I was thrilled when fellow American expat, Robin, (of the fabulous blog, Second Floor Flat) tagged me in the Writing Process "Blog Tour" that's currently circulating within the blogging community. I was particularly flattered that she described me as a "writer". A writer! I've never thought of myself as worthy of this title, so I'm pleased as punch that someone else has given it to me.
So here's how it works: I answer a set of questions about the writing process behind this blog and other projects that I'm working on, and I tag two other bloggers to do the same next week. Joining me on the Blog Tour next Thursday will be the absolutely brilliant blogger Runawaykiwi (a self-described "expat, gallery ghost & flat white addict" from - you guessed it - New Zealand) and the lovely, seriously talented blogger Shimelle, whose scrapbooking and beautiful photographs will make you green with envy.
So here I go ...
What are you working on?
My primary focus is writing for Angloyankophile. I have some really lovely, loyal readers who've been with me since the beginning (thank you!) and I like to stay on top of my game to ensure that I'm delivering fresh, personal, and exciting new content at least 2-3 times per week. As many of you know, I've started collaborating with a few companies for this blog, which has been a totally fun, new, and challenging direction for me - I'm really excited.
I'm also a regular contributor to Myfriendslike, a recommendations website based in Oxford. You can read some of my restaurant, travel, and culture reviews here as well as on the travel website, Triptease.
Beyond that, I contribute here and there on a freelance basis to some other websites, though I'm looking to expand my writing portfolio - if you know of any opportunities, please send them my way!
How does your work differ from others of its genre?
I started Angloyankophile when I came to a defining point in my stay here in the UK: I couldn't decide where I wanted to settle permanently and thought that starting a blog that higlighted all the highs and lows of both countries would help me make my decision. Of course, it hasn't at all. That's why this blog is called "Angloyankophile" - I'm in love with all things American and British. One does not outweigh the other.
While Angloyankophile is mostly lighthearted and fun, I also use this blog to explore the complexities of living abroad and notions of identity, as well as the fear and guilt associated with leaving behind my family. I always thought that writing about identity had to be academic and always backed up by facts or research, but I've found that writing about isolated incidents or thoughts I've had on the subject can also open itself up to wonderful, different avenues of discourse, which is fantastic. I love reading comments from others who are experiencing the same feelings as I am.
I like that Angloyankophile has a wide audience and is read by a variety of different people at different stages of life. I think (and I hope I'm not wrong) that this blog appeals to men and women of all ages, of all nationalities and backgrounds.
Why do you write what you do?
I want to tell you what I'm thinking, feeling, where I've been, what I've seen, what I've eaten, because I love to share what I'm enthusiastic about. Ask anyone who knows me: I'm such an enthusiastic person! There's also a part of me that hopes that, by sharing my experiences, you'll share yours with me too. And isn't that what writing is about? Sharing, giving, receiving, and reflecting? Sometimes I worry that I overshare though, and that's when I have to take a step back and assess why I'm writing what I'm writing - whether it's for me or for someone else. Or if I'm pretending to be someone who I'm not.
How does your writing process work?
I come up with random ideas for blog posts at really random times: while shaving my legs in the shower, staring out the bus window, waiting in line at Tesco ... anywhere but sitting in front of a blank compute screen, really. I'm particularly affected by situations or events that I've experienced recently. If I'm writing a restaurant or hotel review, words will pop into my head while I'm eating at the said restaurant or lying awake in bed at the hotel - words that I know I'll want to use when describing my experience there.
I was raised by a Tiger Mom who enforced daily, graded (yes, graded) writing assignments during summer vacations (I know, right? Example topic: "Should capital punishment be abolished? Discuss." I was 11. ELEVEN.) so I developed a good habit of writing regularly and focusing my constantly distracted thoughts into one channel. Thanks, Mom. These days, I shy away from topics such as capital punishment in favour of funny socks, American superlatives, and foxes that act out lyrics to a Rihanna song in the middle of the night.
So! That's all from me for now. As ever, thank you so much for reading Angloyankophile. Your support means the world to me. And next week, tune into Shimelle's fantastic, crafty blog and Rebecca's inspiring, witty blog for their takes on the Writing Process Blog Tour.
Over and out.
(Pictured above: my happy place, at "home" in Washington.)