Last week Kirsten from Kirsten and Co. invited me to take part in a blog baton race called Why I Write. I agreed happily, it seemed like a bit of fun. Four easy questions to answer, except I didn't find them easy to answer at all.
Last night, I threw the towel in and hoped fresh eyes would help me this morning. I probably don't have answers because I'm still shocked that I enjoy writing. English has never been my forte. I've always preferred the absolute answers of science and maths. I liked being right or wrong, no grey area for opinion and style. If my high school English teachers ever got wind that I had a byline in a print magazine this year, they'd need a good lie down!
I honestly couldn’t tell you why I pressed publish on my first ever post two years ago. Looking back on it, I’m not surprised no one read it. Since then, I’ve been bitten by the writing bug, and even if I stopped blogging, I doubt I could stop writing. So here goes....
What am I working on? My latest project is a new direction for my digital magazine Flossie. The first paid edition came out at the end of March and I was able to count the issues sold without having to borrow anyone’s feet. I’m a lousy sales person, so I shouldn’t be surprised that I wasn't particularly good at flogging Flossie. It was a good issue, filled with lots of fresh and tasty recipes. I’m proud of it. I’m just not the kind of bird to try to shove it down peoples’ throats.
Putting together an issue takes me a butt load of time*. I’m a one woman cook, photographer, author, creative director, editor and publicist (clearly, I need to sack myself from that role!). My point is, there really isn’t much point in my investing so much time into an issue if only a hand and two foot-fulls of people are going to read it.
The point of creating Flossie was to deliver my readers a more enjoyable reading experience than scrolling through blog pages. I still want to do that, so I’ve cooked up a new and improved Flossie.
The new Flossie is an annual edition - I’ll bundle up all the recipes that I’ve shared on the blog over the year add a few bits and pieces and collate them into a cook book. The 2014 edition will be available in December and available on iPad or as an ebook for those of you who don’t have tablets.
How does my writing differ from others in its genre? I’m not certain that my writing does differ from others in its genre. My standard formula for a post is a recipe, served with a little story on the side.
Occasionally I don my ranty pants, chuck the food out the window and mighty opinionated about something. Sometimes I write about grief.
Last week’s whooping cough post drew a bit of flack, but I figure there’s not much point in only writing about the good stuff. My life isn’t all puppies, sparkles, and phosphorescent unicorn poo and neither is anyone else’s.
Except maybe Bjork, I suspect her life has phosphorescent unicorn poo by the butt load.
Why do I write what I do? Because I can! Cooker and a Looker is a uncensored expression of Amanda. Not The Girl's Mum, not Bearhands' wife, not a farmer or a business owner. Just me, unapologetically and wholeheartedly me. I set the tone. I make the rules. I can write silly song lyrics one post and tell a story the next.
I was flicking through my notes from Problogger, trying to write this post, when I struck a phrase that I’d jotted down during Darren Rowse’s opening address. I’m not certain that it’s his original quote, but seeing as though I wrote it down during his speech, I’m crediting him: "do what you love and it doesn't matter who shows up."
Writing the blog brings me such happiness. I love the challenge of finding the story in everything and then finding a more entertaining way to tell that story. I love having something to show for my day, the rest of my daily tasks are so cyclical that I never finish them. Finishing a blog post feels like an achievement. Blogging also gives me something to do on the internet rather than buy more stuff we don’t need and crushing candy.
How does my writing process work? I wish I had a more highbrow answer for this. Some writers have a ritual cup of tea or even a hat they wear when they sit down to work. I fit blogging in around my other jobs. I dream up sentences and stories in the car and in the shower. I used to scrawl ideas on the backs of envelopes and scraps of paper that I found on the floor of the car. I lost so many recipes and stories over time, that I’ve learned to carry a little red book with me. All my little sentences, recipe creations, and stories that might be worth telling, all safe in the same spot. Up until two weeks ago, I blogged standing at the kitchen bench!
I'm not a trained writer, and sometimes the words just. will. not. come. That's when I find something else to do, photograph a recipe, edit some photos or fold the never-ending basket of clothes that I never manage to finish!
The way this little journey works is I now get to hand the mantle to three other bloggers who will share an insight into their writing process next week. I’ve chosen to pass the baton to three ladies that I’m lucky enough to know in real life. One whom regular readers will recognise from a few posts and two that you may not know, but totally should!
The first is a friend that regular readers will already know. Presenting Robyn from Mrs D plus 3.....
The second is a lady I was lucky enough to spend a few days in Noosa with last year. I give you Lisa from Bake Bike Blog....
The third is Jodie from Fresh Home Cook, who I met in real life at Problogger on the Gold Coast last year...
Tune in next week, when Robyn, Lisa and Jodie give us an insight into their writing process. Until then, answer me this:
do you like to write?
what would your high school teachers be surprised to learn about you?
* Another reason to love writing for myself: a butt load is perfectly acceptable unit of measure around here!