Bloghopping Mad!

It’s a fine sunny Monday here in Toledo – ideal for a spot of bloghopping. And this is not just any old bloghop, oh no, but one that’s meant to be all about the “writing process”.

I did not, you understand, come up with such a lofty concept. I’m merely attempting to catch the bouquet tossed high up into the air by Linda of expateyeonlatvia, who summarised her writing process to me once as “I pour myself a glass of red and start ranting”. I sure wish my rants were half as hilarious as hers *wistful sigh*.

Let’s get to the questions:

What am I working on?
Hmmm… I guess…. life…and my(exasperating)self. I’m a lazy ol’ sod and inclined to let things slide. At every opportunity. I procrastinate, the discomfort grows, until panic sets in, and only then do I spring into action. A couple of days ago, I came across Stephen Covey quote: “Most of us spend too much time on what is urgent and not enough time on what is important”. That just about sums it up for me.

It’s a constant tussle between the daily grind, and maintaining the trajectory that propels me towards the things I actually want to do, and these things tend to require quite a bit of tedious planning.

This also applies to writing – the most satisfying posts tend to the the ones I’ve been brooding over for a while.

How does my work differ from others in its genre?
I don’t think my blog fits into one particular genre. Is it an expat blog? A food blog? A language blog? A travel blog? A humour blog? Well, it’s a mixture of all of these, more of a shaggy mongrel than a streamlined thoroughbred.

I’m not actively trying to set myself apart. I’m not selling a “product”. I just want to express myself, share my experiences and link up with people of similar interests. I like discussion, puerile puns and silly banter. I get things wrong sometimes, and I don’t mind people picking me up on it – that’s what the comment box is for.

I’ve come across blogs that didn’t have a comment section. Or bloggers who just don’t respond to comments. What’s that all about?!

Why do I write what I do?
I write every day because that’s how I earn a living. Of course, my work writing caters to my clients’ needs, and even though they give me a lot of freedom, it doesn’t entirely satisfy me on a creative level.

The blog provides a counterbalance, it’s an outlet for my thoughts and observations that have no place in my work writing. In the Food Follies and Global Consumerism sections you will find those posts that are closest to my professional writing, although the language will be more informal and I’ve tackled issues from all sorts of precarious angles, which would be wholly unacceptable to my business clients.

I set up the blog for three reasons: To help me develop my writing in other directions (particularly in the language and humour realms), to bore the pants off my friends and family with what I’m up to (“look, she’s scoffing yet another cake!”), and to connect with like-minded bloggers all over the world.

How does my writing process work?
That depends. Since I started blogging, I don’t go anywhere without my camera. Some people go into anaphylactic shock when they discover they’ve left their phone at home. For me, it’s a missing camera that gets my knickers in a twist. If I see something that’s pretty, delicious or just plain ridiculous, I snap it, wedge it between a few lines of text, and up on the blog it goes.

The process for the non-photo-centred posts is really quite different. Some of these will have been festering in my brain for aeons, until they suddenly reach critical mass. This tends to happen at the most inconvenient of times, i.e. when I really should be doing something else, like my PAID work. By now, I’ve accepted that I have about as much control over the expulsion process as a pregnant woman in labour. It just has to come out, whether I like it or not.

I must add, though, that my (non-photo) posts are never written and published within the same day. I usually take ta least three days, sometimes longer, to get from the first few rickety draft paras to the final version. There can be as many as 30 revisions. When I reach the point where I can’t tell anymore whether I’m making a piece better or worse, I know it’s time to stop fiddling.

Californian writer Annie Lamott wrote once that one of her greatest fears was being run over by a bus outside her house right after having churned out a first draft of a restaurant review or whatever. People would find the document on her computer, stare open-mouthed at what are clearly the incoherent ramblings of a maniac, and be convinced that she had, in fact, killed herself. I can relate to that. It’s an involved process, almost equally as exhausting as it is gratifying. For that reason, I could never conceive of writing a novel, and I have boundless admiration for people who manage to accomplish such a feat.

A gratuitous flower pic. Because Linda loves them :)

A gratuitous flower pic. Because Linda loves them ๐Ÿ™‚

OK, time to pass the buck. And it goes to the amazing Anna from gohomeandaway. Incidentally, it was expateyeonlatvia’s raucous comment section which brought us together. Anna, a native Muscovite who blogs from the great Russian capital, spent a large part of her formative years and early adulthood in the US.

Anna loves both cultures as much as she finds herself torn between them, which makes it a very compelling blog for all of us who have spent a substantial stretch of our lives outside of our birth/passport countries. I think that this post, which is about the intrinsic sexism that still prevails in Russian society today, illustrates her struggles rather poignantly.

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59 thoughts on “Bloghopping Mad!

    1. ladyofthecakes Post author

      Annie Lamott totally rules, even though she’s a ‘Mad Christian’. (I realise this comment has just cost me half my US followers). “Bird by Bird” – read it, it’s totally hilarious.

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply
      1. NancyTex

        Those chain-letter deals always threaten a shit-storm of awful things befalling you if you break the chain, don’t they. When FreeButFun tagged me I was too afraid I would wind up cursed for the next 3 lifetimes to say no. I threatened Linda with same, which is how I got her to acquiesce. ๐Ÿ™‚

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  1. Anna

    DUDE. I totally forgot about this! Need to get on that ๐Ÿ˜€
    Your process seems a bit chaotic which makes me feel a bit better ๐Ÿ˜›

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      1. Anna

        Man, I should have hopped over to Bavaria too! I fell in love with it even more last summer with all your photos of the countryside and those drinks by the water!

        Like

      2. ladyofthecakes Post author

        I’m thinking about doing a “what I ate today” post while I’m there. Not EVERYTHING that slides down my gullet, you understand, just maybe one meal/food item. Or do you reckon that would be overkill…?

        Like

  2. Kim in Fiji

    Why are you blogging, Lady – and why am I reading it? Don’t we know we should be curling our hair, putting on our makeup and preparing our wardrobes? (I just read the link you provided about the Russian women). I know the author is just joking … we really do secretly want to be sex objects like all Russian women. I’m sorry – I must go and pluck my eyebrows now.

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    1. ladyofthecakes Post author

      I should probably be straightening mine as it’s already curly – whatever’s the most work seems to be the motto!

      Look forward to the next issue of your Weekly Pluck And Curl Report ๐Ÿ™‚

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  3. joannesisco

    I feel so much better knowing that my obsessive re-working of drafts is not unusual! … and you touched on a topic that really puzzles me too. Bloggers who don’t respond to comments … or provide for the opportunity to leave comments. Whaaat?! I’m not interested in one-sided conversations.

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    1. ladyofthecakes Post author

      It’s bizarre… I mean, I understand that people may not get round to a detailled reply every time, and neither do I expect a response to “nice pictures!”, but if someone has gone through the trouble of composing a thoughtful comment, it would be nice to have a acknowledgement. Actually, I’ve now taken to unsubscribing to blogs where I’ve left several comments with no response. Not that I keep a tally or anything, but I do notice, after a while, if there’s never any comeback.

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  4. June

    I’m so happy to find that people have as many revisions as I do! Part of my issue is that my brain has been reduced to mush by years of painkillers for a dodgy back so I have to make individual changes as I find them, lest I forget by the time I get to the end of the sentence. I also have a thing about the aesthetics of a sentence or paragraph. I hate when one solitary word ends up on a new line. What’s that about?!

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  5. TheLastWord

    Hey! I’ve a shaggy mongrel of a blog too. Probably more so, because I write as 4 different people and one of them writes exclusively about cricket.

    I can’t understand people who don’t engage in conversation. Really, gets me worked up.

    Procrastination? Check.
    Edits? Check (though 30?)

    I only edit and procrastinate because of my fear of rejection, really. ๐Ÿ™‚

    How does this blog hop thing work?

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    1. ladyofthecakes Post author

      This blog hop thing… very simple, someone asks you to do it, then you ask somebody else to take it on after you.

      I didn’t realise you were FOUR people. Still waiting for an update from the one that went to Paris ๐Ÿ˜‰

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  6. Debbie Smyth

    I totally understand the put things off till they are desperate then panic modus operandi! And I’m very glad you started your blog, whatever the reason.
    Mutter and mumble to self: how many times have I typed a comment into the search box instead of the comment box when using my phone and then had to start over. Anyway, I’ve put it in the right place now. Better go to bed before I cause any more damage!

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  7. adamf2011

    Well, as one of your “non-remunerating clients,” I want to thank you for blowing off your paid work in favor of the free and entertaining stuffโ€ฆgracias-danke!

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      1. adamf2011

        Shhh! Don’t tell anyone I’m back. I’m not really back. I’m just on a short break from my break, I’ll soon be back to my breakโ€ฆif you know what I mean. ๐Ÿ˜‰

        Liked by 1 person

  8. pollyheath

    Love reading these and hearing about how other people approach blogging -especially when you likened a particularly poignant post to shooting out a baby. A way with words, you have ๐Ÿ™‚

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  9. freebutfun

    Ha, i wished you’d share how you feel your professional writing and blog writing are different, and now I know. And yes, good blog discussions are great,have taught me a fair bit!

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  10. linnetmoss

    “I like discussion, puerile puns and silly banter.” Brava! I enjoy your blog because it’s such a great mix of the substantive and the frivolous ๐Ÿ™‚

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  11. Karolyn Cooper

    You are also very good at commenting on other blogs, which helps build the community. Oh dear, does that sound too much like a WP staff comment?

    Like

    Reply

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