Monday, August 25, 2014

Writing Process Blog Hop

Picture of a stick figure person sitting on floor working on a laptop computer
This is my response to a Blog Hop that came to me via Emily Ladau of Words I Wheel By

What am I working on?

Aside from actual blogging, I am working on my new podcast, Disability.TV, which is about how disability is portrayed on television. It’s going pretty well, I think, though I am much better and more comfortable writing than speaking. So far I have reviewed the original Ironside (the one with Raymond Burr), and this week I’ll be discussing the new Ironside, starring Blair Underwood). I have some guest hosts scheduled as well, which I think will make the podcast much more lively.

Meanwhile, I am starting a part-time job as a writing tutor at a local community college. I really hope I end up being good at it, because on paper it’s the perfect job for me … not too many hours, involves writing, and it helps people I greatly admire, people working really hard, often against formidable obstacles, to further their educations.

How does my work differ from others of its genre?

When I started the Disability Thinking blog over a year ago, I promised myself that I would write something on it more or less every day, barring illness, life interruptions, and the occasional day off to enjoy sunshine. One of my blogging role models is Duncan Black, who has been running his political commentary blog Esctaton since 2002. He posts at least 3 or 4 things every day. Sometimes it’s just a single thought, expressed in a few sentences. In fact, he almost never writes essay-length posts. A lot of his posts are responses to stuff he’s read. I do that, too. I want to make Disability Thinking a place where you can visit every day and be pretty sure to find something new to read about disability. It won’t always be brilliant or even very original, but there should always be something to think about or read further about, and I cover a lot of topical ground, from politics to popular culture.

Why do I write what I do?

Why disability? Because a. I have had disabilities all of my life, b. I spent over 20 years working in the disability rights / independent living field, and c. there are a LOT of things I haven’t figured out yet about disability. Also, it seems like the field of disability blogging is comparatively small. It isn’t nearly as small as I thought it was when I started out, but it still feels like all of the “serious” (i.e. consistent) disability bloggers in the world could meet in a medium-sized meeting room.

How does my writing process work?

It all usually starts by jotting down ideas for longer essay posts and shorter observations at various times during the day, using the Apple “Notes” application for the Mac and iPhone. I usually have 4 or 5 topics going that eventually might become posts. Every morning, I also check out news items and other bloggers’ posts related to disability, sometimes queueing them up to read later. These might inspire the posts where I link to articles and other blog posts, and add some comments or ideas of my own. I have a list of bloggers I read all the time, I check Twitter, Tumblr, and somewhat less often Facebook. I also have my Google News page set to highlight stories related to disability. This is a pretty effective tool, expect for the articles mentioning professional baseball players who are on “the disabled list”.

Once an idea reaches a certain state of completeness in my mind or my notes, I usually write it in about an hour or maybe two. Then I spend about half an hour or so editing, add graphics when possible, and post. I try to post at least one piece of writing by early afternoon, and one other item … an interesting picture, video, or brief thought … by dinnertime. I also cross-post most things to my Tumblr site, and I post links to everything I do to Twitter.

This process works for me, in that I have mostly managed my goal of daily activity on the blog. One thing I’d like to improve is my editing process … ideally giving most longer pieces a full day to edit before posting. That takes willpower, though, and so far I’ve had a hard time resisting that “Post” button.

This is a Blog Hop, and I am tagging the following disability bloggers: Ellen Seidman of Love That Max, Christina Stephens the AmputeeOT, and Sarah Levis of Girl With The Cane. I look forward to seeing their responses!