My Writing Process, Such That it Is
Naval-gazing indeed. When Roaen tagged me to participating in a Writing Process blog hop, I couldn’t help but laugh. The only thing I love more than talking about myself is getting to do it on my blog. We bloggers are a narcissic bunch sometimes, but I have really enjoyed clicking backward through the hop and seeing how other busy bloggers manage their work lives, families, and blogs.
What am I working on?
When Roaen sent me this, I spent a fair amount of time thinking about this question. What am I working on? I don’t write professionally, and I don’t have a goal of turning this blog into a revenue source. It’s a side project—a way for me to write, but also for me to stay in touch with many of the other wonderful folks in the Foreign Service community. I’ve been paid to write in the past, and that was lovely, but these days, it’s remarkably freeing to be able to write because I love it, instead of writing for a paycheck.
My only current writing project is this blog. After a years long hiatus (or effective hiatus, when I only posted once a month or so), finding my voice has become a struggle. What do I want from this blog? Who is my audience? And how can I balance writing about the things I care passionately about with the State Departments written and unwritten rules about blogging?
How does my work differ from others?
Oh, meandering me. At various points, I have blogged about studying abroad, the Peace Corps, running a business in Benin, technology in Africa, women’s issues, food, paper crafts, losing weight, life in Freetown, and finally, life at FSI here in DC. Like many in the FS community (officers and spouses and MOHs alike), I have lived a varied and interesting life, and have continued to write as I have done so.
Today, I write about many subjects well covered elsewhere: cooking, CrossFit, paper crafts, life at FSI, parenting, and travelogues. I am lucky in that my job ties all of those disparate subjects together. How can I find community and passionate work wherever I go? How do we Sondjos make our home happy, no matter where in the world it may be?
I love sharing the normalcy of our lives, and I love sharing our grand adventures.
Why do I write what I do?
I write because I love to write. It’s a creative outlet. I love to share. I love telling stories. And even when I am SO MAD because it looks like State is broken AGAIN, I love my job as an FSO. I want people to love everything I love as much as I do. And even if they don’t love it, I want to share my joy and my exuberance, and yes, even my frustrations with the rest of the world.
How does my writing process work?
I draft all blog posts in Evernote so that I have access to them on all of my devices, wherever I am. If I’m not online, I take notes and outline posts in a moleskin, but everything makes it to Evernote eventually. I am slowly starting a schedule (Foreign Service Fridays, CrossFit Mondays, Community Tuesdays), punctuated by regular posts about home and family. Drafts may sit around for months before I finish them, but once I have an acceptably finished post, I ask myself one more time whether it’s a good idea to publish the post as-is. If so, I copy it into WordPress, add any photos, and schedule it.
The vast majority of my posts are scheduled in advance. I write them when I have time to do so, schedule them, and forget about them. I’m finding that as I write more, the habits I developed when I was blogging professionally are also serving me well as an amateur. The fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants thing was fun for a long time, but I fully expect that future employers (and future managers of positions on which I’m bidding) will read this blog, and I believe a minimum of professionalism will serve me well.
On a technical note, I use a this editorial calendar plugin to help me visualize my editorial calendar each month.
Bridget is a fellow Foreign Service Officer, a mother, and an all around great person. I’ve enjoyed reading her posts from the DR, and can’t wait to read about her life as an American diplomat in China!
The lovely Ashley is a (newly again) mother of five. I don’t know where she finds the time to write, but she is hilarious. And now that I’ve met her, I hear all of her blog posts in her actual voice, and it’s even better. I have loved reading about her family’s adventures around the world, and now in DC for long term training.