Some of you have come across the 'My Writing Process' blog-tour thingy. And Val Poore has passed the baton to me - so now it's my turn to think about it. (You can read her lovely blog here)
1. What am I working on?
I'm trying to unpick a narrative from all the scribbles I made while I was in Cuba. It's a complicated process, and I'm not sure I understand how it works. But somehow just thinking about it all, and maybe writing a bit here and a bit there, enables my 'unconscious' (for want of a better term) to work out the story.
And then - with luck and a following wind - I'll have another ebook in the Over the Hill series.
2. How does my work differ from others of its genre?
Travel writers come in all shapes and sizes - and so what we see and think about will be different. Young people might write about surfing, or nightclubs, or cars. Some will pay more attention to place - and write poetically about the rhythm of the train on the Trans-Siberian Railway, or negotiating the backwaters of Kerala. Others openly write about themselves in the place - their work becomes a dialogue between memoir and travel; I sit more comfortably in this category.
For every writer brings personal experience. I travel as an older, white, woman - but I'm no Dervla Murphy. I'll never cross the Atlas mountains on a donkey. Instead I bumble about the place, and somehow find stories in the bumbling.
3. Why do I write what I do?
It was all a bit of an accident. I came home from a long trip (I went for a year) thinking I'd weave short stories from my travelling notes. Then I won a place on a mentoring scheme at Exeter University and my mentor persuaded me that I was strongest when I wrote about myself.
So I did. And still do (some of the time. I have been known to play with fiction from time to time.)
4. How does your writing process work?
It's a bit fanciful to describe what I do as a 'process.'
I'm never far from a notebook. But sometimes I use it more than others. There are days when ideas seem to fall over each other; and other days when I think of nothing more exciting than remembering to buy milk.
I ought to write regularly, every day. In practice, I fit it in with all the other wonderful things I do - playing with grandchildren, singing in a choir, walking in the forest, sitting in the garden drinking wine with a neighbour. Which makes it sound as if writing is an afterthought - and it's not. It's simply part of who I am - I love it. I still get fluttery when I sit at the computer. But there's no rhythm to how I write, no routine.
Not a great example for anyone to follow. But it works for me.