About This Thing Called Writing...

This week, my awesome blogging/expat friend Rachel from The Inspired Story tagged me in a blog hop to talk about my writing process. Rachel is relocating back to the States after a year in Mexico. I'll be taking copious notes on how she deals with reverse culture shock, as that's exactly where I'll be in about three months!

I feel flattered that a) she assumes there is a method to this madness I call "blogging", and b) she thought of tagging me. It's my first "blog hop." It's exciting.

So read on for a behind-the-scenes look at how I string words together onto the screen, and for who gets tagged next!

What are you writing or working on?

For the past few weeks, I've been brainstorming ideas for an e-book or e-guide to give to people who subscribe to my new monthly newsletter. Some ideas I've had are focused on how to prepare for a life overseas, thriving in difficult places, and a memoir of our time here in Cambodia (if one of those sparks your interest, let me know in the comments!). Some of those might come out first in the form of a blog post series.

For July, I have lots of ideas sketched out for blog posts - sharing what I learned on comforting friends who are grieving, resources to study the Bible, what babies really need in Cambodia, and escaping reaction while embracing intention. It's shaping up to be a good month!

This is also my first month sponsoring another blog! I won an ad spot for July with Jenna from Dearest Love. So I'm getting my feet wet in that area too and hoping it will grow Journey Mercies even more!

How does your work differ from others in its genre?

Journey Mercies focuses on faith, family, and life abroad - and often a mixture of all three. This blog actually started as a way to tell the story of our journey in Cambodia, and those stories continue to play a prominent role.

I wouldn't call myself a "mommy blogger", but I do write about how living in another culture affects how I view myself as a mother and how I parent. I write about traveling around Southeast Asia and share tips we've learned the hard way. And everything I write is filtered through the lens of my faith in Jesus as the only hope in life.

This is real life - writing around my primary job as "mom"!

How does my writing process work?

I have a couple different types of processes when I work on posts. I keep a running list of post ideas that come to me, using the ideas list from my blog planning kit. Generally, at the end of the month, I write up an editorial calendar with some of those ideas, as well as other events I'd like to write about. I probably follow the calendar around 75% of the time; I like to leave room for the inspired unplanned post.

Those posts hit me spontaneously - such as the one I wrote earlier this week on how being a nurse prepared me for motherhood. I get sudden inspiration, maybe from a conversation or another blog post, and the words just flow.

Other times, blog posts have been rolling around in my head for days. I think of main points, introductory sentences, and photos days before I finally get around to writing them down. Sometimes they come to me while I'm doing something with my hands, unable to type it out, so I grab my phone and just speak the words in my mind into the voice memo app of my phone (I did that with the introductory paragraph of my guest post with Djibouti Jones). Usually those get one or two passes before getting published, because the rough draft was already written in my head!

And then there are the posts I know will be helpful for others but need some prep work. For months, I wanted to write a post with detailed photos showing how to cross the border from Thailand to Cambodia. We have a lot of couchsurfers who ask us for directions, and having a detailed post would be easier to share. It took me two or three trips across the border to get photos and the correct directions. But now that it's finished, I think it's a great resource to share with travelers.

Of course, all this is done around caring for our son and our home. I'm so thankful for the creative outlet and relationships blogging gives me, because staying home all day with none of that would probably drive me bat-crap-crazy.

What other writers would you like to introduce to your readers?

Ok this is the fun part - introducing you to some of my lovely blogging friends who, if they like, can accept the challenge to share their own writing process.

Danielle from danielle-marie.com is a fellow expat living in Bangkok who writes about family and adoption, faith and life overseas.

Chantel from A Harvest of Blessing is a "jack of all trades" blogger who writes about faith, family, living with less, and food. She also hosts my favorite weekly blog link-up!

Ashley from Brooks Editorial actually writes all about writing and creativity and staying inspired. I always look forward to her weekly newsletter - but I'd love a behind-the-scenes look at how she gets writing done.

Go check out these women's inspiring blogs, and if you're a writer - how do you stay inspired? Any tips to share with other writers?

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