Image credit Keith Williamson
Marie Lavender, who so graciously hosted me on her blog for a feature and an interview, sent me the opportunity to join the Writing Process Blog Tour. What writer can resist talking about writing? So here goes.
My tour questions:
What am I working on?
I’ve been mulling over the next edition of my vegetarian cookbook, a new erotica short, a romantic comedy mystery and some fresh poetry. It would be nice to do some more guest blogging and get published in literary journals again.
How does my work differ from others of the same genre?
Mainly that it’s my work, so it’s coming from my own life experiences, choices and curiosities.
Why do I write what I do?
I write about everything, because I see no reason for a good writer to limit oneself. Life is happening all around you, so you live and write about it.
My primary topics at the moment are food, gardening, country life, travel, poetry and writing. Besides the necessity for eating and the romance and simplicity of cooking at home, I enjoy eating healthy. Even in restaurants, I always look at what’s in it for me, what nutritional value will I get from something, before ordering. Also, I’m concerned about the different health crises in the modern world, and honestly believe that plant-based nutrition plays a critical role in healing ourselves and the planet. Not only that, we also need to learn what’s in our food, how it affects us, empower kids to cook healthy and be more accommodating of special diet needs at home, school, work and social gatherings. That’s why I write my food blog and cookbook.
The garden and country life writing are the direct result of growing up with farm-raised relatives and finally living the life of my dreams. As a child, I watched my German great-grandmother digging potatoes and my Choctaw grandmother maintaining a compost pile. Those memories never left me, they just got temporarily drowned out by post-war Modernism. Now I wake up breathing fresh air each morning and take my old lab with me to feed the birds, squirrels and rabbits outside our window. In the afternoons, we play in the soil, keep an eye out for pests and diseases, count blossoms and fruits and hike on a dirt road at sunset. In between and in the evening, I do chores, cook and write. Monday nights are reserved for #gardenchat.
I love travel and researching distant places and sharing my passion for local spots I know and love. There’s tons of content on travel sites that you’ll never see my name on, but it paid the bills and was fun to do. I’ve got four personal experience U.S. travel articles looking for a home right now, and I’d like to complete my series on U.S. food tours.
How does your writing process work?
That depends on the situation. If it’s for a content site, like Textbroker or ContentCurrent, I’ll browse the available jobs on the board, pick one, then usually have to do some research. That could involve viewing existing content of similar nature on the client’s site, researching their products under the desired topic and/or researching the topic in general, such as Renaissance LARP costumes for adults and children, budget decorating for special events, new luxury car designs, U.S. airports’ amenities, Off the Beaten Path attractions in Southeast Asia and Things To Do in Europe. Last of all, I proof, add in the SEO keywords and check my word count.
For a guest blog post, I read a sample guest post or two, get a suggested topic from the blog owner, research the topic as needed, digest that, take a break, draft and proof. With guest blogging, there’s usually more time available to really polish the piece, unlike digital content sites, which demand quick turnarounds. Word counts and other policies change from blog to blog. Guest blogging for others is a fairly recent development for me, and I’m having a great time.
My poetry process varies. It might just come to me or I might have something specific in mind, like trying a new form or exploring a particular topic. For instance, when my dad went to Tanzania on business, I had just discovered the cinquain poetic form. So I read up on Tanzanian wildlife and natural resources and ended up with ten Tanzanian cinquains. On another occasion, my writing community issued a poetry challenge on food personification. Out came a pineapple turned into Eartha Kitt.
Still other times, there’s just something inside me that needs to come out. Maybe I’m fantasizing about a past or dream lover. Next thing I know, there’s an erotica story churning around in my head. Perhaps I’ll read a paperback and think I can do better. Sometimes, a piece will start as the result of a conversation or moments spent observing people, looking out the window or reading the news. I love spontaneous pieces as much as I love coming across fascinating facts in research.
Visit Regina Puckett’s blog to see where this whole Writing Process Blog Tour got started and check out more authors.
What are you working on?
Belinda Y. Hughes is the author of Confessions of a Red Hot Veggie Lover 2: Lacto-Ovo Vegetarian Recipes and Living Proof. Her blog, Café Belinda, specializes in dairy free, gluten free, sugar free, Kosher, vegan and vegetarian recipes. When she’s not refilling her wildlife buffet, covered in compost or out hiking with her old labradachs, she is available for author interviews and guest blogging opportunities.