After being invited to participate in the #MyWritingProcess blog tour by my dear (and crazy) friend Betsy Cross, I realized I had never actually thought about whether or not there was a “process” involved.
#MyWritingProcess blog tour is a chain-style-blogging-tour consisting of a variety of authors answering four questions and passing it on to others. #ICBlogTour has been and will be sharing the tour and writers all summer. Here we go!
- How I begin my writing project.
Alaska Chick’s Blog is the online voice of Pioneer Outfitters. Since beginning almost four years ago, I have used the rules taught to me as I have learned how to be effective and committed to Social Media as well as writing a blog.
One of the first things I was taught about keeping a blog for the Pioneer Outfitters website was I needed to have “categories”. For us that includes Horseback Adventures, Winter Excursions, Big Game Hunting, Alaska Guide Training and Pioneer Outfitters. The first four are pretty self-explanatory and the fifth is my fallback plan as I write.
The category “Pioneer Outfitters” is everything from the history of the area of Chisana, interesting stuff about Alaska, business dealing with the National Park Service (we are located in the Wrangell St. Elias National Park), Social Media or just any dang thing I feel compelled to share with the world about our lives that doesn’t fit nicely into one of the first four categories.
Beginning a project, something must have triggered the need to share it with the world. Nothing at all compares to riding out into the world that surrounds us for inspiration when it comes to writing.
Conversations the team has at the round table each evening as we unwind and kick back talking about our day and tomorrow’s plans, playing cards or dice, teasing one or another of the team bring out the things that are on our minds and gives insight to where we are heading and what may need to be discussed.
Social Media and the topics, concerns and the how-to articles shared are also places that inspire me to share what living in the wilderness has taught me over the years. Inspiration is how I begin any writing project. The inspiration comes easily to me and I am blessed to live in a place that has so much to teach and share with us all, but that isn’t all there is.
Inspiration floods every part of me when I think of the people I have met online through Social Media as well as all the people I have yet to meet and share our lives with.
- How I continue a writing project.
Another piece of “how-to” advice I have been given numerous times as I learn to write for the world on Pioneer Outfitters blog is that the title comes first. This kills me. It is absolutely, with no doubt about it, the hardest part of writing for me. Key words, headings, SEO and meta-descriptions; they are simply things to learn, the details a post needs to be seen by the world. Titles are the hardest, most important part of the whole effort. Teeth grinding, headache-causing, mind-numbing effort gets put into every single title that tops each post I share with the world. (I am fully aware that in this area I quite simply, suck. ~ sigh)
So, horrid title creation aside, I just write! As I write from whatever inspiration urged that I share these words, almost always there is research that needs to be followed up on. Details of history that has been passed to me through stories, specific laws or regulations, names of influential individuals that have connections to us at Pioneer Outfitters, to Alaska or historic figures and of course checking any quotes I may use in my posts for accurate wording and credit always have to be checked, confirmed and linked to if necessary.
Never one short on words, when I began almost four years ago 300-400 words were the target length of a great post. (sigh) Luckily, my own habit of writing 600-800 words easily to share an experience or thought became much more acceptable.
Many times as I write, the words simply pour out of me and appear on the screen. My fingers cannot possibly keep up with the words taking shape and the feelings I hope to share with you and the feeling of inclusion that I hope for you to feel.
There are times however, as I still struggle with the whole “title-first” rule, that I will sit and just wait… Trying out different ways of stating what I want to share with you, hoping to feel that “click” that happens when you know that you have found the right title.
During that period other thoughts surface that do not really belong to the post taking shape in my mind. These become more documents, or if I am writing by hand, a new page. Each new page is one I go back to eventually, maybe in a few days, maybe in the next five minutes, to finish that thought, which in turn becomes another post that must be shared with you.
Managing Pioneer Outfitters online presence is part of my responsibilities. “As we live our lives, we make our living.” Living in Interior Alaska gives us 24 hours of daylight during the summer months and 6 hours of daylight during the winter months. We do not concern ourselves with what day of the week it is, unless it is Tuesday or Thursday when the mail plane is scheduled to arrive each week; Or what time it may be, except for 8am and 7pm which experiencing the wrath of our Lodge-Keeper-slash-cook will burn into your own natural rhythm, so you will never again be late for a meal together.
My own schedule for writing is even stranger. We have a lot of animals to care for and they are our first priority always. So once the chores are done each morning and the animals are taken care of I have about an hour to get coffee and open the email accounts to begin the daily rituals of sorting, reading, printing, filing and calling the Lodge with a list of the day’s calls that must be made by Master Guide Terry Overly in addition to whatever he has for me as well.
If everything flows smoothly it may be that I have time to begin opening the various different Social Media channels and check in, chime in or simply check out what is happening in the lives outside of Chisana, all over the world. I do this until my little one wakes for the day to begin with the school day, play or to “work” beside me on my old laptop after cuddles and breakfast are seen to.
Home-schooling my children has proven to be both a blessing and a nightmare. The nightmare is mine, alone. I have found myself asking many times how I possibly ended up with two (not one, but two!) incredibly gifted children and believe me, it requires a herculean effort to even attempt to stay ahead of either of them. So, unless I am out riding around in the wilderness, working with the horses, splitting wood or keeping up with the kiddos, I am writing.
- How I finish a writing project.
Folks ask how one knows when the post is finished. I write like I speak. This is me, talking to you. Just me, a farm girl living in the wilderness of Alaska, happy and honored to be sharing our lives with you. The post is finished when our conversation is done!
When the point is made or I have shared what you need to know, how I feel about it and any pictures I might share with you about it are selected and added to it ~ it’s done. Sometimes, I loose the spark that started it. This can be bad, but I have learned to simply walk away from it. Take a break, go split some wood, take a ride with one or both of the kids or simply open another project (I usually have 3-5 others ready to work on, think about or finish as well as two other books I am working on right now.) and immerse myself there for awhile.
When I started the blog, and during the time I wrote my first book, I didn’t really understand how important it was to walk away or to simply stop, when the flow stopped. I would keep pushing and force myself to just focus and force the words out. Now, I understand, looking back and re-reading my first year and a half’s work, I can feel the passion as I read, then poof! That spark, that passion ~ is gone. The excitement and connection with you (the important stuff) is missing. Oh the words are right and all there- they are just words though.
- “Include one challenge our collective communities could help with.”
When I was invited to join the I C Summer Blog Tour – “Navigating the Writing Path: From Start to Finish”, I was honored. I love to take part in writing tours and the greatest gift is meeting others who also enjoy meeting new people and finding out what, why and how they do what they do, what they have to share and where they do it. Then, Betsy sent me the instruction sheet with the rules and challenge, and I understood when I read #4 that it was also a blessing.
At this time, right now, we need your help. Pioneer Outfitters, the Community of Chisana and the visitors to the area we live and work in, need your help.
Stand for the Man in Black II is a matter of survival.
Survival of a way of life, of anyone who finds themselves in need, here in the wilderness, the range horses, a near-century old business, a community and the very real survival of a spiritual place humanity needs to know is available to them.
Stand for the Man in Black… because he will stand for us all… because he will provide the fuel to keep the generators running and communications open and operational… he will provide the horse feed to keep the horses alive… he will search endlessly for a lost loved one and find the way to get to them… he will assure that Pioneer Outfitters remains always the guiding force in the Wrangell Mountains, sharing all we know, all we find with anyone who wishes the experience.
This fundraiser is a matter of survival. · Survival of a way of life. · Survival of anyone who finds themselves in need, here in the wilderness. · Survival of the range horses. · Survival of a near-century old business. · Survival of a community. · Survival of a historically spiritual place humanity needs to know is available to them.
Here are some ways YOU can help:
- You can #Stand4theManinBlack by contributing to the fundraiser.
- You can #Stand4theManinBlack by sharing and stressing to your own communities how important this campaign is to the survival of a way of life, people lost or hurt, an entire herd of range horses, a 90 year old business and an entire community.
- You can #Stand4theManinBlack by sharing and stressing to others that many small donations add up so much faster than many less incredibly generous ones.
- You can #Stand4theManinBlack by reaching out to people you know who may have the influence and heart to stand with us and help us to let the world know.
- You can #Stand4theManinBlack by writing a blog post or article about the campaign and how important it is to the survival of a way of life so far removed from most people’s lives today.
- You can #Stand4theManinBlack by writing a blog post or an article about the campaign and how important it is to the survival of anyone who finds themselves in need or trouble in the wilderness that is our home in the Wrangell St. Elias National Park and Preserve.
- You can #Stand4theManinBlack by focusing a blog post or article on how important this campaign is to the survival of this historic community and the people who live here.
- You can #Stand4theManinBlack by writing a blog post or article about the campaign and how important it is to the survival of the herd of range horses that depend upon us knowing where they are and when they need help or feed.
- You can #Stand4theManinBlack by writing a blog post or article about the campaign and how important it is to the survival of a near-century old business.
- You can #Stand4theManinBlack by being right here, for us, helping us to Stay the Path and keep the faith. Your encouragement, friendships, advice and input matters to us. A lot.
Would you like to be part of the I C Summer Blog Tour – “Navigating the Writing Path: From Start to Finish” ? Please feel free to get in touch! Or, if you would rather, contact Sheri and Carly at: Sheri@ICPublishing.ca / www.ICPublishing.ca
I am completely honored to introduce Michelle D. Quillin of New England Multimedia next up for the I C Summer Blog Tour – “Navigating the Writing Path: From Start to Finish”. Be sure you get to see her contribution to this awesome tour.
Michelle Quillin is content creator and social media manager and consultant for New England Multimedia. An A+ BBB member, we create mobile-ready WordPress websites responsive to all devices, and produce HD video for broadcast and internet use.