Hey there, awesome readers!
Sometimes I get asked about writing. Questions like, “how did you know that you’d grow up to be a writer?”
This question always confuses me, and for two reasons:
One, I don’t consider myself to be “grown up.” (Adulting is for other professions like accounting and doctoring.)
And two, I don’t think I ever “knew” I’d be a writer. Writing is just something I’ve always done. It just turned out that I did it often enough that people started noticing.
Today, I consider myself lucky because I get to do what I love every day. But at the same time, writing is not the happy-go-lucky, gypsy life it appears to be. Sure, I can write from anywhere, anytime. But writing is HARD.
What is writing?
More than stringing a bunch of words together, writing is a way to process our thoughts. Except sometimes our thoughts are so muddled, that the insides of our brains feel like the wiring in an electrical room (where said wiring is a fire hazard).
Writing is a way to communicate a message. But sometimes the message we want to convey is so buried deep inside a thick layer of confusing technical jargon that putting it into clear and simple-to-understand words takes a lot of time.
Writing is how we share our stories. And those stories we want to share can be filled with painful memories or even serial killers.
And while this is mostly a humor blog, I thought I’d share an inside glimpse into the writing life, inspired by some of the most common questions I get.
Why do you use American spelling? Aren’t you Canadian?
This question comes from a very observant reader. Whether I use American spelling or Canadian spelling often depends on the medium I’m writing for. American publisher, American spelling. Canadian magazine, Canadian spelling.
That said, most of my readers who visit this blog are American and since inclusivity is a huge topic these days (and one of my core values), I play around with both spellings. TomAto, tomato. Or in this context, let’s be neighbors, neighbours.
Do you make up stuff or is everything you write about based on real events?
This is one of my favorite/favourite questions because it gives me an opportunity to talk about my many genres of writing.
So, yes. Most of what I write about is based on real-life experiences. Apart from this blog, I write a parenting column for Westmount Magazine. I’ve also written a memoir titled SUPERWOMAN: A Funny and Reflective Look at Single Motherhood.
AND I’m writing a suspense thriller about a serial killer titled Family Secrets. Just so we’re clear, this story is NOT a memoir.
Has anyone ever been upset by something you’ve written about?
Another excellent question. As a memoirist and essayist, I’m very careful about the stories I share. While everything is (mostly) true and usually comes with a learning experience (for both me and my readers), not everything is mine to share.
For example, when I’m writing about my kids, I don’t mention WHICH ONE. Perhaps one of the benefits of having four children, plus a few bonus kids.
You make fun of yourself a lot. Do people ever confuse your humor/humour with your intelligence?
Only my mother.
What advice do you have for someone who wants to be a writer when they grow up?
Ah. Good question! First, don’t ever grow up. It’s over-rated.
Second, read a lot, observe everything, and write every day. (Pronounced: EVERY day.)
Where do you get your ideas from?
Oh, that’s an easy one. The hamster. Most people sleep. I think. AND THINK. It’s annoying.
I also want to say that everything can serve as inspiration when you have an open mind.
Do you ever get writer’s block?
Nope. I used to, at the beginning of my career. But I’ve since learned a few tips on how to overcome writer’s block.
When I’m copywriting, I’ll open a new Word doc and here’s how I start:
NAME OF CLIENT AND DOCKET NUMBER
I get that writing “blah, blah” may not mean much to you but here’s why this works:
Staring at a blank screen can be very intimidating. Especially when there’s a big, fat deadline standing right behind you and screaming, “THIS IS DUE TOMORROW, MONA.” It’s awesome.
Also, moving your fingers across the keyboard, writing, “blah, blah” sends a message to the brain that says, “time to get serious, Mona.”
(Except if your name isn’t Mona, your brain will probably say something different. At least I hope it does because otherwise, CREEPY.)
On the other hand, when I’m writing an article, I’ll sometimes make a list (also known as an outline) of all the points I want to make, along with stories to drive those points home.
Reading is also a great source of inspiration.
So is wine. But not too much. Just enough to get the creative juices flowing. Red or white. They both work.
Oh! And speaking of writing tips, I’d love to hear yours! Please share your writing tips in the comments below.
If you’re shy, feel free to email me at Mona at Moxie-Dude dot com.
Or just head over to my Contact page.