How do you write?

It’s like the magical mystery tour, but different. The writing process tour involves answering questions about your writing style and practice, and then choosing three other bloggers to participate. Marielle from This Flooded Sky invited me because: a) she has good taste, b) she’s cool like that, and c) she loves my writing. Woo-hoo!

I think she’s great because: a) she’s creative, b) she’s honest and has a unique point of view, and c) because I connect with her. And I think she does a good job of connecting with her readers, too. So, thank you, Marielle!

>>>1. What am I working on?<<<

I have just finished the final edit of my first book {the missing teacher}! Yea! Finally! This project took years and years, and more years because: I didn’t know what I was doing, I had changed my mind regarding what I wanted it to be, and because I had a fear, I think, of finishing it. So, now I’m in the process of reading it for the audio version, and soon I will tackle the book cover and publishing it.

The good thing about my first book taking so long is: I’m ready to be done, I certainly feel like I’ve done everything possible, and I’m less attached to it, which should help me be more objective, but then again, maybe I will end up feeling more attached to it because it took so long to birth. (Was “birth” the right word? Is that too gross?)

I’m also working this blog, of course.  I have a lot of ideas which is great because I’ve been writing consistently on this blog since 2009.

>>>2. How does my work differ from others of its type/genre?<<<

{the missing teacher} is about being fired from a Waldorf school, why it happened, how it affected my life, and the ultimate lesson I learned – everyone is a teacher. It’s special in that it is my story, but the remarkable thing is many other people have had similar experiences with teaching, Waldorf, non-profit work, parenting and nursing. It is a bigger story than just me and I believe it’s worth sharing.

I think what makes my work different is my voice. I’m not trying to be vain or uppity here (too late). Seriously, I’m lucky because I’ve gotten constructive feedback and people tell me they like my voice. So, I know it’s a strength.

Life, the Universe and Lani is not the typical Thailand blog. It’s been challenging to find folks within this sub-culture that I connect with because: I am Asian American, many Thailand expats bloggers leave after a short period of time, and I don’t blog about the “nightlife” nor am I, a travel blogger.

I like to write about other things, too. This is counter to those bloggers that believe you should only write within a niche, but writing about writing or being a girl helps me breathe and connect with a wider audience. I am not just where I live.

>>>3. Why do I write what I do?<<<

I write what I do because it’s what’s inside of me. I enjoy writing and believe it’s what I’m meant to do. That being said, I’ve been journaling since I was 13 years old, so it feels natural to write nonfiction. I tried, around that time, to write fiction and it was a disaster. It was fun, but I didn’t have the natural talent to write this way, so I gave up. One day, I’d like to try writing fiction again, but it’s not a priority. I’m far more interested in mastering the short story format. I occasionally write poetry when I’m in a cheeky and creative mood.

>>>4. How does your writing process work?<<<

I’m one of those annoying people that doesn’t get writers block (you will now, my friend, you will now). If I get an idea, I write it down. I don’t trust my memory, so I have these scribbles and notes everywhere. I get inspired, strangely enough, when I do yoga or Pilates. Of course, reading helps me gain ideas, too.

Usually, I just open a word document and start typing. Rarely, do I write a whole blog post in my notebook, but it has been known to happen. What’s interesting is where the writing leads me. Often, what I planned to write turns into something else. I’ve learned to see this as part of the process, but I have to also recognize when the topic has changed, so I need to go back and edit accordingly.

I used to edit very little, (editing just involved a lot of deleting), but now that I have had my grammatical flaws pointed out, I know what I need to look for and work on. Sometimes, I have my b/f reread what I’ve written, but I almost always let my writing rest before publishing. I also don’t publish everything I write. That’s the problem with being a memoirist, I have to consider who might read what I write, and really, sometimes I write garbage that no one needs to see.

Overall, my process is straightforward, and I guess, rather boring. There are no psychedelics or alcohol involved, no drama, no ciggies dangling from wet lips or self-abuse or copying. I write from somewhere between my head and my heart and I feel pretty damn lucky that I know what I love and do it almost every day.


Okay, now it’s your turn!

I’m nominating Jolandi from Dreaming in Arabic, a Saffa (South African) blogging from the UAE. She’s such a lucid and poetic writer, and I think her style comes through in her photographs, too.  (We’ve even met when she visited Chiang Mai earlier this year! I can honestly say meeting bloggers in person has been nothing, but great fun.)

Mabel Kwong is an Asian Australian who writes about multiculturalism and her experiences as a Chinese-Malay in Australia. I think she’s very good at choosing and talking about topics in an approachable and friendly way. She’s been nominated twice, so you know, she’s that good.

Lastly, I’d like to tag-you’re-it Otter from The Flying Armchair (love her blog name). When I first found her, she was teaching in Taiwan and dreaming about Korea. She still dreams and drools for Korea, but now she’s back in the US and pursuing her passion, art. I thought it would be interesting to tag someone who can talk about their artistic process, too.

I’m looking forward to what these lovely ladies have to say. Thanks again, Marielle. xxoo

This message is brought to you by Thiglish and Falafelette, the cat.
This message is brought to you by Thiglish and Falafelette, the cat.

25 replies on “[the Writing Process tour]

  1. It is interesting that you mentioned your writer’s voice. Maybe you took quite a while to finish your book draft because you were still finding your writer’s voice over the years. It took me quite a while into deciding how I wanted to blog…it takes time to write not only with conviction, but from our hearts – with feeling. I am so, so, so looking forward to reading your book when it’s out 😀

    Thanks for the nomination, Lani. I actually woke up this morning and felt that the time is right to take up this challenge very, very soon. Not this week, but very soon and I can’t wait to write it 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah!!! I normally don’t like these kinds of chain-mail thingys, but the questions were too good to pass up. So, I’m really looking forward to reading what everyone says. I like reading about writing, and other people’s processes.

      The hardest thing about writing a “memoir” or from the truth, that I’ve found is find a satisfying way to “wrap it up”. The ending is still happening, you know? But I think I finally found a good place, and now it’s time to get recording.

      Thanks Mabel!


      1. I look forward to answering the questions. I will give you a heads up on when I will post it (all my posts are scheduled) 😉

        Oh yes. Wrapping up an article is hard enough, but a book? That’s something else altogether. “The ending is still happening”, so true. But the journey never really ends 🙂 Good luck.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. It’s so good to learn more about you! I love that you write about everything. It keeps it interesting. Also I am slightly jealous about the writers block part, haha.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you. If I had to write about one topic only I’d have too many blogs! And then I think I’d learn to hate it.

      Well, I’m sure there is something you are good at that I would be slightly jealous of you, too! 555


  3. Very interesting answers to the questions. I love to read about others’ writing processes. It makes me feel less confused and stills the self-doubt I often harbours. I cannot wait to read that book of yours. Congratulations on finishing it. It is so easy to start a project, but a whole different kettle of fish to finish one. So well done to you. I am quite excited to sit down and answer these questions. Thank you so much for the nomination. It really is a fun ‘chain thingy’ to be part of.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Jolandi. The book feels finished on the one hand, but on the other I really feel like I’ve got a steep learning curve ahead of me.

      I’m the same way, I like to read about writing, and it’s fascinating what people say, how particular they are about pens, notebooks, handwriting, computers, space, quiet vs music and so on.


      1. I think that, unless one decides at some point a book is finished, it will never be. And then it is simply the next step in the process. Scary as hell, I’m sure. Perhaps it is a bit like a roller coaster ride: scary, but exhilarating at the same time. Good luck with this next step.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. I think when you are trying to say something, but it keeps coming out wrong, as you say, is not really writer’s block, but struggling with the words, composition, or flow. How we work through that is an interesting question in itself.

      Part of the reason I don’t feel like I have WB 😛 is I don’t write for a magazine or have deadlines. When I do write a guest post or feel pressured because I feel like, “I don’t have any ideas!” I recognize that this is not true, and start looking through my notes because I write down ideas everywhere, or I start reading.

      I remember in college when my friends were groaning about how hard it was to get started on writing papers. I listened, thought about it, and then said, “I don’t have that.”

      With the book, my struggle was what to keep and what to leave out. Where to put this and where this chapter belonged…this was when friends, and belonging to a writer’s group helped a lot.


      1. So when’s your post about flow? 🙂

        I agree that knowing what to leave in, what to cut, and how to order it is trickier than it looks and it’s a great time for a feedback.

        In any case, I can’t think how I missed you had a book but I’m glad I now know!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Thanks 🙂 Yeah, I haven’t really announced or talked about it. This thread was the perfect opportunity.

        A blog post about flow! Agggg! The pressure!!! 😛


  4. You’re writing a book! That makes me very happy indeed. And reading this makes me excited to take part. I’m so glad you nominated me! I’ve hit a little rut myself these past few weeks but I think this is just the ticket to bring me back on board.

    Your post made me think a lot of thoughts, but they’re all related to my own writing story, so I think I’ll just save them for my post. 😉 Thanks again dear!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you. I’m happy about the response to me writing a book. I thought everyone had written a book, and I was just slow.

      Who ever started this tour did it right by asking great questions and keeping it simple. Looking forward to reading everyone’s responses. You’re welcome.


      1. My daughter is currently working at two Thai restaurants in our small Idaho town. One as a hostess, and the other as assistant cook. Both the Thai ladies she works for are great and generous individuals. Rural Idaho cowgirl teams up with Thai immigrant women —- gotta be a good novel in that somewhere!

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Your book sounds interesting! I love your non-niche blog about a little of everything; who knew G+ was good for finding cool stuff? I started journaling when I was 13-ish too. . .but it’s been a while since I’ve physically written in a journal. I miss using my sparkle pens. I’ll have to check out your nominees 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you. Yeah, I have found nice people on G+ too. I think G+ is good for communities, but they need to regulate the spam factor. And it sounds like someone needs to get out their sparkle pens!


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