writing process blog tour


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!

56 responses

  1. I loved this post about your process and progress. I enjoy your writing so much Laura and love that you engage in ‘big, fat, juicy prose’ because your emotions do come across so vividly. I love to feel what I am writing too, sometimes I am too hesitant on my blog and I don’t just let the words and emotions flow, but thanks to some new-found internet friends I am going to be braver :)
    I can’t wait to follow your travels and see what you create and discover on your journey!

    • Oh, thank you so much Amy. I appreciate your kind words and having a ‘writing kindred’, definitely go with your heart and write what you feel! I love the honesty and gratitude that you illustrate so beautifully in each post. It’s inspiring xx

    • Thanks Karen! Ah, yes… we will come back poor but happy! I do hope that you enjoy the rest of the winter. Stay warm, I think if I could bake bread like yours I would be entirely happier during the winter months! xx

  2. Wow you are a busy beaver Laura!! How on earth of you do it?! I really enjoyed reading more about your writing process, especially the old travel journal, I can relate, ha! You have such a beautiful writing style! Keep it up.

    • Thanks lovely! Haha… glad that you get me! I don’t really know how I keep up with everything at times. I tend to feel constantly tired so I am looking forward to going away and relaxing ‘in the moment’ for a while :) Thanks so much for the encouragement xx

  3. The more we learn about the mysterious Laura and “her mess” the more we love what she does! Great work my friend and happy holidays! I’m sure it will be a cracking adventure for you kids and the food… Well the food will be effing marvelous I do not doubt. Look forward to some cracking pics and tales from lands afar! Smiley face

  4. Hi Laura! Enjoy Paris!!! I’ll be in France, though in the North of France sometime in August visiting Mr H’s family. Remember if you come down to Barcelona give me a shout! I was actually going to write to you about writing in your blog, but I have all these business trips lined up and things like that, I thought I might not have time to do something really good (and I feel like I’ve been slack on my own lately…). It’s lovely to read your writing process. I’m with you that I like writing and I do submit to Foodgawker once in a blue moon, but my food photography style is not in line with theirs so they don’t select me 75% of the time. I really do not care, because, our blogs are our own world in our own style, so that’s all that matters. I think agree with that ;) Sorry to be a party pooper, but basking in French sunshine in Paris is usually more like an exception… but you might be lucky, I was when I went last year. Not a cloud in the sky! Paris is so beautiful anyway, so it doesn’t matter. xx

    • Oh thanks so much for this sweet comment Sofia. I appreciate the thought about the guest post but I definitely agree that you need to be wise on what you take on. Work is enough of a commitment! At this stage I don’t know if we can afford to go to Spain as well but I really wish I could – it would be amazing to meet up. And I’m glad you enjoyed reading this, I wasn’t sure about completing the tour questions but it was quite fun to do. Hugs xx

  5. Hey Laura! Ah, the Writing Process Blog Tour .. love this!! Wow, you are working on so many cool things. . can’t wait to hear, see and read more as the months unfold. . I love how your writing process works. . your love of food and way with words always shines through. . you are a beautiful writer! I hope you have a fabulous time in Paris! Such a beautiful, romantic city (we honeymooned there for one week) . . and the food?! oh my gawd. . you might never want to come back! :P anyway, have a fabulous time. . enjoy, take lots of photos and I can’t wait to work on my recipe for you!! Cheers my friend and safe travels to you!

    • Yes this is the tour Alice! Would you like to join and write your own? I found it interesting to reflect on my way of doing things. I cannot wait to read your guest post too! Yew! Hugs xx

  6. I love this! I never have thought about my writing process, and to be honest, that would be quite difficult. I do hope you have a grand time on holiday (or vacation, as we call it), and I’ll be extremely jealous. I’m hoping for a few posts as to what you are seeing and doing, too.I’m nosy. That’s the real truth. I live vicariously through my young friends. Have a fabulous rest of your week and safe travels, my friend. xx

    • Hahaha… Oh I know what you mean. I do plenty of that in my own blog reading Julie! Yes, I am aiming to do a bit of a recap on most places that we will visit. There’s also plenty on my Instagram… It’s been fun comparing different cuisines so far! Thanks for the lovely comment. Hope that you are enjoying summertime so far. Hugs xxx

  7. Brilliant. I love you and your blog. I can totally relate to your initial reluctance, but I am so glad that you posted this. It’s a beautiful insight to what you do and I truly appreciate you being so ‘real’ with us. I’ve been toying with the idea of posting a similar section on my site and you’ve given me a boost to do so! I can’t wait to hear all about Paris… eat tons of bread for me :) xx

    • Yes, I’d love to read yours Emilie!! I’m glad that you enjoyed reading my process. It’s kinda weird to write about myself (as I created this blog more as a recipe scrapbook) but it was a valuable process of reflection. And oh, the bread! I definitely ate enough for the two of us! Xx <3

  8. Always fun to learn more about how people work and write! And why they do it. Great read, and I’m looking forward to the guest posts. And have a great holiday!

  9. Have a lovely trip Laura – can’t wait to read your travel updates and recipes. And whatever it is you are eating, I want some of that because I have no idea how you have the energy to do all that you do and also maintain this gorgeous blog. Bon voyage mon amie! xo

    • Thank you beautiful Azita! I appreciate you very much! And I have no idea either… Now that I am on holidays I have no idea why I tried to jam so much into my life. Just sitting and breathing is valuable in itself! Hugs xx

  10. It’s great that you connect so well with the writing part of blogging. It certainly feels (when reading) as though it comes v naturally to you and clearly you are having a lot of success with all those extra curricular activities! For me it’s the bit I connect with least. I should probably spend more than 5 minutes on it! Lovely post as always! X

    • You write so well Becky, I had no idea that you didn’t enjoy that element of blogging! Natural talent for sure ;) Thanks for the encouragement, I appreciate it xx

  11. How could you turn down two requests! I’m glad you were up for sharing your process- it’s a lovely visual for sure. You really are full of great ideas and I’m happy for you to have so many outlets to explore. Quite the full plate you have… no pun intended.
    I’ll be imagining your strolls through Paris. We lived for almost 3 years just around the corner from the Motte Picquet metro- just near the Eiffel tower. Rue Cler was our stomping grounds. Personally, I’m a sucker for the macarons at Pierre Herme in the 6th. Please try them!
    Have the most wonderful trip Laura- how long are you there? Will you be touring around outside of Paris? best…x wendy

    • Oh yes, we tried them! They were too beautiful to eat (but of course, I overcame that obstacle with gusto!). We only stayed for 5 days in Paris and loved every minute, despite the rain. We’re now in Sweden for two weeks and then we’ll be heading to Germany. Too short in each place… Ah, I think it’d take years to explore Europe properly. Thanks for the nomination Wendy, it was an honour to be thought of by you xx

  12. Nothing wrong with writing wordy posts! I think this is why we both enjoy reading each others blogs, from one wordsmith to another. Although I can guarantee my posts aren’t nearly as well articulated as yours. Mine can be better described as waffle! I am so excited for you with your upcoming trip. I love Paris, such fond memories of this romantic city. Looking forward to reading all about it! XXXXXXX

    • Oh you undersell yourself lovely Martine, no waffle in sight! You are such a brilliant writer, I love reading your posts… even when you’re suffering from ‘writers fatigue’ after covering various events! We’re loving our time away. I’m a bit frustrated by the lack of vegetables so far but otherwise, the food has been amazing! Hugs xxxx

  13. A trip to France is pretty incredible! I hope you have an amaze balls time (and run into some cute Parisians ;)
    And thanks for introducing us to how you write your incredible blog – it is definitely a favourite of mine, even if I sometimes can’t visit as much as I would like to!

    Choc Chip Uru

    • Thanks so much Uru, I think we all struggle when trying to visit all of our foodie friends across the blogosphere. I should offer the same words to you! Thanks for the sweet words xx

  14. Loved to read the passage about your writing and how important it is to you, Laura – and I guess you are right, your dedication to so very well told little stories in your posts (and also you sensual food photography) makes your blog really outstanding. Wish you a very good start of your journey in Paris, and see you soon some hundrets of kilometers north-west :-).

  15. I loved reading your process, and getting to know you a little better through this exercise. Thanks for being game and wiling to share how you approach writing, and what you’re working on. And have a fabulous time on those cobbled streets of Paris :-)

  16. I love reading your prose, Laura – it is so wonderfully descriptive that I feel both that I am with you and that I want to be with you! Enjoy Paris – make sure you get to La Charlotte de l’ile (24 rue de Saint Louis-en-l’ile) for some hot chocolate. Or Angelina on the Rie de Rivoli. These are two places that I must hit when I am in Paris. And if seeing THE most amazing church is on your list, get yourself to Sainte Chapelle! I am so happily envious of your trip! Hugs, David

    • Oh, thank you David! These were great tips, despite my late reply! I did miss Sainte Chapelle but I was pretty overwhelmed with the beauty of the architecture in general. I loved Notre Dame, but the tourists there were a little overwhelming (was so hard to get close or to get in to anything…. Mile-long lines). It’s a shame that we didn’t get to Sainte Chapelle! Sending you hugs back! Xx

  17. Great questions to ask and answer. As I was reading your answers, I was wondering what mine would be. I love your writing and your photos and am always jealous of your food! Have a great holiday, I wish you were coming to CO, next time?

    • Oh I wish I was too Naz! Yes, we’d love to get to the US next time. Our friend is getting married in Nashville next year so if we can afford to get there, visiting you would be part of the itinerary! I will keep you posted! Thanks so much for the lovely words xxx

  18. Wonderful that you’ll be traveling to Paris? and points beyond??? Hopefully we’ll get to peek on some of your travel highlights– My favorite in Paris is the Shakespeare and Company Book shop– couldn’t be more charming and all those books in English when you need something new to read along the way… Have fun fun!!

    • Oh yes, we did visit Shakespeare and Co! It was so packed with people though, there wasn’t a space to even breathe. I think I visited at the wrong time of year (I can imagine curling up in there during the autumn months to read for hours!). Thanks so much lovely xx

  19. Pingback: My Writing Process Blog Tour… and Other Things | foodisthebestshitever

  20. how happy that you have so much travel and vacation to look forward to – it sounds like a dream! and the cinnamon apple cheesecake? hopefully you post about that before you go:) i’m also rather anxious to hear more about this book of yours… :)

  21. I can’t think of anything nicer than being jet lagged in Paris…have a wonderful time. I enjoyed this post, it is always interesting learning a little more about how each of us have created our blogs.

    • Haha… Yes, every time I got grumpy about wet feet my husband reminded me of that: ‘we’re in Paris!’. Glad that you enjoyed the post Karen, thanks! Xx

  22. Pingback: Barbecued Chilli Con Carne with Beer « Laura's Mess

  23. I love this. Everything about it. Your big, fat, juicy prose is most enjoyable, and a nice change from the cliché descriptions that are so commonly found in food blogs (my own included probably at times… haha). Same goes for your photographs– I love the way you portray “textures, colours, dappled light and splatters of sticky sauce.” :) It’s more than just a recipe and a photo of the dish; it’s an experience and a story.

    I’m so excited to hear your writing a novel AND a cookbook! Good for you, you workhorse. ;) Can’t wait to get my hands on your extraordinary publications.

    Hope your vacation is going splendidly!!


    • You are wonderful. I really hope that we meet one day, we and our beer drinking men! I’m glad that you enjoy the process and results of my writing obsession. And yes if I do ever finish these half written things you will be on the mailing list for first copies! Xxx

  24. I love this. Everything about it. Your big, fat, juicy prose is most enjoyable, and a nice change from the cliché descriptions so commonly found in food blogs (my own included at times probably… haha). Same goes for your photography. I love the way you portray “textures, colours, dappled light and splatters of sticky sauce.” It’s more than just a recipe and a photo of a dish. It’s an experience and a story.

    I’m so excited to hear you’re writing a novel AND a cookbook! Good for you, you workhorse. ;) Can’t wait to get my hands on your extraordinary publications!

    I hope your vacation is going splendidly!


  25. Laura-I’m sure you are either still in Paris or back now, but anyways, I loved reading your process tour! I did one too and at first, was reluctant, because of my schedule, but glad I did. I enjoyed reading and I love your style. You are a very beautiful writer and story teller and it is enjoyable to read. Your photos are alive and I enjoy them. Congrats on writing a cookbook and everything else you have going on and hope you have/had a great time in Paris. I’ve been there and it’s a beautiful city aesthetically, for sure!!

    • Oh, thanks so much lovely! You are so encouraging. I love your blog too, despite not getting over there often enough. I must read your writing process post too! Xx

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