Creating

Writing And Me (Blog Hop)

May 19, 2014

I’ve been journaling for 17 years, but I haven’t thought of myself as a writer, really, ever. I’ve thought about being a writer, like someone who wants to be a firefighter or president when they grow up. Now, I believe it’s the action that’s important (ex: if you want to be a runner, get outside and run. If you want to be a writer, write.) Yet, even after 530+ blog posts, I’m just beginning to think of my writing as significant enough to call myself a WRITER.

So it’s only fitting I was invited to a blog hop by Jill Salahub (a blogger I love AND get to actually chat with online) and have the honor of sharing with you a few awesome friends who will be posting next week.

1. What am I working on/writing?
I’m always writing morning pages, reading (books and blogs), intuitively taking in information, having deep conversations, taking photos, writing blogs posts and creating my life.

I began my blog in 2010, the same spring that I adopted a dog, bought a beach cruiser and began therapy.

Therapy was a game-changer for me. I finally started to understand all of my anger, hurt, and exhaustion and began valuing both myself and the life I was creating. I felt a need to capture my life in a more thematic, coherent way – outside of just stream-of-conscious journaling.

The same friend who suggested I try therapy (that I would actually like it) said my creativity came out in all aspects of my life – how I trained my dog, how I loved my husband, how I cooked, how I blogged and how I spent my days.

This took time to sink in but it’s how I see life now.

So I am always working on my life – learning new things, capturing moments, processing experiences, writing about them and then sharing them on my blog.

Creativity through living.

2. How does my work/writing differ from others of its genre?
When I go into a Wild Write (as taught by Laurie Marks) I find my writing dives deep into the emotional experience of a situation. I’m all feelings, nostalgia, fleeting time and heartbreak.

My blog writing tends to be more day-to-day life, but focused on the themes of self-care, self-awareness and growth, details of my days, fun experiences and the larger threads that tie my experiences together.
When I began my blog, I had parameters. I would be truthful of my experience but also respectful. I didn’t want this to be an angsty online journal, I wanted it to be a creative space in line with the blogs that gave me great comfort (see a list of them at the end of this post).

I knew I wanted to share my experience. And the lens of my life include becoming more and more true to myself as I go through my late 20s, being in a committed relationship, the details of my days, anything I’m drawn to and the fleeting sense of time.

3. Why do I write what I do?
I am struck with how finite life is on a daily basis. When I’m falling asleep at night, I think “One day, I will be dead and gone” and this thought is both jarring and motivating.

Annie Lamott posted on her FB last week:
“Oh my God, what if you wake up some day, and you’re 65, or 75, and you never got your memoir or novel written; or you didn’t go swimming in warm pools and oceans all those years because your thighs were jiggly and you had a nice big comfortable tummy; or you were just so strung out on perfectionism and people-pleasing that you forgot to have a big juicy creative life, of imagination and radical silliness and staring off into space like when you were a kid? It’s going to break your heart. Don’t let this happen.”

This is it. THIS is what I’m trying to capture in my own blogging, in the blogs and books I read, in the conversations I have, in the people I spend my time with, in how I spend my days.

This is why I write – to capture the world around me and my own experiences, because I know it is all so fleeting, that it’s passing me by even as I notice it passing me by.

There are still days I forget that I am in control of my life and I have the power to choose how to spend my days, but blogging reminds me of how far I’ve come, where I’m at and where I’d like to go.

And I write to touch people – for my writing to resonate with them and their experiences. To be a light or a companion for them. The hope that my little example guides their way – to give them permission to love their life, to let go, to slow down, to truly be themselves and love what they love – even when life feels chaotic, stressful and impossible.

4. How does my writing process work?
I don’t feel like I have a conscious process, but it seems to flow in three parts:

  1. I am thinking a lot, all of the time, about everything
  2. I write things out in my morning pages, and
  3. Then I tie experiences together through my blog posts.

Every morning, I wake up and write morning pages in bed, while H leaves for work and Carter lays in his crate, patiently waiting for me to finish. Afterwards, Carter and I head downstairs where he eats breakfast and I down a glass or two of water. We head out for a run, bike ride or walk so he can get his exercise in while I do too.

Throughout my day, I take photos, think a lot, jot down thoughts, save articles and blog posts to Evernote, have conversations with people and live my life.

When I have an idea that feels whole enough to tackle or I have the urge to blog, I sit down, go back through my memory, photos and notes, and pick something to write about.

Because I think so much – and tend to intuitively take in my life and then process it outwardly by writing or talking – most blogs posts come quickly. From years of journaling, it seems, most blog posts come out mostly-formed. This doesn’t mean that they do not need editing – but they usually don’t feel like work. They feel like having a nice conversation with a friend. I have something to share, and I share it.

Blogging has gone hand-in-hand with becoming more ME than I’ve felt in a long, long time. As I listened to my needs and wants, I wrote it down. As I found myself through therapy and creativity, blogging helped me find my voice. And track that trail.

My blog is a reflection of this process and it’s a work in progress. I want to understand, reflect on and enjoy my days through my writing. Recently, I am actively raising the bar. I want my blog to reflect me as a person and my life experiences even more, I want to expand into telling longer stories, other people’s stories, posting more regularly, and seeking out readers. I am now comfortable enough with what I’m building that I want to share it. I am not embarrassed or self-conscious about my blog. I’m proud of it.

LIST OF BLOGS THAT I LOVE
Drawn to Laurie Marks Wagner @27 Powers, Andrea Scher, Jen Lee, Susanna Conway (who’s blogging e-course I recommend!), The Noisy Plume, Esme Wang, A Design So Vast, Pink Ronnie, Elise Blaha Cripe, Ali Edwards, Jill Salahub, Jamie Ridler, and Abby Kerr.

AND… these lovely ladies involved in the blog hop:

Jill Salahub | Thousand Shades of Gray
Jill Salahub is an Introvert, INFJ, Highly Sensitive Person, Scorpio, and Four on the Enneagram – in other words, a passionate mess. She’s a wholehearted practitioner of writing, yoga, meditation, and dog. She is generous and gentle, loves laughter and pie. Her mission is to ease suffering, in herself and the world. Jill writes about the tenderness and the terror, the beauty and the brutality of life, and of her efforts to keep her heart open through it all on her blog, A Thousand Shades of Gray, (which she started writing long before those books).

Katie Arnold | Talk Less, Say More
Katie is a music industry professional, healthy living enthusiast and fitness fanatic.  Her blog Talk Less, Say More is a place for her to share all of her life passions in one space – writing, music, good food and fun workouts.  She believes all things in moderation are the key to living a healthy and happy life, and loves inspiring her friends, family and others around her to live their best life too!

 


Jessica Defino | hell or high fashion
Jessica DeFino is a Los Angeles-based wardrobe stylist, writer, and blogger. With a focus on fashion, Jessica’s work has been featured in Harper’s Bazaar China, Remix Magazine, ELLE Mexico, RayLi, and B Mag Online.  Her blog, hellorhighfashion.com, is dedicated to helping others better their lives through the power of personal style.


Lynne Raspet & Suzee Ramirez | Two Poppies
We are sisters, the two youngest in a family of five children. Two Poppies is a place where we share our “art and soul” ~ our creative expressions, personal inspirations, thoughts and dreams. We are moving into the realm of blogging at our own very s…l…o…w… pace due the other directions in which our lives are pulling us.

Lynne is a mom of four who bounces all over the country (especially the South ~ in fact they are moving within the month to El Paso, TX) with her Air Force pilot hubby and loves discovering new places to travel and adventure everywhere they live. Capturing real life with her camera, including morning walks, road trips, and the baby squirrels they fostered is her idea of a good time. Her favorite ways to sweat right now are running and yoga. She believes in serendipity including an adorable kitty who appeared at midnight on Christmas Eve and became part of their family.

Suzee lives in Orange County, California (her entire life!) and has two lovely animal- & beach-loving girls (we’d have a farm on the ocean if they had their way) and is married to her fellow entrepreneurial husband. She enjoys being active, creative, adventurous, and living with a sense of curiosity, awe, and wonder. Her reading is mostly centered on spiritual discovery & feels very comfortable knowing that life is a completely miraculous mystery.

Our paths have included teaching (Lynne was a bilingual English/Spanish kindergarten teacher) and graphic design (Suzee has been in this field for many moons & was partner in a design group). We currently also own and operate Multicultural Kids, which sells all kinds of products that encourage children to discover and appreciate the amazing world and all of its people. We are in the process of producing our first book, “A Beautiful Rainbow World” ~ a children’s photography book with photos from around the globe which will be out in June

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3 Comments

  • Reply jillsalahub May 19, 2014 at 12:06 pm

    I’m so glad you agreed to this, so happy to read it, find out more about you as a writer. I love the first step of your writing process, and seeing it makes me realize it’s why things like yoga and dogs are necessary for my practice, my sanity, because otherwise I might spend all my time in my head.

    • Reply justine May 19, 2014 at 2:58 pm

      Thanks Jill – it was really a highlight to have *you* invite me. I feel quite honored 🙂 And I admit it took me a while to write this post b/c I’d never thought about it at all – it actually helped me feel even more legit about my writing. You do good work haha. And yes – yoga, dog, nature, napping – whatever – are all brilliant ways for us to get out of our heads. Much love xo

  • Reply Something Good | A Thousand Shades of Gray May 26, 2014 at 10:09 am

    […] Something Good:  Writing And Me (Blog Hop), Justine’s response to the blog hop. I loved getting to hear more about her writing process, […]

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