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52 Ways to Shift Your Focus: Let Someone Else Ask About Your Work

Shift #45: Let Someone Else Ask About Your Work

It’s a bloghop!

Today’s shift in focus is a little different. I was asked by fellow writer and editor Oonah V Joslin if I would like to take part in a bloghop that she was tagged in and, without thinking very long about it, I said yes. The idea with this bloghop is to answer questions about my writing and then tag another writer with a blog so they can do the same. Readers can hop around to different blogs and see what other writers are doing, what inspires them, what they think matters.

I hadn’t planned on using this as part of my 52 Ways to Shift Your Focus series, but then I thought about how having someone ask me about my work might change it. The questions that come from someone else are questions I don’t choose. Therefore, they might make me think differently about what I do.

Oonah’s a good person to nudge me in a new direction. We’ve worked together on Every Day Poets since 2009 and met face-to-face for the first time last September when Oonah and her husband Noel visited Minnesota. They live in Northumberland, so it was no small feat to get all the way to my house. In fact, that visit made me think about Minnesota in different ways as I considered what to show them during their time here. That sparked a couple of posts on this blog, including, Shift #21: Be A Tourist in Your Own Town,  and Shift #22: Read Your Stuff Out Loud.

So, it’s only natural that Oonah’s inspired me again. Below are the bloghop questions that Oonah sent me, with my answers. And, don’t forget to visit her blogs, Oonahverse and Parallel Oonahverse.

1) What is the title of your next book?

Well, my own work includes occasional poetry, flash fiction, and articles on the craft of writing, none of which is compiled into a book yet. I do run a blog called One Minnesota Writer – Oh, hey, that would be this blog you’re reading! – that focuses on the creative life, including a series I’ve been working on called, 52 Ways to Shift Your Focus. I’ve had fantasies about expanding that into a nonfiction book. You know, it worked for Gretchen Rubin and her Happiness Project.

There is an anthology that I’m involved with in the works.  I’m one of the editors for the Every Day Poets anthology series, and we are currently working on The Best of Every Day Poets Three.

2) Where did the idea come from for the book?

The EDP book is part of a series that showcases the best of what we’ve published within a given year.

For my 52 Ways series, that idea came from boredom. I needed to shake up how I did my work and I thought, well, probably so do a lot of people.

I’m also someone who regularly writes about the minutiae of everyday life. I’m very interested in how the everyday can be elevated to a larger sense of appreciation or surprise. I look that for when I’m reading work submitted to Every Day Poets.

3) What genre does your project fall under?

The EDP anthology is, of course, poetry. And, being an anthology, the poetry comes from all sorts of categories.

The 52 Ways series falls under self-exploration or something like that. Please don’t make me say “self-help”.

4) What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?

Wow, would someone actually make a movie about a Minnesota editor/writer? Okay, I want Sandra Bullock to play me.

5) What is a one sentence synopsis of your work?

Find the extraordinary within that which is in front of you and stand on your head while you’re at it.

6) Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

The Every Day Poets anthologies are published by Every Day Publishing and they are available through Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and IndieBound.

7) How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?

The 52 Ways series has been in the works for a year now. It’s not done yet.

8) What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

If I think about the 52 Ways series, it could compare to a number of writing books out there, with influences from works like Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way or Natalie Goldberg’s Writing Down the Bones. Those are books I’ve returned to often in my development as a writer. But, really, I haven’t seen anything exactly like what I’m working on. Yet.

9) Who or what inspired you to write this book?

The sheer need to look at things differently to keep evolving as a writer.

10) What else about the book might pique the reader’s interest?

The 52 Ways series, hopefully, encourages people to find their own ways to look at their art differently or to see the world through a new lens.

The EDP anthologies, to circle back to that, are all about short, excellent, and accessible poetry. Forget about all the stuffy verse that you may have developed a healthy dislike toward in high school or college. Find out what is currently on the minds of working poets.

And now I am off to find other bloggers to tag. Stay tuned.

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