Sue Russell has kindly tagged me to continue the Monday Blog Tour (see Sue’s post here). You’ll have to forgive me if my answers to the set questions are a) very brief or b) long and rambly, as there is only so much coherency I can manage when my sinuses are having a strop (cold/flu/something viral alert).
Hmm. Not as easy to answer as it has been, as my previous ‘WIP’ (Work in Progress) is released today! Forgetful Heart explores the role of memory in faith and reflects on what biblical ‘remembering’ really means. I suggest that it’s not just a ‘knowledge’ thing but a driving force in our lives – how we behave, how we relate, how we worship and witness to our faith. I’ve been doing various preparatory bits for the launch. I’m also compiling an article about how and why people use social media.
Now is the time when I’m balancing the promotion of Forgetful Heart and the exploration of new ideas. I do have an idea for another book but I like to ‘brew’ a bit – so won’t be unveiling too much of that at the moment. Plus, in theory I’m supposed to be studying the fiction part of my writing course, so should time allow, I’ll be trying my hand at that…
How does my work differ from others in its genre?
I like to find new ways of looking at things and saying things. I tend to write Christian non-fiction – personal, reflective pieces but not stinting on depth. I have a passion for going deeper. I’m not sure how ‘different’ that makes me – I’m sure others would say the same. However, in the case of Forgetful Heart: there are lots of books on memory in popular and academic psychology. There are also books reflecting on memory in scripture. There are books that look at dementia and the Christian faith. However, Forgetful Heart sidles into the niche of a ‘popular level’ reflection on biblical remembering and what this means for our daily lives. There are books at popular level which have a chapter on the topic, but a distinct lack of an all-out exploration – one that is aimed at those who want to think deeply about their faith without being too ‘dry’. Forgetful Heart takes popular themes and puts them together in an original way.
Why do I write what I do?
As I’ve already said, I’ve a passion for going deeper. I studied theology for my undergraduate degree and have always loved thinking about and exploring faith. I wrote Forgetful Heart to re-enliven something of that – it got a bit lost for a while. I felt I’d misplaced something important. I’d lost that passion and the book was part of my cry for reawakening. More widely, writing helps me discover what I think about things – a way of processing them and then sharing them – hopefully in an accessible way. In addition to articles and the book, I also write poetry and prayers – trying to express moments in a way that feels appropriate to me. I have three anthologies available on Kindle in result. Forgetful Heart also contains prayers and short poetic reflections at the end of each chapter.
How does my writing process work?
It’s very erratic! Life hurtles by, flinging different challenges. My writing tends to involve a first draft ‘splurge’ from a random idea, which then grows as I write. I then move to the tinkering and shaping stage. I often have to get out of the house, especially for a first draft, or simply to get the ‘writing juices’ flowing. I’ll sit in a coffee shop or library and just write. I can easily get out 1000 words in an hour – but then may not be able to produce much the rest of the day. Then I go back and re-read, tweak, ponder on what I’ve already written. I write most first drafts by hand, old fashioned style, and then type up – during the typing up I will shape as I go, and often add further paragraphs. Then I’ll often print it out and scribble over it, before repeating the process.
If I do write straight onto the computer, I tend to use my netbook, not the PC in my office. I’ve created an association with it – its main purpose is for writing, and the main PC has so many windows to the world that I’m frequently distracted, or simply can’t focus on a sustained train of thought.
There are patches when owing to different circumstances, I don’t write much at all.
There are times when my workload is more editing than writing (for Magnet magazine). There are times when weariness steals my ‘voice’. However, if I’ve not written for a while I start feeling agitated. I am a writer.
And a writer writes.
To continue this mini-blog tour I’d like to tag Veronica Bright and Claire Musters, to post next Monday (May 5th).
Hopefully I retained some coherency for this post, in spite of germs!