Random / Tips / Travel

A Stop On the ‘My Writing Process’ Blog Tour

And then you go by the giant metal chicken...

And then you go by the giant metal chicken…

A few weeks ago my friend Natalie Dietz Raines invited me to be a part of this “blog tour.” Her blog, At Home in Any Kitchen, makes me want to throw away my biases against braising and get into the kitchen. The downside is that I’m usually reading her blog in the middle of the day and I end up ravenous. Be forewarned: read only when you have access to food or you’ll end up like me, salivating over her photos without a crumb in sight.

This was the first time I’d heard of this kind of blog tour and I was really inspired by the topic and the idea of “my writing process.” To be honest, until I got this invitation, it’s the writing that’s occupying my thoughts, not really the process. I’m grateful for the opportunity to delve a bit deeper; hopefully you’ll find something of interest as well.

Plus, it has the word “tour” in it. Sign me up!

What am I working on?

Much like my work life and reading list, I’m working on several things at once. Right now, I’m still trying to balance my freelance writing with Katie on the Map. It’s difficult as I feel that my freelance work takes precedence. Rightly so, as I’ve made commitments to my editors and, well, I actually get paid for that writing. On that front, I’m still writing for Viator.com, The Weekly Pint, Liftopia, The Vail Daily, Vail Daily Weekly and Vail Lifestyle Magazine.

On the Katie on the Map side, I’m trying to get into a routine and rhythm with my posting. I have so many stories that I want to tell, but after I finish my “real job” work and my freelance writing, the blog gets pushed to the bottom of the to-do list. However, I’m working on finding that balance. But much like my adventures on a stand up paddle board, there are times when I find myself in the water instead of on my board wondering, “how did I get here?”

How does my work differ from others of its genre?

I think the beauty of travel writing and travel blogging is the fact that every traveler is different. Two people can go on the same trip to the same city and have polar opposite experiences. There are many different travel bloggers out there (you’ll see three excellent examples when I tag the next three bloggers) and I think that each brings their own perspective.

I feel that my work gives a brief snapshot of a location or an experience and, hopefully, a reason that you might want to go there. Do I write about places that other people do? Of course. There is always going to be overlap, especially with travel. Will I tell you the truth about how trekking in Nepal kicked my butt because I didn’t train but it was still an amazing adventure? Of course.

Katie on the Map is going to change and morph. I don’t have a mission statement or a business plan or an editorial calendar (though it’s on the to-do list). I don’t have a niche that I’m trying to fit into because I’m interested in too many things and I suffer from FOMO in a bad way. But you’ll always get the real story and, hopefully, a few more places or things to put on your list.

Haven't heard of the Tupelo Honey Festival in Wewahitchika? It's a must-do for people watching.

Haven’t heard of the Tupelo Honey Festival in Wewahitchika? It’s a must-do for people watching.

Why do I write what I do?

Every aspiring writer is told, “write what you know.” Well, I write what I love. I love to meet new people and traveling is a great way to do that. My blog started as a way for me to share my travels with my family while I was on the road. I could share pictures and stories that might not make it into the Skype conversations and, I’m sure they hoped, would cut down on the eight hour picture sharing marathons that would occur when I got home (it didn’t).

But then I found out that other people were reading the blog (a bit of a scary thought) and I realized that maybe it could be more. So I started trying to organize my thoughts and not just over-share everything that happened. Then I had a friend email me for suggestions on a trip to New Zealand and Australia. So I started including the places that I would want friends to visit or try if they ever went to the same place. So Katie on the Map changed and grew.

I want Katie on the Map to continue to be my personal accounts and my personal recommendations. I also want it to be a resource for people about travel in general. And, more importantly, I want it to inspire people to get up and go—whether it’s to a new town, city, state or country.

My travel journals. No, they don't ever match.

My travel journals. No, they don’t ever match.

How does your writing process work?

  • Think of a brilliant idea.
  • Write it down on a scrap of paper somewhere. Promptly lose the piece of paper among the other pieces of paper that clutter my area.
  • Find it again. Remember how brilliant it was.
  • Get a cup of coffee. Open my computer.
  • Decide to start a load of laundry.
  • Go back to the computer. Find good “writing” music on Spotify.
  • Check Facebook.
  • Open a word doc.
  • Decide that I’m hungry and need to fix a snack.
  • There’s no food in the house. Must go to the store now.
  • Back from the store, with snack ingredients. Will start on the story now.
  • The table’s dusty. I should probably clean that.*

*continue in this vein for several hours.

It’s now midnight.

  • Realize that I need to post this story now. Sit down and crank out the story. Finish about 1:30 a.m. Fall into bed, vowing that I’m not going to procrastinate again.

Seriously, this is pretty much how it works. I’m a terrible procrastinator, but my journalist friend assures me that that’s how she knows that I’m really a writer. I actually have a folder on Evernote called “blog post ideas” that I’m sure I’ll get around to writing at some point; I’m always looking for new stories and ideas. When I travel, I keep a journal in a real notebook: it’s easier to carry and I like sticking tickets and mementos in it as well. However, unless I write when I’m traveling, the blog posts tend to get put off until later (which is why I still haven’t written about Malaysia, the rest of Colombia or Ecuador. But I will, I promise. At some point).

Thank you to everyone who reads Katie on the Map, even though I’m horrible about posting regularly. You have the patience of a saint and apparently more than a touch of masochism.

Wondering why you haven't seen this picture before? I still haven't written about Lhasa. But I will.

Wondering why you haven’t seen this picture before? I still haven’t written about Lhasa. But I will.

Next Up

Now, the best part: here are the three bloggers who are next on the tour. Brit is responsible for The Mongol Rally appearing on my List, but I’m most excited about her upcoming cross-country tour to find her new location love. Kat is a writer and photographer; I’m looking forward to hearing about her overland trip to Africa. Anne writes about atomic tourism. Don’t know what that is? You will.

Britany Robinson writes about life and travel from the “Mobile Millennial” perspective. In August, she’ll be heading out for a three month road trip across the states to explore which cities and small towns would appeal to members of her generation — particularly those who have the freedom to live and work where they choose, thanks to freelance and remote work. She’ll also be looking for a new place to call home for herself. The availability of cute cafes with wifi and quirky dive bars will likely play a prominent role in this decision. Follow her journey on Stars on the Ceiling.

Kat Nienartowicz is a writer, photographer, traveler and an avid dreamer of all things big and crazy. What she most loves about travel is learning about a place and trying to connect all those little pieces that make a culture what it is. She is currently preparing for another adventure to do just that. This time? Africa. Find her at Your Local Kat.

Anne Wheeler grew up in the Pacific Northwest with purple hair and piercings, but finally put on her grown up panties and now works for The Man at a white-shoe law firm in the South. To balance this assault on her soul, and free the ‘90s Goth girl within, she spends her free time hosting cemetery tours, eating fancy things and exploring the vestiges of the Atomic Era. Learn about hot rocks and other strange and wonderful things on her blog, Adventures in Atomic Tourism.

You’ll learn about these ladies’ writing processes next Monday, July 14.

Thanks again for including me, Natalie!

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