that, students…

What Am I Working On Now?

Cripe. So much. I’m a freelance writer for We Are Teachers and I submit something to them once a week. I’m contracted for twice a month, but because I don’t like free time, I throw them something more often. I’ve been working on scheduling posts for my blog because summer = outside. I don’t want to be attached to my computer and with a few vacations coming up, I won’t be able to. I mean, I’m sure I could be THAT woman with the laptop case at the zoo, but no thanks. I’ve just finished making an official looking media kit and I want to start pitching a few idears to bigger brands. In short: I want to get my writing out there, wherever “there” may be. I’m also working on this nagging chin hair that I swear I just plucked yesterday. Persistent bastard.

Who Be Dat?

I’m sure you understood that as, Who’s Next?, right? Next Monday, the talented, kind, super funny, adorable, sunglasses wearin, crockpot recipe makin’ Amy of Funny is Family will divulge secrets of her writing process. Funny story about Amy: she was published in the huge hit I Just Want to Pee Alone, and I wrote what I thought was a hilarious and comprehensive review of my favorite essays from the anthology. Shortly after publishing, I received a private Facebook message from Ms. Funny is Family; apparently, I had written, “…she was folding clothes on a dead boy” when I meant to write “a dead body.” HUGE difference, HUGE snafu, and a HUGE save by my pal Amy. Ever since then, I’ve loved her like you’re-gonna-want-a-restraining-order-for-that kind of love. She doesn’t mind.

I love that face.

I love that face.

Catch up with the last two posts on the tour:

Something Clever 2.0

The Shitastrophy



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  1. I also do math problems on paper. High school kids drive me insane with their refusal to ever write anything down to organize thoughts. There is something to the pencil/paper approach. Perhaps some research should be done to investigate (pencil group and then a “no pencil” group) and see if any significant differences exist between the two groups.

  2. But wait- how is “a dead body” any better??

  3. Only you could write about a dead body and saying things you shouldn’t. I too write like I think…I just don’t always talk that way. Which is fun when people are surprised I don’t curse like a sailor to their face (only in my mind people). Thanks for joining the tour!!

  4. I had forgotten about the “dead boy” incident! That was the only time I’ve contacted someone I didn’t really know to tell them about a typo. And now look at us! Like peas and carrots. Or vodka and tonic. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to frame all those nice things you said about me. Thanks, pal!

  5. Stephanie, I enjoyed reading this! Please keep writing as you talk :-)
    Can you believe while reading your post, I was rubbing that stry chin hair that I swear I plucked yesterday! So irritating.

  6. Couldn’t think of cooler, smarter ladies to catch the tour with and learn from. Thanks for doing this, ladies and keep writing all the good stuff!


  1. […] Well, my favorite is laughing, and Johanna made me do just that on almost every page of her book. I love me a strong voice in writing, and that’s exactly why I couldn’t put How Not to Calm a Child on a Plane down. I […]

  2. scott tucker says:

    scott tucker

    I’m Cheating On My Computer With My Loose-Leaf Notebook

  3. […] thing that sets us apart from the sea of other people sharing their written word. And Jenn and Steph are right. Their voice is what makes them special, and it’s what makes me want to read […]

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