I have been nominated by my dear blogging friend Amma Marfo to blog about my writing process. Think of it as a blogger’s Ice Bucket Challenge. Amma wrote eloquently about her process here and I realized this charge couldn’t have come at a better time. I’ve been thinking a lot about my blogging process recently as I’ve made several transitions in my personal and professional life. I’ve moved across the country, started a new job, and am finally living off-campus after 13 straight years of living next door to 18-year-olds in a college residence hall. In short, my world has shifted.
In the midst of all of these transitions, I’ve been without wireless access at my apartment for about six weeks. I was relegated to watching old “Friends” DVDs (all 10 seasons!) and at one point found myself awkwardly scrolling through the Affordable Care Act on my smartphone while researching a snafu in our RA’s contracts. This has also meant taking an unscheduled break from blogging, so this challenge couldn’t have come at a better time.
On My Writing Process
What are you working on?
I’m working on starting a monthly blog series about the experiences of student affairs professionals at Jesuit institutions. I hope the JASPA blog will serve as a way to bring stories about work on Jesuit campuses and the unique challenges associated with this subset of the field. It debuts October 1st, so cross your fingers for a warm welcome!
In terms of this blog, I’m gearing back up on my “Middle of Somewhere” series. I hope to regularly blog on my transition from entry-level to middle management. I’ve always felt like there were a multitude of resources for graduate, entry-level, and senior-level professionals, but not much for middle managers. The process of supervising professional staff members for the first time, while serving on the leadership team of my department has been wildly different than my previous jobs, so I’m excited to share about my struggles, successes, and moments of contemplation.
How does your work differ from others of its genre?
Things that make you go hmm…
I hope I bring a human, storytelling spin to my posts. I work really, really hard to not just post what people want to hear, but live in the ugly parts as well. Sometimes this is terrifying. Scratch that. Most of the time this is terrifying. But its also worth it. I don’t focus on writing posts full of research or citations, but instead focus on vulnerability and authenticity, and not just because those are the buzzwords of the moment, but because it makes me better. I am more fully alive when I share the good and bad, challenging and successful moments of my experiences.
Why do you write what you do?
I’m trying to grow the blogging world in student affairs by bringing narratives to light that don’t normally have much attention given to them. I am also an external processor. I like to talk things out, have conversations with friends and family to make sense of problems. Blogging and writing make me slow down, think things through, and often make me see things in a different way. Blogging is good for me, and hopefully my posts are helpful for others as well.
How does your writing process work?
Honestly, most posts start with an emotional trigger. Either a topic pisses me off, makes me frustrated, or makes me intellectually curious. I try to read a lot, click a lot of links, read other people’s blogs, and stay up-to-date on Twitter. This means there’s a lot of information rolling through my brain, so if I can’t get an idea out of my head for about a day, I know I’m onto something. It usually takes a few days to fine-tune my points and direction, but once I sit down at my laptop, all I need to do is type. This method also worked when I wrote a 30-page term paper in a little under five hours junior year of college!