Pinning down my ‘process’

When the inspirational Nancy over at My Years of Sweat asked me if I wanted to continue a blog hop focused on the writing process, my initial reaction was a resounding no. I’d never really given any thought to my process beyond pouring a glass of wine, pouring said wine into me, and subsequently pouring my heart out. I’m not even sure that I think of myself as a ‘writer’. But as is her way, she somehow managed to talk me into it. Hopefully, I won’t let her, the blog hop or myself down by continuing the chain! 

My 'process'...

My ‘process’…

The idea is that you thank the person who nominated you, answer three questions and then nominate the next victim blogger. So, thank you Nancy – I think! And here goes:

What am I working on? 

Right now, I guess I’m working on how to transition from Expat Eye on Latvia to Expat Eye on Germany, without losing too many readers along the way. Writing EEOL has been a total revelation and great fun – apart from when half the country wanted to kill me – so it’s going to be hard to say goodbye to it. 

I’ve also been toying with the idea of writing a book for some time now, but the fact that I haven’t actually started doesn’t bode well. It’s tricky as I’ve written most of what I want to write in the blog, and I’m struggling to come up with an ‘angle’ that makes the book different from what I’ve done here. I’m not interested in just regurgitating blog posts – there has to be something that sets the book apart. And that’s where I’m at a loss. If anyone has any ideas, I’m listening! 

How does my work differ from others in its genre?

When I began writing about Latvia, I was probably one of the first foreigners to do so though, in the last year or so, a number of people have started their own blogs on living here. I guess what sets mine apart is that I’ve never pandered to anyone. On occasion I’ve been told, “you’re a guest here – you should only write positive things about your host country”. But the way I see it, I’m a paying guest and I should be able to write whatever the hell I like. 

If I like something, I’ll write about it. If I don’t like something, you can be bloody sure I’ll write about it. And if that’s too much for some sensitive souls, then tough. 

My blog is unapologetic, it’s honest, it’s (hopefully) funny, and it engages people more than many other blogs of its ilk out there. Sure, it’s a bit exaggerated at times, but there’s a kernel of truth in every post and that’s what people like (or hate) about it. It starts discussions; it gets people thinking – but then, I guess some people don’t like that much. But, as the blog has just passed the quarter of a million hits mark, I must be doing something right.

Why do I write what I do?

I write what I do because it keeps me (relatively) sane. When I first started the blog, I’d been living here for almost two and a half years, so I’d built up a bank of impressions and observations. Ideas for posts are triggered in different ways – it could be something I see or hear, something I read, or something that infuriates me beyond belief. I try to post twice a week, so whatever nugget it is has a few days to flesh itself out in my head. 

Most of the posts are writing themselves in my head as I walk around the city, so by the time I put finger to keyboard, they’re almost finished. Sometimes a line or a thought will pop into my head that has me laughing out loud as I’m wandering around – that’s when I know it’s probably a blog post. If it can make me laugh, it can probably do the same for other people – even if I do look like a crazy person when it happens.

The hardest parts of any post are coming up with a witty title, the opening paragraph and the closing paragraph. And of course, trying to maintain a level of consistency when it comes to quality and not just publishing posts for the sake of publishing them.

The level of interaction I have with my readers has kept me going through some pretty hairy times here. Half the time, the comment thread is more entertaining than the post itself, but that’s what makes it fun. 

So, I guess that’s about it. I’m not really sure that counts as a ‘writing process’ but that’s all I’ve got! 

For the final part of the blog hop challenge, I pass the baton to the intimidatingly multi-lingual Lady of the Cakes. She’s been following me since the very beginning and her blog is fantastically entertaining – when she’s not posting pictures of bloody flowers or lanterns, that is. I think we have a similar mindset so I’m interested to see what her ‘process’ is! 

Thanks again to Nancy and good luck to Lady – her post will go up on the 21st of July so make sure you check it out! I’m off to get a refill – all of this reflection is thirsty work. 




About BerLinda

Adjusting to life in Germany, after living in Latvia for four years. Should be easy, right?
This entry was posted in Humour, Latvia and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

116 Responses to Pinning down my ‘process’

  1. aishasoasis says:

    Greetings from an american living in Egypt and blogging about it! Just read Lady’s post and she intrigued me to come visit. Looking forward to reading more from your blog ;^)

  2. Pingback: Bloghopping Mad! | Lady Of The Cakes

  3. rower says:

    the book might contain a) original posts (right from this blog), b) new posts/thoughts/comments c) unseen imagery (better if there suddenly pops out someone, who’s ready to illustrate your work). and a small gift for everyone who’s bying it 😉

    • Expat Eye says:

      Ha ha! What gift do you suggest?

      • rower says:

        it might be a lottery ? – possible prizes could be
        * small handkerchief with your insignia/initials (to wipe off saliva while reading or just as a decoration… could serve as a fetish, too);
        * free (for you, of course) lunch, late supper, breakfast or brunch (you choose) in a cafe/resturant of _your_ choice. lucky winner may watch over you, stay on watch, buy you a watch, or just watch out.
        * a smile. probably photocopied, but still…
        * a second copy of your book.
        * chineese cookie (and a small note “keep trying”);
        * condom (just in case, and you know, they come in small convenient packages novadays);
        * pocketsized Irish-English-Russian-German-Latvian multilanguage dictionary (62 most used cursewords, or how to get by in everyday conversation)
        * photo of random girl (might be nude, might be you. superprize/jackspot – if both apply at the same time).
        * coupon for a pint of your favorite at your favorite place (not necessarily in Riga).
        * a pair of 10-sided dices
        * an 8-ball. yes, the one that answers.
        * a pocket-sized (or keychain) action figurine of leprechaun.

        🙂 and now i want a 5% share in revenues 😉

      • Expat Eye says:

        You’ve given this a lot of thought! I like the action leprechaun!!

  4. I am very impressed with how you get an idea for a post when you are walking around, work on it in your head then write it when you get home. If only I could do that… Almost every day I have a great idea for a brilliantly amusing post, but by the time I sit down at my computer it has gone out of my mind completely!

    • Expat Eye says:

      Ha ha, sometimes I have stuff in the back of my mind for months! It might not be enough for a post in itself, but then something else happens, and then something else and it starts to piece itself together 🙂 You should carry around a notebook with you – or take pics of random things – that’s what I do. I look a bit mad zooming in on dog poo and the like, but it’s all worth it in the end 🙂

  5. This meme gets around. I answered the same questions about my writing process a few weeks ago, and I learned a few things about myself. Your blog is always great fun.
    Can’t wait to see the transition to the new Expat Eye. Look out Germany!

  6. rigaenglish says:

    Speaking of the process, don’t you find WordPress a bit weird sometimes? If you try to add a photo in the middle of the text, it usually adds it at the top, then you have to go, delete it and re-add it. When I save a draft and start reading the draft, the screen goes blank and I have to scroll up and down the page a few times to see it again. Lastly, they did some scheduled post thingy recently, but if you save a post as scheduled, it’s not always obvious how to publish it ahead of schedule if you decide to. Lastly weird stuff happens with the stats. I had over 20 facebook shares on my Kazakhstan post last week, but now it shows none, which obviously isn’t right.

    • Expat Eye says:

      I don’t like the most recent changes they’ve made but I think they’ve ironed out the glitches – I had trouble with images in the beginning as well, but it’s working OK again now. I’ve had fewer problems than a lot of people I think!

  7. I have some ideas on a book for you if you ever want to connect!

  8. linnetmoss says:

    I think you should write a comic novel about an Irishwoman who goes to Latvia. Heaven knows you have plenty of good material!

  9. bevchen says:

    Nothing wrong with flowers or lanterns…. or flower-covered lanterns 😉

    I’m looking forward to Expat eye on Germany. Your take on my adopted country is going to be fun 😀

  10. Heh, I guess I should say – it has been a pleasure to be involved in your self-therapy 😉 It’s been overall a good experience. Even if you sometimes became a bit offensive (come on! who would stay calm, reading anyone criticizing their mamas?!) and made an impression of being a bit miserable. Some of the other things – we needed to hear! And good luck on your next journey.
    I am not deleting you from my feedly the next day you stop writing about Latvia, that I am sure of!

  11. MrJohnson says:

    How dare you write while under the influence of alcohol. There are many dangers to this.

    Impairs judgement
    Reduced concentration and vigilance
    Feeling more relaxed and drowsy, which may cause a writer to fall asleep at the keyboard
    Difficulty in understanding sensory information
    Over confidence, which may lead to risk taking

    I was thinking about the term ‘Irish Whore’ the other day and it has a great ring to it. I was combining other nationalities with ‘whore’ and I couldn’t think of one that sounded as good. Canadian Whore? Nope. Chinese Whore? Nope. Scottish Whore? Hmmm..Close but I still don’t think so.

  12. pollyheath says:

    I’m really interested to see how you transition to blogging about Germany. I feel in a lot of ways I got lucky – like you – by blogging about somewhere that hasn’t yet been saturated with information.

    Also, I’d definitely read your book – and probably laugh my way straight to hell, but never mind.

    • Expat Eye says:

      Ha ha! Yeah, it’s true – there’s still an aura of mystery about our little pockets of the world! Making Germany fresh will be a lot more of a challenge! But also harder to gain notoriety which is probably a good thing 😉

      • Emmi says:

        dont be so hopeless. there are tons of blogs on germany out there but very few of them are funny and entertaining. so write what you see in your usual way. germany has its share of weirdness believe me!

      • Expat Eye says:

        That’s what I’m hoping 😉 And I’m pretty sure Berlin will!

  13. Gerbil With Jetpack says:

    Start with a random moment, add fictional details. “A man in an oil barrel was swinging slowly above the morning street as the light breeze kept turning him 360 degrees around every 2 minutes or so. The short moments when he faced the tree he used for cutting branches with a chainsaw he was holding. During rest of the time he was forced to stand still, scanning the street and me. “Sorry” he said every time we made an eye contact.” Cut to black.

  14. Cindi says:

    I liked reading how you come up with your blog posts. They’re always entertaining and honest, with a perfect twist of humor.

    I know the wine helps (God knows I consume enough of it, I better say something nice about it), but it’s still your voice. I’ve gotten used to it with a “Latvian accent” …. wonder what your German-accented writing voice will be like?! 🙂

    • Expat Eye says:

      Ha ha! Me with a Latvian accent! I love that! 🙂
      My German voice is angry at the moment – I need to work on that. I also get angry face 🙂

  15. Can’t wait to read about your thoughts on Germany! There are way too many “Germany is wonderful” expat blogs out there. Not that I want you to have a bad time there. Just curious to read about your honest opinion 😉

    • Expat Eye says:

      Maybe Germany really is that wonderful 😉 But we’ll find out haha!

      • bevchen says:

        Germany is wonderful… when they’re not making you fill in forms 😉 (And the less said about Deutsche Bahn the better! I maaay be extra annoyed with them today though after having to take a regional train to work.)

      • Expat Eye says:

        My train back to Riga stopped early yesterday, so I had to jump off the platform, hop over four lines of tracks, and walk up a hill to a tram stop instead. Are they that bad??

      • bevchen says:

        If the train stopped early, they wouldn’t even let you off! Around Christmas a train broke down close to Karlsruhe and the poor passengers were stuck on it for 3 hours. Thankfully it was the train before mine, so we were just rerouted as the track was blocked.

      • Expat Eye says:

        Sounds safer but more time-consuming 😉

      • Emmi says:

        I am a HUGE fan of the deutsche bahn. clean efficient fast, inexpensive if you get good delas…

  16. Pingback: it’s not about the exercise | my year[s] of sweat!

  17. NancyTex says:

    I snorted when I read the bit about the hardest part of writing being coming up with a witty title. I can TOTALLY relate to this! 🙂 🙂 🙂

    And I’ve gotta say I, too, am worried about you losing your edge by being all lovey-dovey sappy over how great Berlin is. But then Simone reminded me that the honeymoon period will wear off and snarky Linda will be back to entertain us. 🙂

    Great job, Drunky McDrunkerson. You did the blog hop proud. Now, can we both make a pact never to blog hop again?

  18. I did not know you were moving! Can’t wait to read about Germany! And yes your posts are always funny!

  19. Diana says:

    Hi Linda….for sure your writing is entertaining…and as I think I have mentioned before….I am in total agreement that your comments section also provides a lot of laughs. There is no blog I follow that has as much interaction as yours…so it is always fun to see what is going on over here.

  20. I VERY NEARLY took some pics of flowers a couple of days ago, but then thought better of it…

    Thanks for the nomination. Oh my, process schmocess… WHAT am I going to come up with?! I’ll write about it if it a) tastes good b) looks nice c) makes me want to clobber someone…

  21. freebutfun says:

    Congrats on the quarter of a million hits mark!!! That’s awesome!

    What sets you apart from other blogs in the genre is in my opinion the great sense of humour/ sarcasm. I love it. The way you get people thinking and talking. How you raise issues that should be questioned/talked about, but you still remain kind and respectful to people, that is a skill and it tells me you are a very likeable person. If you ever come up this way, I’ll by you a pint!

    Having said that, since I love your sense of humour, I wish, when you’ve moved to Germany, that you go to the movies a few times there, and then blog about your experience (yes, they have movies with subtitles too).

    • Expat Eye says:

      I’ll definitely need them for the first while! Thank you for your kind words! I’ll buy you a pint right back if we ever do cross paths! 🙂

  22. LAMarcom says:

    Looking anxiously forward to reading your posts on Germany.

  23. Anna says:

    Here, here! My process is very similar to yours, if you substitute wine (in your classy glass) with vodka rocks or light beer.
    I am so sad about the impending end of EEOL – you seem so enamored with Germany that peppy positive Linda writing how BERLIN IS AWESOME! just wont be the same 😛 Who will think of the Latvians???

  24. Rest assured – your blog is both honest and funny and we’ve worried about your safety from time to time. Onwards and sideways (west?). Oh, and a good nomination for the fab Lady of the Cakes.

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