Virtual Blog Tour: Hi, World

1I was fortunate enough to be invited to be part of this virtual blog tour by Claudette Young. I met Claudette when  I was first becoming aware that there was a supportive online world of creative writers and was putting out tentative feelers at places like Writer’s Digest and Facebook.  She’s inspired me in so many ways – among other things, she and her blogging partner, Meena Rose, were the inspiration for this blog. Theirs was the first writer’s blog I’d seen that was co-written: Two Voices, One Song. I can’t recommend the blog enough.

Claudette herself is an ongoing inspiration: she’s been writing seriously since 2008 in multiple genres: poetry, science fiction/fantasy, flash fiction, children’s literature, women’s fiction, along with creative non-fiction, essay, and memoir. Claudette has been published in numerous online publications for poetry, fiction, and non-fiction, as well as print magazines and two international poetry anthologies. I’m always amazed at the number of writing projects she has in the works – you’d never know she was juggling so many different enterprises (including her blogs), because she makes it look so effortless. Even as I type, I know she’s working on some book length work as well as some poetry. I can’t encourage you enough to stop by her collaborative website and blogs at: as well as her one-woman blog at

I feel so fortunate in the friends Andrea and I have here, and Claudette is proof of that. But for now, let’s move onto the tour info. The point of this blog tour is to give people a chance to see the writing process as its engaged in by various writers. So I’m giving you a picture of my writing life as well as pass this tour torch to other writers who can share their process with us.

The tour questions:

1) What am I working on?

SQUIRREL history america gray 1This is a tricky question. I know that the minute I tell you what I’m writing, I will instantly think of four more things that sound great to start on, and trying to rein myself in..well, it’s a bit like harnessing squirrels.

I’ll take the risk though and say that right now I seem to be working on three things: First I’m writing a poem a day. It’s not for a contest or challenge or anything; I just have the time and mental space to do so. It’s convenient because August Poetry Postcard Month is coming up soon; it’s absolutely my favorite writing event each year, and I’m already in the rhythm for it.

Second, I’m working on an epistolary novel.Well, sort of. It started as a vague idea that I’d like to write a novel with a writer friend. We decided that her protagonist and mine aren’t writing to each other, but they are communicating. Between worlds. Without, at first, knowing it. No spoilers, but I will say that I am having a blast and without the pressure of having to do the plotting myself, I am writing much more than I’d planned.

Third: a few years ago at NanoWrimo, I wrote a “novel” that wasn’t – it was more like a really long world-creation exercise.  I’m now writing a couple of short stories set in that world and at the same time writing a longer piece in that world that seems to be turning into something that looks suspiciouslylike a novel.

2) How does my work differ from others of its genre?

I’ve been writing since I was 5, and published my first poem when I was eight. But if you ask me how I defined myself, even early on, I would have said that I was a biologist, not a writer. I used to draw pictures of paramecia and imagine walking giant ones on a leash down the street. I spent lots of time just imagining the way in which humans and other animals were alike, with parallel bodies and live minds. I had pet fish that I watched avidly, trying to understand them, and tried to grow every kind of plant from cuttings. That sense of being part of the biological universe still seems to pervade everything I write.

3) Why do I write what I do?

Partly, I can’t help it. A phrase or a sentence pops into my head and it sticks there until it’s on paper. Partly, though, it’s because I’m a very poor visual artist – often I can see something beautiful with my eyes or in my mind but can’t draw it or photograph it, so writing it, describing it with words, is often the only way I have of sharing what I’m seeing with others.

4) How does my writing process work?

Gerrit Dou - Scholar sharpening a quill penI used to have a sort of process. When I was in school, I’d come home and write almost every night – not because I had set aside the time but because I’d be “downloading” everything I’d seen or felt during the day. Now with a family and a young child, I find myself having to put off writing more than I like. I do two things to help with that. First, a yellow Post-It notepad.  I write poems in the five minute slots between doctor’s appointments and chauffeur duties to sports events on a yellow sticky pad (I have a lot of sympathy for William Carlos Williams, who often wrote poems between patients, fitting them on his prescription pad). Second, I keep a list of inspirations. At the back of my family to-do notebook, which I also carry with me, there’s a page with a completely random list of phrases, images, notes on a place to go back and see again, sometimes a sketch or a website. That’s where I go when I’ve managed to snatch a few minutes for myself.

So that’s a look at my writing process. I want to say thank you again to Claudette for inviting me to join this amazing tour. I am looking forward to our next tour stops, with writers:

I’ll post when more information is available about each of these “tour stops.” In the meantime, there have been some really inspiring blogs and bloggers who’ve gone before me on this tour. You’ll really enjoy:

Xo – ina



8 thoughts on “Virtual Blog Tour: Hi, World

  1. I enjoyed reading this, Ina.
    I am curious. You say you had your first poem published at age 8. Where? Was it in Highlights or another children’s magazine?

    Thanks for adding me to the list. 🙂 I tried the link but somehow it doesn’t work. 😦 You have two people on your list who I don’t know. I am going to go check out their sites.

  2. Hi Linda! Thanks for coming by! I had my first poem published in a local, city newspaper; the second one was published in Highlights. Now THAT I’m proud of 😀 I think I’ve fixed the link to your website – I hope that lots of people can check out the poems you’ve published recently from there, especially that gorgeous piece you have in Prune Juice.

  3. Ina, thank you so much for your lovely showcase of me. You talk about me inspiring you, but I have to say that I’d never get anything done if I had your schedule of non-writing activities. Your drive, determination, and talents far exceed mine.

    And I love what you’ve shared about your process. I think many of us share a few of these tiny tools, like the notebook in the bag trick, but you’ve taken it for your own. I like that. And I enjoyed how you wrote it–the tone and style. Very nice. I look forward to seeing the ones who’re coming after you. I’ve enjoyed Daniel’s work for years, but the other two are new to me, so those will be even more treats. I’m with Linda E.H. on that one.

    Take care, and again, thank you.

    • Thank you Claudette – I’m glad the inspiration is mutual – it’s so flattering for me to be in a community of active, talented writers.

      • So true. I feel like I’m a member of a private club when some of us get together for anything like this. I’ve had such a terrific time doing this tour with all of these lovely people.

        So glad I joined the club at last. 🙂

  4. What a fascinating woman you are Ina! I love how you squeeze every bit of time you can to write and use things like post-its to get it down and done. It took me back to when my own girls were little (they’re both married adults now) and I did similar things, always with a notebook in the glove-compartment of the car, but so often was scribbling on a McDonald’s serviette, or the back of an envelope or whatever…Thanks for reminding me of those days! Your self-effacing manner of writing often makes what you’ve written all the more powerful, and I love that; you make it easy to forget just what an accomplished woman you are and every time I learn your background, I am astonished anew, then smacking my forehead and going, “but of course” , how could I have forgotten this? I am honoured to count myself amongst your friends and thank you so much for linking my blog to yours.

    • Sharon – you are *much* too kind (*blushes*) – the feeling of being honored is mutual – you are a phenomenal poet, a poet I LOVE to read, and I’m so proud to know you.

  5. Pingback: Blog Tour! | meanderings

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