Tuesday, 1 July 2014

Why I Write


I'm sure many of you are already aware of the 'blog hop' that's been going on lately: in a nutshell, you write a post answering four questions about your writing. You're nominated by the previous blogger; you do your post then go on to nominate others who inspire you and they 'pick up the baton' as it were.

So when the lovely N of Creative Academia asked if I'd like to join in I was only too happy (and flattered). I really liked the sound of the topic and do enjoy working to a brief on occasion as I feel it makes you think about things from a different angle and focuses your thoughts.

So without further ado...

1. What am I working on?

Currently I'm blogging for a few sites, namely This is Your Kingdom and Garlic and Sapphire. I only recently joined the team at the latter and I really love writing for them as the subject matter allows for a lot of creative freedom.

On the more personal side of things I'm (slowly) putting together some memoirs for Joe. Much of this is about giving him a sense of his family history. I also start many things which don't get finished - mainly children's stories - and my mum has actually written a children's book which I promised to edit. Another thing I need to do.

And I'm always, always working on Mitenska. Not that it ever seems like work.


2. How does my writing differ from others in my genre?

It's funny, I never really think about things in terms of 'genre'. The first time I ever heard that word was at university, in my Film Studies class. We watched films which were easily defined as 'types': melodrama, film noir, Westerns. This blog isn't really something I consider as belonging to a specific genre. It's not a parenting blog, or a lifestyle blog. I suppose the best way I can find to describe it is how I introduce myself on Twitter: I write a blog about all the things I like.

I suppose Mitenska is different because, like each of us, I'm an individual and it reflects me.

3. Why do I write what I do?

This is the hardest question! There are lots of reasons: it's a way of keeping a journal with photos I can look back on. It's a means of getting in touch with like-minded people. It allows me to be creative. It's an outlet where I can muse on things I've seen and done, or reflect on things. Very occasionally it's a bit of a confessional  - I've had the odd rant too (and when that's been the case, it's been pretty cathartic).

4. How does my writing process work?

I'm a writer. Not in a professional sense; I'm not paid to write (how wonderful that would be). But in a deep-down, 'This is who I am' sense. Whatever I do, wherever I go, that little voice in my head is providing a running commentary. It's usually quite descriptive and flowery. The fun I've had on long bus journeys, mentally describing (and inventing stories about) fellow passengers... I'm always observing.

Nature is a vital part of my writing process. I need the outdoors to remain sane. It inspires me and has a truly calming effect on my (anxiety-prone) mind. It's often where little seeds of ideas form. I'll be out walking and something suddenly just germinates and slowly begins to unfurl and branch out. And I try to jot it down. So, nature and notebooks. My two most important tools.

Sometimes ideas are stored away until a later date, but these are always written down. Always.

Oh, and lastly: the photographs. They're an important part of the process; I love photography almost as much as I do writing. With a blog the two go hand in hand so for me it's the perfect medium. I may go on the lookout for specific things to photograph for a post, or look back through my archives to find an image I'd like to use; one that 'fits'.

A lot of the time (OK, all of the time) I'm out and about my camera's with me. I take lots of pictures. And I regularly build a post around them. That's why I find the whole mosaic/collage thing so handy: it enables me to use loads of images in a single post.

I suppose that's what ultimately Mitenska is: a patchwork of all the little things that inspire me, that I love, that interest me.

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Well, that's all. I hope you enjoyed reading my writing about writing... it's a subject I could probably muse on for ages but instead just went for it. Hopefully that's the most instinctive, honest way to address those questions.

Are you wondering who my nominated bloggers are? I'm so excited about this part!

First up we have Sue from The Quince Tree. Hers was one of the first blogs I started reading; I love her irreverent approach to all things domestic. She shares great recipes and has a real appreciation of the seasons and celebrations throughout the year. She was also very supportive of my blog from the early days (a whole year and a half ago) and I appreciate that hugely.

Next: Helen at I write this sitting in the kitchen sink. We have little ones of a similar age and she's one of those people I enjoy being in contact with in blog land. We're also both teachers (well, ex in my case) and we both like a bit of crafting.

Finally, Annie from Knitsofacto. Again, hers was one of the first blogs I visited regularly. She's a fellow nature-lover who dyes her own yarn and knits the most beautiful things. Her photography is incredibly evocative too. And, like Sue, she's been very supportive - I was so pleased to guest post on the Colour Collaborative earlier this year when she asked.

I'm looking forward to reading all three posts from these great ladies - hope you are too.

29 comments:

  1. The outdoors and your blog go so well together. I really enjoyed your whys and wherefores. Thanks for sharing.

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    1. Hello! Thank you - I'm glad you enjoyed it.

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  2. I enjoy your blog very much, Sarah. It's a window into your life and thought process, and you do a lovely job expressing yourself.

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    1. Thanks, Jennifer! It's nice to receive praise from someone whose writing I admire :)

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  3. It is great to read a bit more about you and how you work and write, everyone is so different and has such different answers to these questions, it is fascinating! I wish you well with all of your writing in the future. xx

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    1. Thank you! I'm still playing catch-up with all the other posts but have read a selection so far and am really enjoying them.
      S x

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  4. I think my favourite blogs are the ones that reflect the person, not those that are purely one-dimensional in terms of subject matter - long live individuality! Thank you again for asking me to join in - I'm looking forward to answering these questions. (And I would class myself as an ex teacher too - can't see myself stepping foot inside a classroom again any time soon!) xx

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    1. 19 years later and I still haven't stepped back inside a classroom. A lovely read Sarah I am looking forward to writing my post next week.

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    2. I'm looking forward to reading it! And as for teaching... I don't think I'll ever go back. The mere thought of all that paperwork makes me shudder.

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  5. A lovely post, it's so nice to hear how other people write and find inspiration. Your writing is always so enjoyable, so thanks for sharing this. CJ xx

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    1. Thanks, CJ! I'm enjoying looking at all the other blog hop posts - I'm glad I was invited along.
      S x

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  6. This is such a lovely read Sarah, you are a writer indeed. I enjoy your blog because it is so individual. It would be lovely to read some of your stories here. x

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    1. Ooh gosh, maybe - they're pretty lengthy though!
      S x

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  7. Wonderful stuff. You do write very well. I never knew you were a teacher in a past life! Where did the name Mitenska come from? It sounds vaguely Russian and I've always wondered what it means and why you chose it. x

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    1. Hi Gillian - thank you. Mitenska is actually a non-word... I was friends with one of the cleaners, Janusz, at my old job and he was so excited to find out my mum was Polish. One day he spotted my hand-knitted mittens and said they were called 'mitenska' in Polish. I thought it was quite unique so used it for my blog.
      My mum said it's not true, by the way - 'mitenska' doesn't mean mittens at all. Never mind!
      S x

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  8. Lovely post Sarah! You have a wonderful way with words and your writing is always a pleasure to read. Bee xx

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  9. I always love reading snippets about your day ... and of course your beautiful photos. I think I shall have to follow your example and start taking my camera out and about with me. It is interesting to read how you get ideas for your blog.

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    1. Do take your camera out with you! I'm sort of used to lugging mine around now - it's a big DSLR (my mobile 'smart' phone takes poor photos).
      You'll start to look at things in a completely new light!
      S :)

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  10. Lovely post Sarah, really enjoyed reading.

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  11. So interesting to read about why people blog. Someone asked me once why I'd started one, and my answer was "because I just wanted to". How eloquent.

    I am really enjoying reading your lovely posts. As Helen said above, the blogs I love the most are the ones where the personality of the writer shines through, and I think yours definitely fits that description.

    Slán go fóill,
    Giselle

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    1. Thank you Giselle! I'm not sure why I started a blog to begin with... I remember starting a few times and giving up (feeling self-conscious about putting myself 'out there' and not feeling my efforts were good enough).

      Now I'm hooked - if nothing else it's therapeutic to put things into writing then fling them out into cyberspace!

      S x

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  12. Great post. Mitenska gives a real sense of the person behind the blog and it's been great reading tidbits about your life, your views, your plans.

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    1. Thank you so much! It's really rewarding to know people enjoy reading and visiting my little space...

      S :)

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  13. I so enjoy your blog Sarah. It's so lovely to learn more about you through your writing. Thank you for joining in! x

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  14. I have just discovered your blog and I'm glad I did.

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  15. I am a writer, have been for about 18 years. I started by submitting pieces to regional mags, then branched out into nationals and now write a monthly antiques column. Writing is fun, but whereas I loved the writing process when I started, now I actually prefer the research for my various subjects and prevaricate when it comes to writing ... but there's nothing like a deadline for sharpening the pen!
    Margaret P

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