My Writing Process – Blog Tour

My sweet poetical sister Hannah Gosselin has passed me the baton to share a little bit about my creative process through a fun play-it-forward challenge making its way around, the Writing Process Blog Tour. But first, let me introduce you to Hannah.

2a7716be6ce6f53655d5166a0f94ee62Hannah’s gorgeous poetry comes to my email inbox daily. Her ardent love of nature always inspires. She’s a mama, an artistic creative soul, and a deeply treasured friend. Here’s a little more about the amazing Hannah:

Hannah is a student of life, loving nature, art, poetry and people. She’s published with Prompted – An International Collection of Poems, Poetic Bloomings – The First Year, Sprout Magazine issue 8 – Joy, Red Wolf Anthology 2013 and the Spring issue of Red Wolf Journals. Hannah was awarded a diploma by the Institute of Children’s Literature located in West Redding, Connecticut, for the successful completion of the course: “Writing for Children and Teenagers,” on April, 19th, 2010. She posted her Writers’ Blog Tour on Monday, May 26th. For a preview of her work, pop over to her blog at Metaphors and Smiles.

If you don’t already read Hannah, you should! (And if you read her Writer’s Blog Tour post, it will link you back to another lovely poetical friend, Misky.)
And now…my version of this “Blog Hop”…

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What am I working on?
Besides trying to get two smart, crazy whippersnappers through the end of the school year, I am still writing a poem just about every day, as a discipline, if nothing else. I just finished up a mammoth month of poetry in April for three different National Poetry Month daily challenges. Whew.

I’m blessed to be part of a gorgeous, colorful, inspiring monthly publication called Sprout, alongside some incredible talent corralled by, and including, Amanda Fall.

What I’m most excited about right now is my newest poetry endeavor, an adventure alongside my friend Jen Reyneri. It’s an exciting 12-month poetry curriculum and monthly contest for kids called Words With Wings.
wordwings copyJen is an amazing world-traveling woman of the Word and creative homeschooling mama, and when she asked me to help write a poetry curriculum for kids, how could I say no? It’s something I wish I would have found when I was a young girl pressing my heart to page, and something I’ve always been passionate about as an adult. If you have kids, know kids, or just love kids, be sure to head over and check it out. The first bonus month is free, and there’s even an Affiliate Program for fellow poet bloggers.

WordWingsPin copy

On the professional front, the occasional advertising copywriting freelance project still comes my way, after 13 years of freelancing, and almost10 years in agencies before that. The projects aren’t always centered in my sweet spot, but they do pay actual money, which is sometimes nice.

On the procrastination front, I also have several things I am ardently, actively not working on…I’ve had several children’s books on a waaaay back burner for years: Wilhelmina Wendelworth and the Worrywarts and Molly Melancholy and the Mirror, respectively. Both are essentially finished, but in need of a little polishing/illustration/magic fairy dust. I started a young adult novel back in January, but haven’t thought about it in months. Apparently I have creative commitment issues. Poetry is like a lovely daily tryst. ;)

How does my work differ from others of its genre?
This is a tough question, because I feel like poetry is always evolving – my own, as well as what the world considers poetry. Right now I am enamored of quirky line breaks, enjambment, the way a word breaks down to create multiple meanings. I see that in other poems sometimes, but I am literally obsessed with it.
Once I’ve seen that a word like tum
-bled
can contain the verb “bled,” I can’t unsee it.

I also like the play of subtle internal rhyme, and the challenge of some of the funkier forms, like the ovillejo, fibonacci and shadorma. I love vivid images and words used out of their usual context.

I have written approximately one quillion poems about Lake Tahoe, the ocean, or anything blue. The word indigo comes up so frequently it borders on the ridiculous. There’s lake/saltwater in my veins, and it often works its way out in the form of ink.
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Why do I write what I do?
Honestly, I’m not sure I have a choice. Words work their busy, buzzy little ways into my brain daily, and if I don’t write them down, they get all noisy and angry. For now, they always like to be poems, usually pithy ones. As I said, the short-term commitment of a poem pleases me to no end. A couple of words bump up against each other in the dark and make sparks – zing – sing me a little song, and we’re off. There’s nothing I like better than the way words dance with each other. For me it’s all about the sound, and the way the words spill across the page.

I also truly believe I was created with this job description:
I’ll be the poet who sings your glory,
and live what I sing every day.
-Psalm 61:8
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How does my writing process work?
Wake. Coffee. Write. Repeat.

photo copy 4No, seriously, as a busy mama, it’s often hard to find the margin for writing. First thing in the morning has worked best for me for years, but as my kids get older, there are slices of time later in the day, also. My best writing year involved getting up between 5 and 5:30am every day. I’m trying to get back to that, but I’m not a morning person, so it’s tough.

I feel the pull of poetry every day, and when I can’t – or don’t – get to it, I go to bed feeling unsettled, unfinished, like something’s missing. I’m a first-class procrastinator, which sometimes works in poetry’s favor (I’m an excellent poet when I’m supposed to be cleaning)…and sometimes not so much (if I’m supposed to be writing a poem but my mermaid of a muse is refusing to grace my desert place with her presence, I’m probably working out while reading or watching Castle or Alias.) Poetry is part of who I am, though, the way God wired me up. When the insecurities creep in, I have to remind myself that to doubt or deny this gift would be to doubt the beauty of His creation.

Poetical Drumroll, Please…
And now, I shall pass the poetical torch on to another one of my favorite nature-loving poet-photographers, Pamela Smyk Cleary. As with Hannah, I got to know Pamela through Robert Lee Brewer’s Poetic Asides site, when gorgeous poems and also lovely comments for my own words started popping up with the moniker “PSC in CT.” We were poetical friends for a long time before I knew her first name. ;) Pam’s a gifted photographer, a beautiful poet, and a quirky, fun friend.

420420_2963830250407_286015674_n Pamela Smyk Cleary (or PSC in CT) is happiest when she’s wandering the local woods & waterways in the lovely state of CT carrying her camera and tarrying with nature’s creatures, plants and flowers (many of whom are as camera-shy as she herself is). 

Although PSC’s a somewhat sporadic poet (see here), some of her poetry has appeared in print and bits & bytes in such spots as: A Blackbird Sings , Poetic Bloomings the first year, Beyond the Dark Room, Sprout, Enhance and other poetic places.  She posts her poems & photos (in a random & mostly haphazard manner) on her blog Wander, Ponder, Poems & Pix.

Pam’s creative process Blog Tour post will go up next Monday, June 9th.
Be sure to check it out!

And feel free to share a little about your own creative process in the comments.

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22 Responses to My Writing Process – Blog Tour

  1. MarinaSofia says:

    How refreshing to hear about a poet’s writing process for a change (not that I don’t love novelists and other writers too)! I used to think that poetry was my way of procrastinating when I should have been working on my novel, but it’s becoming more and more an essential part of my life.That description of a day without poetry is spot-on!
    ‘I go to bed feeling unsettled, unfinished, like something’s missing.’ Lovely!

  2. Reblogged this on Metaphors and Smiles and commented:
    Yay!!! My go-to-poetic friend is sharing her process magic today!! Thank you De Miller Jackson for being such an inspiration and for playing along on this virtual blog tour!!

  3. I smiled nodded and laughed…I loved and wondered and awed…De, you bring SUCH inspiration! Thank you SO much for joining the fun and sharing the magic of you…as a writer and as a being on this blue/green spun sphere that we share! ♥

    I LOVE your reasons for why…two words in the dark zing and sing…YES!!

    Your projects on back-burners sound magical and I so “get” the creative commitment issues…I, too, adore the strings-free aspect of poetry.

    I could go on…thank you for the trails of link to hop along and ponder as well…I look forward to our friend Pam’s tour piece as well!

    Excellent…a happy day, (and week, month-year!!) to you!! xoxo

  4. Misky says:

    Reblogged on Chalk Hills Journal, my little poetic treasure! I love that you’re also a morning writer, even though you’re not a morning person. And that pink chair is to die for! Thanks for joining in on the Poets’ Blog Tour

  5. Susan says:

    I haven’t been reading this series, but stumbled over yours and sat to read it. I’m glad I did. I resonate with psalm 61:8. Good to meet you!

  6. So proud of you. and I adore this: “I have written approximately one quillion poems …”

  7. Linda E.H. says:

    Great post, De. I love this line: “A couple of words bump up against each other in the dark and make sparks – zing – sing me a little song, and we’re off.” that line is so YOU! I love your wordplay and wording.

    Also, by all means, get those children’s books finished and send them out. You would make a great children’s author. You don’t need to worry at all about illustrations. The publisher sets that up.

    Also, I adore that leaf shadow photo. <3

  8. De, so interesting to read all about the connections between you and your poetry! :)
    By the way, so glad to have met so many wonderful poetic voices back in 2010 Poetic Asides!

  9. Marie Elena says:

    De, you already know you are my all-time fave poet ever, so I won’t bother to state that. ;) This whole curriculum thing is news to me, and it’s a good thing Keith just went upstairs … otherwise he would think I’ve lost my ever-lovin’ mind, as I’m literally BOUNCING on the sofa in excitement for you and the children who will benefit from this! GO DE!!!!!!!!

    Oh, and AMEN on your comments about our Sweet Hannah, and GO PSC IN CT! :D

  10. Well, I, too, loved reading this. And the photos you shared as well – the heart shadow. The pink chair. I was going to ask how you kept it so immaculate-looking. :)
    And I agree that you should get going on the novels. I would be happy to pre-read and pre-edit!
    So glad I get to benefit from your joy of playing with words!

  11. Laurie Kolp says:

    You are one talented and amazing lady!

  12. Jen Reyneri says:

    Love this. Love you. And love that our words are taking flight to help others’ soar to Him!

  13. drpkp says:

    De- Lovely responses – especially those words bouncing up against each other… :)

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  15. seingraham says:

    When I noticed you were on the tour, just had to come see how it was going and of course, was enchanted…love your process, love that you’re such a procrastinator (I suffer the same affliction with much the same feelings about it)…all in all, a De – light.

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