I'm doing something a bit different today. The always wonderful Kate Sluiter of Sluiter Nation invited me to participate in the My Writing Process Blog Tour. Obviously, I said yes.
Kate even said some very pretty words about me so I need to buy her some fancy chocolate, I think.
Now I get to answer a few questions about how I put words on the screen and you get to stop by Kate's post (and leave a comment because they are sparkly and shiny and we writer blogger people love sparkly shiny comments) and then you get to read mine (and leave some sparkly shiny stuff over here, too.)
1 - What am I working on?
A stroke? A brain aneurysm? Setting a world record for the least amount of recorded sleep in a lifetime? Possibly all of the above. But I'm also trying to keep my blog slightly relevant by occasionally remembering it actually exists. That's important. I've also got the weekly Dimelo column online and my monthly column for the Latina Magazine. That, and digging through my column inbox, takes up a fair amount of my time. Of course, I wouldn't have it any other way.
I'm also working on deciding if I should selfpublish a memoir that got me agented once upon a time (we've since broken up -- on good terms, y'all -- and agreed to see other people) or if I should just let it go. Many a writer has many a manuscript written and revised and polished to perfection that will never see the light of day. For some, it's the book that got them the agent. For others, it's the book that was written to prove to themselves they could, in fact, write a book. I'll let you know when I figure out which way I'm going with this one.
The main reason I don't sleep right now is because the paying gigs (hello #Dimelo) come first and the Wanna Do's come after. My current Wanna Do is my new novel. It's tentatively titled Diary of a Mexican-American Teenager and follows Mina, a 15-year-old Mexican-America eating-disordered girl, as she struggles to find herself in a culture that prefers to save face rather than bring disgrace upon the family. It's very much based on my own experiences, but like any fiction piece based on real events, I have a lot of room to address topics I wouldn't otherwise be able to touch in a non-fiction piece, seeing as how my family knows what the internet is. I'm still in the early writing stages, but I'm finishing this thing it kills me, dammit.
2- How Does My Work Differ from Others of this Genre?
Lots of Spanglish typos.
Okay, seriously, I think it's my lack of filter and my ability to turn the filter completely off and tackle the hard stuff. I'm sarcastic and self-deprecating and inappropriate and like to use the word "fuck" like most use salt and pepper in the kitchen -- add just the right amount and what tasted good before now takes fucking fantastic with just a few shakes of the right seasoning. But add too much and Perfect turns into an episode of Kitchen Nightmares with Gordon Ramsey minus the bleeps.
I also am proud of my ability to capture fatalistic humor -- a trait Latinos are known for -- in my writing. I once wrote about the moment my father died and those who've read it have cried and then laughed and then laugh-cried. And in all the right places, too. I think my dad would be proud.
All of these traits are going into Diary. And yes, even the F-bombs. I was 15 once, after all. And so were you.
3- Why Do I Write What I Do?
Because I'd be in a padded room otherwise. Writing is my release. They say to write what you know and I was doing that before I knew "they" were a thing and that what I was doing was a saying.
I talk about motherhood and body image and eating disorders and self-confidence and self-perception and growing up balancing the tightrope of a hyphen between two cultures because this is what I have lived (and and am living). Too many of us are raised to internalize. To not rock the boat.
I hate that.
From my blog to my journals to my books (written and yet to be) I am the happy accident rocking the boat and ignoring the grumbles and glares from the crowd. I'm the one with the sailor-worthy language cheering on the chingonas while people who know me in real life secretly hope I just shut up for once. I won't. Because I say what I need to hear and write what I need to read in the hopes of connecting with others searching for the same.
4 - How Does Your Writing Process Work?
Oh that's rich. *wipes tears*
Let's see if I can capture this accurately.
* Wake up at 10 a.m.
* Curse the sun
* Drag myself out of bed
* Feed self & child with food items that do not require actual thought
* Check email, twitter, Facebook, and grumble about the lack of book deal offers in any of my social media channels
* Work on homeschool lessons
* Open laptop for quick writing session while the child reads independently
* Close laptop to take care of the dishes, the laundry, bill-paying
* Open laptop to write and get lost in Pinterest-hell instead
* Open Word to write when Latina editor texts for a We Need it NOW revision
* Finish revision about the time the child finishes reading time
* Tell myself I'll write after dinner
* Tell myself I'll write after book, bath, bed routine
* Tell myself I'll write after the dishes are done. Again.
* Tell myself I'll write after The Husband gets his happy time
* Cross "sex" off the To-Do list
* Tell myself I'll write after I pack his lunch for work the next day
* Tell myself I'll write now because it's 11:30 p.m. and my writing process is going exactly as planned
* Open laptop
* Stare at blinking cursor
* Say the words "You are totally my bitch" to the cursor.
* Wonder if anyone else is convinced the cursor is actually telling them to "go fuck themselves" with every blink back
* Grit teeth
* Glare at the cursor for being so...judgmental
* Grit teeth again
* Dive in to the words already written for reference
* Because I totally pantsed the first three chapters
* Just like I did the first book I wrote that was never published
* Because I'm ADHD and planning and outlining are super cute
* Plus? I'm a realist
* Find myself staring at the bitchy cursor again
* My brain is formulating
* Because I can't type a word until the entire scene (or blog post, column, news piece) has written itself in my head
* Tell myself I am FUCKING BRILLIANT as I furiously type and type
* Plan my first extravagant purchase to celebrate hitting the NYT bestseller list
*Re-read what I just wrote, grumble, delete, start over
* Type furiously some more
* Gasp, spent, when the jumble of words being channeled from brain to fingers has come to an end
* Swear profusely when I realize it is now 3:30 a.m.
* Close laptop
* Doubt everything
* Talk myself out of not sharing because
* If it needed to be written, it's meant to be shared
* Brush teeth
* Utilize ninja-like skills as to not wake The Warden as I sneak into bed
* Fall asleep almost instantly because the words I needed to get out have been written
* Rinse, lather, repeat.
And there you have it. The not-so-structured writing life I lead. If madness is a process, I've got this.
Now for the next stop on the Writing Process Blog Tour.
Megan Jordan of Veleveteen Mind is the brilliance behind Story Bleed Magazine, a knife-juggler (or so she says), host of the BlogHer People's Party, and writes for Babble. Basically, she's all that and a bag of really good chips. Plus? Megan has a way with words I can only describe as magical.
Robin O'Bryant of Robin's Chicks is a syndicated humor columnist and the author of Ketchup is a Vegetable (and Other Lies Moms Tell Themselves) . This woman busted her ass, took her self-published book to the NYT bestseller list on her own, and scored a two-book deal because THAT'S HOW YOU DO IT, BITCHES.