Women, Writing, and Blog Hops

woman-writing-poetry1  About a month ago, I agreed to participate in a blog hop focusing on the Writing Process. For those (few?) of you who haven’t participated in a blog hop, it goes something like this. One person writes a blog on a designated topic and, in the writing, links back to the original blogger as well as to one or more other bloggers, who then take up the baton and write on the same topic from their own perspective and for their own blog followers. This becomes a blog version of chain-mail; it’s way to promote blogs and books as well as friends’ blogs—and to increase internet interest in a specific topic or issue.

This particular blog- hop, started by Lynne Hinkey, was intended to promote the blogs and the books of Indie writers. So I agreed, having both a blog and a book I’d like to promote. Then I tried to line up a couple of author-bloggers to whom I could pass the baton, which became more problematical . Two writer-friends came quickly to mind; however, one has a blog  but her book is not yet in press, and the other has a book  but does not blog.

So I went further afield to a couple of writer-acquaintances, both of whom have blogs I follow  and books I’ve read. However, neither one had time to participate in a blog hop, which I understand, having passed through a harrowingly busy month of April, myself. And a couple other blog-acquaintances I thought of asking had been involved in recent blog hops, so I thought they were probably not up for another right now.

Since I try to keep my word (although sometimes belatedly), I feel compelled to continue this thread, but with no future promises. In this and the next post, I’ll be linking to several wonderful women writers; you can check out their sites and then pass them forward in your own blogs—or not, as you wish.

In the process of thinking about this topic and a way to frame it, I have also been mulling over women writers as a group—the ways we write, our major subject interests, the kinds of books we write, and why men seldom read books written by women whereas women often read books written by men.

So let me first fill in the blanks about the Writing Process.

WHAT AM I WORKING ON?

Currently, I have two major projects in the works. One is a self-help book on Caring for Your Body, which brings together information on the structure and function of the body with tips on how to communicate with health-care professionals. The other is a book of short stories set in scientific labs, tentatively titled “Laboratory Notebook.” It is neither science fiction, nor truly main-stream fiction (few love affairs or dead bodies and no extraterrestrial creatures nor gruesome battles). I’ve posted a few of those stories in another blog site.

HOW DOES MY WORK DIFFER FROM OTHERS OF ITS GENRE?

Both books I’ve published so far have been non-fiction. One is a travel memoir that takes a historical view of Korea, a country where I lived and traveled for two years. The book has a (mature) female perspective, as I compare my experiences with those of another female travel writer who visited Korea a century before I did, when she was the same age as I. The other is a book of meditations on the nature of spiritual experience, as viewed from a scientist’s perspective.

Neither book takes a traditional view of its subject matter: one is about the adventures of female travelers; the other is about spirituality from a scientist’s perspective.

WHY DO I WRITE WHAT I DO?

I write about subjects viewed from a female scientist’s perspective, which means that I’m trained to think logically and linearly and yet can think with both sides of my brain. So I’m willing to intimate in writing the messy emotional under-story in a mesh-work of experiences described objectively. I write for others who might learn something interesting or valuable from the stories.

HOW DOES MY WRITING PROCESS WORK?

Unlike more economically successful writers, I take a rather scatter-shot approach to writing. I’ve actually been writing since age thirteen, when I began a journal in which I write to this day–if only occasionally–more than sixty years later. This habit has promoted an approach of introspective observer, some of which comes out in short fiction, my chief writing activity (besides scientific papers) during the decades I worked as a practicing scientist. At the time, I worked on stories when I had snatches of “free” time–for example, in airplanes on the way to and from scientific meetings. And I revised them during many evenings as after-hours mood-adjustment in place of drinking alcohol. The patient reworking of written words was deeply soothing.

Nonfiction has become a writing focus since retirement.  I’ve culled journals, letters and emails for topics of books and blogs. There seems to be endless material available.

In terms of discipline, I’ve rarely been able to specify a time each day when I write. As a consequence, my output is spotty, my blogs often lag or become temporarily abandoned, and I feel perpetually guilty and backlogged. My main discipline involves writers groups. At any one time, I usually belong to two or three groups which meet once a month, and I feel compelled to produce something new or revised for those. So—as in my prior work life—deadlines, whether external or self-imposed, seem to inspire the writing.

Moreover, I almost always have more than one book project in the works – two and sometimes three or four. I work on whichever one captures my interest at the moment, but then I may let it lie fallow if it seems to flag. When a project nears completion, though, I usually focus on that to the exclusion of all else (including housework), spending hours each day trying to revise a chapter or word-check a reference list.

So this is the writers’ blog hop I promised to do. Please click on the links in the text above (preferably opening in a new window) and read about some very interesting women writers and their work. More on women and writing in the next blog post.

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About joannevalentinesimson

Scientist, traveler, woman, writer, spiritual explorer, mother, grandmother, fascinated with the world, appalled by deliberate human ignorance. Blogs include: http://joannevalentinesimson.wordpress.com/ http://solowomenathomeandabroad.blogspot.com/ http://spiritandscience.net/ http://caringforyourbody.org/
This entry was posted in Being a Woman, blogs, travel, women writers and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

19 Responses to Women, Writing, and Blog Hops

  1. You are one fascinating woman! I am delighted to learn all of this about you. I look forward to learning more! Thank you for the links and your thought provoking comments on LLD. So happy we met in cyberworld. xo S

  2. Jane Perdue says:

    JoAnne – thanks for educating me about a blog hop…that’s a new concept and great way to share! Love how you painted such a rich picture of your thought processes from both the scientific and the “messy emotional” aspects. Perhaps some day, Sherry and I will catch up with you, having both published books AND blogs to our credit!

  3. kayann short says:

    I didn’t know that the Isabella Bird of Rocky Mt fame was in Korea, too. I love her Lady’s Life in the Rocky Mountains and even have a half-written blog post about it. Someday. I’d be interested in a blog hop, but I have already posted quite a bit about my writing process on my own blog and elsewhere. Perhaps a new angle? Thanks for visiting my blog today!

  4. Lynne says:

    Wonderful to learn more about your writing, JoAnne! I do apologize for the burden–I always hesitate to participate in these new versions of chain letters, but this one has been quite interesting. I’ve linked back not only to who I got “tagged” by, but back two or three steps leading up to her. I really don’t need another way to procrastinate, but seem to find them quite readily!

    • Lynne, I appreciated being tagged! You got the story. Anyway, I’m linking to other women writers, as well, so some of them may drive traffic to your book and blog. Speaking of books, I’d like to get two of yours – signed, of course. I want to send one to my grandson. He’s talked about the Chupacabra and is an animal lover!

  5. Ruby says:

    Interesting blogs, Joanne. I wasn’t aware of blog-hopping or Isabella Bird Bishop. Thanks. Ruby

  6. Susan Ekins says:

    Joanne, I’m amazed by how prolific you are and didn’t realize you wrote fiction. Wow. You mention that discipline is an issue for you and that “deadlines, whether external or self-imposed, seem to inspire the writing.” All my life someone else gave me my deadlines. I feel I “ought” to be able to set my own but it isn’t working. I’ll take your cue to start GOING to my two writers’ groups and bringing work.

    • Susan, another thing I find helpful is to make lists with deadlines. I often don’t finish things by the deadline set, but again, it creates a sort of psychological tension that motivates working on whatever task has a deadline looming. The potential downside to this is feeling like a failure if you don’t get things done on time. A large dose of self-forgiveness is in order so as to stay sane and not get depressed. I love Scarlet O’Hara’s “Tomorrow is another day.” This probably the key to sanity for a self-motivated, workaholic person.

  7. You say: “I have also been mulling over women writers as a group—the ways we write, our major subject interests, the kinds of books we write, and why men seldom read books written by women whereas women often read books written by men.” That really struck a chord. There is a difference in the way we write. I enjoy reading books by a variety of authors, male and female. But it’s true, men are less likely to read books written by women. In fact, in our dreams, I suspect girls commonly dream of themselves as boys (when the adventure requires it), but boys are less likely to dream of themselves as girls. Just a thought.

    I recently took part in a blog hop for an on-line friend’s book launch. It’s a good way to spread the word about a book to potential readers.

    • Nicki, thanks for the thoughts. Perhaps the difference in male and female tastes reflects differences in brain wiring. Women commonly use both sides of their brain in perceiving and evaluating a situation, whereas men tend to be more unilateral – relying heavily on their left (“logical”) side. Moreover, women have about twice the neural fibers than men in the corpus callosum, the fiber tract that connects the right and left cerebral hemispheres. I did a post on male and female wiring a few months ago. http://joannevalentinesimson.wordpress.com/2014/02/26/are-women-and-men-wired-differently/
      Having spent two years in Korea, another object of Japanese aggression in WWII, I’m interested in your book “Tiger Tail Soup” and will order it next time I do an Amazon order.

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