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My Personal Writing Workshop
Using my blog to workshop my ideas and see what sticks
In Writing the Journey, I write about writing. I share my travel and personal experiences through writing in a lot of contexts, but I also strive to achieve more as a writer. This is where I reflect on that process.
I’ve always loved the writing process. Because we moved several times in my childhood, I regularly wrote letters to friends. I have old notebooks in which I tried my childish hand at poetry and short stories. I kept multiple journals. I loved writing papers in college.
But I didn’t really see myself as a writer until I was in graduate school and one of my professors challenged us to answer the question: What makes someone a writer?
After a long discussion, I finally realized that I had been a writer nearly my entire life. I knew a lot of writers, most of us just hadn’t been published, at least not yet.
Shortly after taking that class, I started a blog. I really started blogging to share with friends, family, and strangers the journey of home renovation, but over the course of several years, it evolved into a space where I could write about anything and everything I needed to get down on the page. I blogged, but I could never truly call myself a blogger. My blog was simply the avenue I used to share my writing with others.
Instead of seeing myself as a blogger, I came to see my blog as my writing workshop for ideas. It was a place where I could improve as a writer outside of my work as a writing teacher. Over the last ten years I have written about everything: home improvement, politics, travel, parenting, faith, getting older, grief, etc. Nothing has been off of the table, although I’ve certainly censored myself over the years. But if I wanted to write about it, I did. I didn’t worry about niche because that wasn’t me. I just wanted to write, and I wanted people to read what I wrote.
And what happened as a result? I had enough material to dip my toes in the waters of self-publishing with a short book of essays. I have enough material for at least two more books about travel, which I’m excited to start sharing news on in the coming months. I have plans to do more processing here on Substack, in hopes that the processing will give me additional material for more books in the future. I am reflecting and learning as I go. This is my fourth blog space and I love watching it grow with me, both as a writer and as a person. Assaid in , it's all about the writing.
In the era of social media and a virtual public square, I am creating a place where I can write about my ideas, converse with others about those ideas, and work towards a better understanding of my world. And as I figure out how to best deal with social media, I now have other decisions to make, such as deciding whether it is time to start a private Substack just for friends and family. (And I will gladly take anyone’s thoughts on whether they are considering doing that for a healthy move away from too much social media.)
Regardless, I can’t, and won’t, stop writing anytime soon. And I will continue to use this space as a workshop for ideas and a place to hone my craft.
Order my new book!
I’ve written a memoir collection of essays based on several of my blog posts from the past seven years. It is available for purchase on Amazon.com.
And if you do purchase, please give it a favorable review on Amazon and Goodreads, or any other book tracking app that you might use.
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