In exactly one week’s time, I will be dragging a suitcase through the cobbled streets of Montmarte, Paris. I will be basking in French sunshine, buttering chunks of crisp baguette and selecting macarons from the hallowed halls of Laduree. Granted, I will also be suffering from jetlag but… hey, I won’t care. I’ll officially be on holidays (insert grin here).
Despite recklessly embracing a holiday mindset, my aim is for this blog to continue to produce quality content throughout the entirety of my European sojourn. Yes, there will be a few travel updates here and there, but I’m aiming for the bulk of posts to contain recipes – both of my own creation and that of some incredibly talented blogging friends.
First up this month will be Matt from Inspired Food with a delicious recipe for a slow-cooked barbecue feast (how he managed to create, write and photograph it in the middle of house building and puppy buying, I have no idea, but I’m glad he did!). I’ve also got Alice from Hip Foodie Mom and Ali from Milk & Cereal waiting in the wings, so get ready for some drool-worthy recipe content over the next couple of months!
Anyway, back to today’s post: the Writing Process Blog Tour. If you haven’t heard of the concept yet, the ‘tour’ is basically a nominated chain of posts from bloggers who write about… well, writing. As you will see below, you receive four designated questions that explore individual writing projects and technique. I have no idea where the chain originated but if you simply Google ‘Writing Process Blog Tour’ you’ll see that there have been lots of posts. Lots. A cool 20 million or so.
I received two invitations to take part from bloggers whom I admire greatly, Susan at The Wimpy Vegetarian and Wendy from Chez Chloe. Despite some initial reluctance on my part (if you’ve been reading this blog for a while you’ll realize that I very rarely participate in chain activities) I decided that it would be a useful exercise for me to reflect upon why I do what I do. That is, how and why do I blog?
So, below you will find my responses to the Writing Process Blog Tour. I’ve decided against nominating any particular bloggers to continue the chain; however if you’re interested in taking part, let me know in the comments section below (you would be most welcome!).
The four questions:
1. What am I working on?
This is a big question. To answer succinctly (but rather ambiguously) I’d probably just say ‘lots of things’ but to break it down a bit further: I’m in the middle of writing a recipe for cinnamon apple cheesecake for this blog, I’ve got a half-finished novel on my laptop, I’m still attempting to update my second (much neglected) blog, Second-Hand Stories, I’m writing a recipe column for the Challenge newspaper, I’m editing a photographic shoot for a client and I’m developing recipes and doing some writing for a cookbook (no other information to be disclosed as yet!). Oh, and I also work full-time. It’s rather busy… but fun.
2. How does my work differ from others of its genre?
I don’t really know if my blog differs from others of its genre; you (the reader) would probably be a better judge of that. However, if I was pressed for an answer I’d probably respond by saying that Laura’s Mess is a little less styled and more narrative-based than other food blogs. I like engaging in big, fat, juicy prose. I can be overly wordy on occasion. Rather frequently, my photographs are more of food or ingredients in their natural state than a styled finished product. I’m fascinated by tiny details. I never post a recipe unless I’m happy with the narrative that comes before it. I like to feel what I’m writing. I also despise obligations to post competitively in the over-saturated realm of food blogging, so… well, I doubt that I’ll ever become one of those ultra-successful people with lots of paid advertising, sponsors and a million submissions to Foodgawker. But that’s okay with me.
3. Why do I write what I do?
This is an easy one. I love food. I love eating it, creating it, writing about it and discovering its origins. I love sitting back with my eyes closed, thinking of rich descriptives and onomatopoeia. I love playing with colours, creating patterns and discovering new flavour profiles. I love making food from my past that rekindles positive associations. I also adore the aesthetic of food… textures, colours, dappled light and splatters of sticky sauce. That makes the photography aspect come easily. It would be truthful to say that I’ve always written about food. Last year, my husband and I discovered a ‘travel diary’ from the USA and Europe that I had written as a ten year old child. Underneath the battered cover were pages and pages of scribbled paragraphs and drawings of… you guessed it, food. At least you can describe me as ‘consistent’!
4. How does my writing process work?
My favourite place to write is on the three-seater couch by our tiny balcony. There’s a lot of natural light and a skyline for when my eyes get tired. On weekend mornings, my ritual is to make a cup of tea (usually Rooibos, occasionally Earl Grey or Chai with soy milk and honey) before sitting down with my notes and the laptop for a couple of hours. On weeknights, I wait until after dinner (when Aaron retreats to his study) before sitting with the computer and a Hendricks with tonic, ice and muddled rosemary… or a glass of red wine. I prefer silence when I write. It allows me to become lost in my own thoughts, recollections and senses. However, despite saying that I will occasionally sit and write at a nearby cafe or my local wine bar (with some good bread and labne) if I want to escape the house.
So that’s it. Profound? Uh, don’t answer that. Now, as previously mentioned, I’m supposed to end this post by passing the metaphorical baton onto three other bloggers who may want to share their own responses as part of the Writing Process Blog Tour. Are you keen? Let me know in the comments below!