Friday, February 22, 2013

Writer Series Q&A: Dear Abby Leigh

Happy Friday, friends! I am so excited to share with you the start of a new writer mini series. I plan to post a few Q&A words of wisdom once a month from some of my favorite writing bloggers. I was thrilled to discover that the more I learned about these writers, the more I learned about my own blogging identity and writing process. 

As I dive into the rabbit hole that is the world of writing, one thing I've learned is that the writing process can be lonely. It's you and your notebook. You and your computer. Obstacles like writer's block, voice, or self-editing while writing can prevent us from putting thoughts on paper -- and doing it well.

The writing process looks different for all writers. We all have unique routines or habits before our fingers touch the keyboard. In the blogging world, it's easy to feel overwhelmed -- especially when it comes to readership, being true to content, and community. 


Today I have the pleasure and honor of sharing some wise writer words from one of my favorite writers: Abby from Dear Abby Leigh. And guys? -- she gets it. Abby and I met several years ago and to my delight, randomly reconnected in the blogging world. Her writing radiates creativity and honesty. She has been a huge source of inspiration to me, and I am betting that she will be the same for you. 

1. How would you describe your writing and blogging voice/style?

i think i might have a schizophrenic voice - writer & blogger both fighting for the spotlight and helping each other out behind the scenes. 

when the writer comes to play, i use a poetic voice, slipping into metaphors of my own design and mixing up what's public domain. i use the wrong word, sometimes on purpose but usually not, and i love to play with the rhythm of a phrase. i'm a grammar nut, but avoid capitalization and punctuation in my poetry. if i close my eyes when i read it back, i like to imagine i'm in a quiet cafe and people are snapping. they get me.

when the blogger takes over, i want to make you laugh. i tell stories and use a lot of let-me-combine-these-words-until-they-mean-what-i'm-trying-to-say constructions. i want you to finish a post and feel like you know me better. the words aren't as important as the feeling of authentic hang time. 

2. What do you most enjoy writing?

it really depends on the season i’m in at the moment, and i think the beautiful thing about owning your blog – and i mean owning it as a part of your ever-changing creative self - is that you have the power and the freedom to write through each season as it comes. a little over a year ago, i decided to stop doing what i thought bloggers were supposed to do (lifestyle type content), and focus only on my poetic voice. i put some money in re-designing my blog to give myself a clean space that felt right for that voice. i pushed myself to post & practice that style of writing, and only that kind made it to the new blog. i posted less often, and was okay with that, but the pressure of producing only poetry turned out to be very stifling for me creatively. i discovered that i needed to write in different voices to leave space for all the parts of me, and that allowed the poet part to speak freely when she had something to say. 

so today - i try to lean into a more three-dimensional voice. i love to write poems. they seem to lead me through to the end, and when the last line hits, i feel like i won the lottery. some days, i get just as much joy working on a piece about what i'm wearing and why. they're a beautiful mystery to me, these crafty word muses.

3. Do you have a writing process or routine that you stick to?

blogging is a great training ground for good writing. it forces me to sit down, get something on the screen, and get it to a publishable place in a pretty short turnaround time. i purposely lock myself into some weekly commitments - like my dress for the day stories and of the weekies, but i leave myself lots of space to write when creativity strikes. 

i write best first thing in the morning when the mind is a clean slate, before i've taken in other people's words, or at the end of the day when my defenses are down and i can't think myself out of good idea. i write when words get stuck in the roof of my brain, and i just have to get them out. 

4. What do you do when you have writer's block?

i move on to another kind of project, or just quit writing altogether. sometimes i set a timer to do something else for 20 minutes, and when it goes off i give writing another go. some days, the muse is on vacation or shopping for a new clutch, and i just have to close the screen and try again tomorrow. 

5. What do you find most rewarding and challenging about the blogging world?

the blogging world is a giant mirror, in the most flattering and terrifying way. it forces you to come up against your self everyday, and if the self you are writing and sharing with the world isn't true, the internet can tell, and it will tell you to shape up and just be yourself.

one surprise bonus of writing online: the people are amazing. like summer camp at your fingertips all the time. even blog celebrities are the kindest, humblest breed of nerd. you quickly realize it's a pretty even playing field when everyone is hitting the same publish button in their pajamas. most of the bloggers i've come across are more than willing to share ideas, tricks, their time, and their lives. it's completely true that many of my closest friends today are people i met on the internet, and i'm more than okay with that. in a strange twist of fate, i met you at summer camp AND got to know you on the internet. #worldscollide

                If you need help finding your blog voice, contact Abby at Abby Leigh Creative.
  Find out more about Abby & her blog through her Facebook pageTwitter, and Instagram.


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  2. Love this series (and that you started with my sister)! Thanks for digging into the creative process and for sharing your findings with us!

    1. Thanks Emily :) Your sister is one inspiring writer. Thanks for visiting!

  3. Hi! Visiting your blog via Better Blogger Network! It looks really fun and cute! :) Can't wait to read more.

    Blue Eyed Beauty Blog

    1. Thanks for stopping by, Helen. I appreciate it :)

  4. I agreed with Abby on the doing other projects when you're block. nice interview. I always like to know more about bloggers and habits.

    hope you're having a great day.

    1. Thanks Lissa :) I'm always interested in bloggers and their habits as well.. especially the writing process. Hope you're doing well! xo

  5. I really like her answers to numbers four and five! :) This is a cute series! :]

    1. Thanks girl! Abby is very talented, I'm glad I got to share her answers with the world! xo


"Pleasant words are [like] honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones." Proverbs 16:24