Happy Cinco de Mayo everyone! Is it just me or is this one of the most fun days of the year? I talked about where to get your fiesta on last week, but if you missed it, check out my recommendations here and here.
Today we're talking about writing. Last month I was asked to participate in the My Writing Process Blog Tour. It's like a pay it forward of blogging, with three new writers sharing their personal stories each Monday. Each tour member answers the same four questions.
I was invited to the tour by Bianca of Confessions of a Chocoholic. Ever since I first discovered her blog, I check it daily. Bianca is an amazing cook and has a particular knack for anything chocolate flavored, covered or dipped. The girl has skills.
We also share a love of Grey's Anatomy, world travel and dining at newly opened restaurants. If you'd like to read Bianca's stop on the My Writing Process Blog Tour, click here.
Ok, here we go!
What am I working on?
As many of you know, I work full time for an advertising agency. I work as a Social Media Strategist where I spend a lot of my day creating content for brands. I spend many hours of the day writing blog posts for clients or pitching bloggers to collaborate with those clients to promote new products, sponsorships or events.
In a strange circle, I pitch bloggers by day and then come home to check my blog's email inbox where I read notes from other brands pitching me.
As for Pop.Bop.Shop. specifically, I am working on continuing to share a nice mix of restaurant reviews, TV recaps, shopping gems, happenings around the city and of course, adventures from my travels. This year I also started sharing photos from my awards show parties, which you all seemed to enjoy.
I am hopeful that 2014 will be the year I actually make the time to redesign this site. I'd love to have a custom layout and a restaurant list that lets you search by city or neighborhood. Can I get an "Amen!" That so needs to happen.
How does my work differ from others of its genre?
The best compliment I have received about Pop.Bop.Shop. is when friends and family who live far away say to me, "I love reading your posts because I feel like I can actually hear you. It feels like we're having a face-to-face conversation." Some people even claim they can imagine the points where I'd be doing my infamous eye roll.
I also like to think the mix of content on the blog attracts all kinds of readers. Some people only come on Thursdays to read the Grey's Anatomy recaps, some people prefer the restaurant posts and I have a very loyal following of bookworms who fill my reading list with killer choices. I cringe a bit when I describe this as a "lifestyle" site, but what that really means is, you can't squeeze it into a specific category and I kind of love that.
Lastly, you may have noticed over the years that I never name the people I am dining with or traveling with in my posts. Back when my parents were selling my childhood home in Newton (tears), the realtor said to them, "I'd encourage you to put away any family photos so that people are able to walk through the house and picture themselves living there instead of focusing on your personal items." Though that seemed harsh at the time, I apply that same rule here. I like to have my readers focus on the awesome meal or the incredible day at a festival, rather than think, "Gee, she sure does eat with that girl all the time" or "Wow, her hair look so frizzy there."
Why do I write what I do?
Pop.Bop.Shop. started on January 4, 2009 as a New Years resolution. I wasn't getting any type of creative outlet at my job at the time, so I decided to start a blog as a place to share my opinions on all of my favorite things. I still laugh every time I read that very first post.
My approach to each entry is to share with you the stuff I would want to know. Whether that's about the best cocktail on the Eastern Standard menu or the secret outdoor patio at Oleana or the magical experience of staying at the Gramery Park Hotel or the genius floral centerpiece idea I found on Pinterest for an Oscar party - you get to hear it all.
I think one of my favorite things about writing for this site has been the way my friends and family have gotten involved. Each week I receive emails or texts from family members or buddies suggesting places, books or movies they think I might like. By accident I created the world's most accurate recommendation engine!
Now, when I got out to new places with friends and I don't take out my camera they will say, "What? Not blogging tonight? I so wanted you to cover this!" So a little bit of why I write what I do is to reward my biggest fans. You know who you are.
How does your writing process work?
Ever since I started writing papers in high school I have not been able to sit down and type until I have my entire story arc formulated in my head. I have to think through the complete narration before I can go anywhere near the computer.
The typical process for a blog post depends on what the subject matter is. For example, if I am going to a new restaurant or an event, I will take my camera with me and photograph each element of the experience. I take copious notes in the Notes app in my iPhone, so I don't forget the little details.
I'll then come home and dump all the pictures on my computer. I usually spend 30 - 60 minutes making selects, editing the photos and then uploading them into the post.
The last piece is to write the actual commentary. This is the hardest part! Sometimes I sit on a post for days because I can't quite decide the angle for the story.
With TV recaps (I used to review Gossip Girl, 90210, The Bachelor and Grey's Anatomy every week) I usually watch the show with my computer on my lap and type great lines or poignant moments as I watch and then when the show is over, I type the full review. For awards shows, this can keep me up until 2:00am!
Once I am confident I am ready to publish, I read the entire post out loud. This helps me to catch spelling and grammar goofs and often times helps me to hear when something sounds repetitive or wonky.
Then, with great satisfaction, I hit "publish." That feeling never gets old.
Now for the pay it forward element of the Blog Tour.
As I mentioned at the top, next Monday, May 12th, three fantastic ladies will be carrying this virtual torch forward on the My Writing Process Blog Tour and I'd like to take a minute to introduce them.
Emily from The Great Wide Open - Emily and I are coworkers, though truthfully, I mostly think of her as my hero. Emily started her blog over a year ago to chronicle her adventures trying out new professions, hobbies and outdoor adventures. She has learned to cut meat at a butchery, reupholster furniture, speed skate, curl (yes, like in the winter Olympics) and more. Emily is a former journalist so her writing takes a reporter's approach, telling the full story of her pursuits in a way that makes you feel like you completed the challenge yourself.
Elizabeth from On Tap For Today - I have been following Elizabeth's blog for years and we finally got to meet in person a few years ago at a holiday party at Whole Foods. Go figure. Elizabeth has a wicked sense of humor that constantly has me laughing out loud. We share a serious passion for all things sparkly and for home redecoration projects. Elizabeth shares a delightful mix of recipes, health & fitness tips (she's a CrossFit devotee and a FitFluential ambassador), home decor ideas and of course, beautiful photos of her sweet new baby girl.
Stephanie from Stephanie's Bookmark - Stephanie is one of my closest friends and she also happens to be a very accomplished writer. She has written three books and is currently penning her fourth manuscript. It's like a modern day Sex and the City; you're going to love it. On her blog she shares what she's reading, what she's cooking and baking (in a series she calls 'Procrastination Recipes') and her adventures in snow boarding and surfing. She is responsible for recommending most of the books I write about here and she's usually my mystery dining companion at a new restaurant.
Please check out the blogs of each of these talented women and tune in next Monday as they take the stage on the My Writing Process Blog Tour.