Writing It’s a Process: Here’s My Shit

elleroyVarious amazing writers have been asked to disclose their process that helps them craft their pieces. I was touched that my own editor at Lefty Pop, and a person I care deeply about, asked me to share my secrets. Of course I am talking about Linda Roy from Elle Roy Was Here. She is the epicenter of cool – a guitar playing, banjo owning, song writing, pen swinging humorist that is able to slay even the most untouchable topic in just a few sentences.

Linda and I have become good friends and have had a few opportunities to meet in real life too. The first time I met Linda was last year at BlogHer. She walked into a restaurant, where a group of us were meeting up, wearing cowboy boots with a skirt and damn if I didn’t like her the second I saw her. I just knew she was a fun person, and she hasn’t disappointed.

She currently lives in Jersey, and I am from Jersey so when I go visit the state of all things Italian, brusque, sarcastic, and cynical I can see her. It’s like a two-fer really. Oh and Linda is from the Midwest, where I currently live. So yeah … we just get each other and that doesn’t happen often in life.

I highly recommend you go read her stuff, listen to her amazing song parodies, and check out her newest venture LeftyPop where they are suckers for politics and pop culture.

Since I am sure you are all dying to know how the magic at The Shitastrophy happens…here goes:

 

How do I make The Shit – Shitastriphical?

I have been holding onto this graphic for some time…just waiting for the perfect chance to use it and finally this is my opportunity. Thank you Linda.

HEmingway

This is how I work. I get an idea from really anywhere – for example last week I had nothing to write about, zilch I was as barren as a 70 year old woman. Then fate stepped in because over the weekend my swimsuit rolled up my derriere and my 8 year old decided to point out that maybe my suit was not looking as good as it could. I took this to mean please Mom go buy a new swim suit, so I did – alone. What happened in that dressing room is the thing nightmares, and blog posts, are made of. You can read about it here – Swimsuit Shopping Fail – if you would like.

My life pretty much writes stupid, funny stories on an almost daily basis. Something so benign as picking my child up from school will turn into the most epically embarrassing thing when said child will inform another child I may have called his mother crazy (Repeat After Me, Do Not Repeat What Mommy Says). Or I could go to a restaurant and some poor soul will completely shit herself in the bathroom where I happen to be trapped (A Shitastrophy of Epic Proportions). Yes, my life is a walking disaster and I have found a way to laugh at it.

When I write my first draft of any post I typically just write. Whatever comes out is what I got…thus the Ernest Hemingway quote. But I tweak it and tweak it, sometimes having 10 revisions until I like it. Until all non-important crap is cut and only the core of it is there for you, my reader. I suffer reader ADD – anything over 700 words and I am out so I try to keep my posts between 500-650 words to not lose you all (and yes this is longer but this is so not my fault – blame Linda). I am assuming you are all like me and like concise reads. I edit out the ‘S’ ‘H’ and ‘T’ so that only the ‘I’ is still left in my post. A post that ‘I’ approve of, and once that happens I hit publish for all of you.

What Shit am I working on?

A few months ago I went to the Erma Bombeck Writers Conference. While I was there I suffered a massive panic attack, one that forced me to leave the conference on the last evening and drive home. I had signed up for an event that would require me to present in front of a group of people. I wasn’t picked, but just the anxiety and concern about possibly being picked and reading in front of so many people triggered an attack that even my Xanax couldn’t quell. I left the conference. I got home and was so frustrated, I didn’t say good bye or anything I just left. This prompted me to write my post The Moment the Panic Began. I was contacted by numerous people after writing the post. People expressed their sympathies, shared their own struggles, or spoke about the negativity of having a mental illness. One person in particular messaged me and we spoke back and forth about our own illnesses and how much they have impacted our lives.

That person is Jessica Azar from Herd-Management. Through our talks we realized that we were not alone and that many other writers use humor to help cope with their own skeletons. This is how our anthology, Laughter is the Best Medicine, Surviving Mental Illness Through Humor was born. Please take the time to read about our anthology, and we are currently calling for submissions. Here are all the details.

Thank you so much and we hope you will consider submitting, or send our link to someone else who may be interested in submitting.

Why Do I Write What I Do?

Well as I said above, shit just happens to me. Whenever I would meet with my family, friends, hell even my hairdresser they would prod me to share the latest ridiculous story cause there always is one. We would all laugh and they would tell me I should write it down. I guess they told me enough times that I finally decided to. Also I had gotten to the point where I could feel sorry for my misfortune or find a way to laugh and enjoy life’s constant idiotics. This is how my blog was born, but I have always been a writer, and wrote my first book in 6th grade. Now I just have people that actually enjoy reading it and not just my teacher.

How is My Shit different than Others?

Often times I find myself sitting back watching something unfold and can’t help but think a thousand different thoughts about it. I try to find the funny in almost everything and I have no problem throwing myself under the bus for your amusement. I think a lot of writers do this and we all have our own nuances. I tend to use a little more profanity not because I am trying to be the next Andrea Dice Clay but because well…I grew up in Jersey with a Mother that cursed full on Jersey style and that is how my mind thinks. It is a little more risky but sometimes it is nice to know you are not the only person who crapped your pants – am I right ladies?

Whose Next on the Tour?

jennroseThere is a woman who I met in an online group, this sounds like a love affair or something, but it is just straight up admiration. Jenn Rose from SomethingClever2.0 is from Massachusetts, ok not Jersey but same mentality.

She has the funniest take on just about everything and is a featured writer at NickMom. She was also on weekly contributor to In the Powder Room. Jenn has written so many things that have left me laughing out loud (and no I will not put LOL because seriously that shit just drives me fucking nuts). If you want constant laughs wrapped up with awesomeness go check her out you won’t be disappointed.

 

 

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  1. Kim says:

    I love how your writing process works and that you have a life fucked up enough to have plenty of writing material. I look for that but damn near everything in my day is boring. Well, except the cats. Those three are always up to something. But, since I am not writing a cat blog (hmmm…idea?) those stories could get old real quick.

    Thanks for sharing your writing process!

    • theshitastrophy.com says:

      Ahhh but people love the animal stories! And yes shit just follows me, and that is not necessarily a good thing. Trust me.

  2. Yes it is good to know there’s somebody else out there shitting their pants…uh…other than my friend…I mean…
    Your mom Jersey cursed too? Phew. Now I don’t feel as bad that my 8 yo says things like “What the hell, mom?” Well, I do…but you know what I mean.
    Thanks for sharing your shit…I mean, your process. Good shit always. I love the Ernie quote and thanks for the lovely shout out. Looking forward to reading Jenn’s process.

    • theshitastrophy.com says:

      My mom totally curses like a sailor still so I have big shoes (she is a size 10) to live up to. I wouldn’t worry about cursing in front of your kid, look how I turned out. Wait that is probably not helping you.

  3. Carrie says:

    So, thrilled to know I’m not the only one that writes whatever life is chunking at me and I’m not the only one with tons of revisions.

    I feel a bit more normal now, thank you very much.

    I always want to go to those conferences, but I’m a lazy ass. Don’t even like to get up to pee.

    Life has to get better.

    • theshitastrophy.com says:

      I have forced myself to go to a few and will be going to BlogHer in July because apparently I am a glutton for punishment. I so wish it was ok to lie in bed and pee myself…it is a dance I do every morning. So lazy. And yes I have at least 12 revisions on every piece, and then even once I post it I might go back and revise it.

  4. Ariel says:

    I didn’t grow up in Jersey (Philly’s pretty close though) but I’m now officially a Jersey mom so maybe that’s why I love reading your blog. Or, you know, it’s because it’s just really funny and relatable and I’m glad you find the humor in practically everything.

    • theshitastrophy.com says:

      Philly totally counts as the same thing – the whole tristate area has the same mentality and I love it. So much easier. I am glad you can relate and laugh at my shit and not be offended! Too many people get offended at stuff now…

  5. “I edit out the ‘S’ ‘H’ and ‘T’ so that only the ‘I’ is still left in my post. A post that ‘I’ approve of, and once that happens I hit publish for all of you.” Nice!

    • theshitastrophy.com says:

      Ahhh so you’re the one that liked that line! I was hoping someone would;)

  6. Aliza says:

    I love you. That is all.

    • theshitastrophy.com says:

      The feeling is mutual.

  7. Great article , so much to take in and great info , love your blog .

    • theshitastrophy.com says:

      Thanks!

  8. I’d like to think we’re just as grumpy up here as they are in New Jersey. We just skew a lot more Irish.

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