9 Things I Wonder About Other Writers

posted in: Writing 63 comments

Inspired by Kristen (who asked the original nine questions of herself), and Nina.

Stephen King quote on writing

Image via adamr at FreeDigitalPhotos.net


1. Do you share your work with your partner or spouse? Does it matter if it’s been published yet? 

I don’t. Not because I don’t want to, but my writing is something that is all my own in every sense of the word. You may find this strange, but I’m very embarrassed for people I know in real life (before I became a blogger/ writer) to read my writing, including (and maybe especially) my husband. He asked to read my piece in My Other Ex – AFTER it was published, and even then, I was reluctant.  

2. How much of your family and/or closest “friends in real life first” read your stuff. . . .let alone give you feedback about it?

See answer to question one!

3. What do you do with the pieces that continually get rejected -post on your blog? Trash? When do you know it’s time to let it go?

I always either post it on my blog, or submit it elsewhere. When I submit a piece, I’m always confident that it’s good in its way. Good enough for me to feel good about sending it out into the world. If no one likes it, I still do, so there is always a home for it here.

4. Are there pieces you write for one very specific place that, once rejected, you just let go of, or do you rework into something else?

I would rework it, or publish as is, right here. It really depends on which site I am submitting to – is the original the right style? Is it within the site’s word count? Is the topic of relevance? 

5. What is your main source of reading-based inspiration (especially you essayists)? Blogs? Magazines? Journals? Anthologies? Book of essays by one writer?

I read a lot – that includes books, blogs, and all kinds of websites. I’ve been inspired to write certain posts before, based on what I read.

6. What tends to spark ideas more for you: what you see/hear in daily life or what you read?

Both. Most of my pieces about parenting and motherhood come directly from personal experience and daily life. Pieces about life in general or my opinions on topics, are usually inspired by what I read/ hear/ watch.

7. Who have you read in the past year or two that you feel is completely brilliant but so underappreciated?

I would say all bloggers I read on a regular basis, though I hesitate to say that they are underappreciated, because I’m sure they have a wonderful community around them! 

8. Without listing anything written by Dani Shapiro, Anne Lamott, Lee Gutkind, or Natalie Goldberg, what craft books are “must haves”?

Stephen King’s On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft and Kate Hopper’s Use Your Words: A Writing Guide for Mothers.

9. Have you ever regretted having something published? Was it because of the content or the actual writing style/syntax? (Obviously we all grow as writers and looking back at our “clunkier” writing can be cringeworthy. That’s not what I’m talking about here. I mean, are there things you wish you hadn’t said out loud either because of what you said or how you said it. I’m not in this position right now, but some things I’d like to write about might get me there. And yet . . . how can I ignore those topics, you know?)

I wrote a very difficult-to-write-and-think-about-post about my mother, and the very next day, my father emailed me, sharing his thoughts on the piece. I didn’t even know he knew I had a blog (see answer to question one). It sparked a conversation I didn’t want to have, but glad I did. However, I have no regrets publishing it. I did consider pulling it when I realized it was being read by people who had some part in it, but it was merely a passing thought. I decided to own the story, because it is MY story. 

I would love to read YOUR answers to these great questions! Answer any of them in the comments, or all of them on your blog, and remember to link back to Kristen, who wrote the questions! 


Alison Lee is a former PR and marketing professional turned work-at-home mother. After a 10-year career in various PR agencies, and of the world’s biggest sports brands, Alison traded in product launches and world travel, for sippy cups, diapers, and breastfeeding. Alison's writing has been featured on Mamalode, On Parenting at The Washington Post, The Huffington Post, Everyday Family, Scary Mommy, and DrGreene.com. She is one of 35 essayists in the anthology, My Other Ex: Women’s True Stories of Leaving and Losing Friends. In 2012, she founded Little Love Media, a social media consultancy specializing in blog book tours, and because she doesn’t sleep, is an editor at BonBon Break, an online magazine. Alison lives in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia with her husband and four children (two boys and boy/ girl twins).

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  • January 19, 2015 Liza

    Love the honesty. 🙂
    Liza recently wrote…Gooey Chocolate Filled Cocoa CookiesMy Profile

    • January 27, 2015 Alison

      Thank you, Liza.

  • January 19, 2015 Adrienne

    I loved reading all your answers! I still cringe when I know someone I know IRL reads my blog. Not because I’m not true to myself on either front, but it makes me all sorts of sick nervous.
    Adrienne recently wrote…Where Gratitude Is Nowhere To Be FoundMy Profile

    • January 27, 2015 Alison

      Yes, that’s it for me too.

  • January 19, 2015 Katie

    I really love this! It’s so interesting to read how bloggers and writers view their own writing and audience. I might have to do this too 🙂
    Katie recently wrote…Blissfully IgnorantMy Profile

    • January 27, 2015 Alison

      I’m so glad you did! Loved your post.

  • January 19, 2015 Aussa Lorens

    I have a hard time letting anyone close to me read my writing either. People on the internet? Sure. But it took two years before I let my closest friend read something I’d written about a certain period of my life– and she was in the majority of it.
    Aussa Lorens recently wrote…All My Coworkers Are Banging Each OtherMy Profile

    • January 28, 2015 Alison

      Aussa, the stuff you write? I am astounded. I would never be able to do what you do, you’re amazing!

  • January 19, 2015 The Dusty Parachute

    I totally agree with #1. And thanks for the book recommendations – I just put them on hold at the library!
    The Dusty Parachute recently wrote…The American Girl Doll for Girls Who Are Too Cool for DollsMy Profile

    • January 27, 2015 Alison

      I hope you enjoy them and find them helpful!

  • January 20, 2015 stacey

    Yeah, I had a situation like that with the family. So does your mom have your dad call when she’s upset about something too? Hard to deal with, but at least you did! Interesting post.
    stacey recently wrote…I Had a Dream, Involving a Soy Latte and Lunch With FriendsMy Profile

    • January 27, 2015 Alison

      I don’t know if my father calls me on his own initiative or at her urging. 🙂

  • January 20, 2015 My Inner Chick

    I appreciate your answer for #3, Alison Lee.
    This is the reason you will endure, become relevant, and kick serious ass.
    This is the reason writer, Lisa Genova, is going to the Academy Awards this year!
    This is the reason I love you.

    My Inner Chick recently wrote…Submissions For My Inner ChickMy Profile

    • January 27, 2015 Alison

      You are always so kind to me, my friend. Thank you. xoxo

  • January 20, 2015 Julia

    I love these questions. I feel the same way you do about number 1, my husband just started reading my blog a few months ago and my parents have read for some time. It makes me second guess my writing a lot and what I write about and what I don’t. I’m still super awkward when people I know IRL talk about my blog, but I’m trying to get better about it and like you said own it. That’s actually my word for the year.
    Julia recently wrote…Best of 2014 BooksMy Profile

    • January 27, 2015 Alison

      I am totally awkward when people I know IRL mention my blog, lol.

  • January 20, 2015 Tamara

    I feel the same exact way about #3. I put things out there that have the Tamara stamp of approval. Sometimes that’s not enough. Sometimes it’s just not a perfect fit. And that’s ok – there’s a lot of room in my blog for it. I’m happy to take other people’s “rejected” writings and house them too!
    And #1 is weird for me, when friends and family read. My writing is very personal. I know Cassidy reads it but sometimes that gives me a funny feeling.
    Tamara recently wrote…Discovery.My Profile

    • January 27, 2015 Alison

      I didn’t realize you have a funny feeling sometimes about Cassidy reading your writing – your family seems so involved with your blog (and I say and mean that in a good way).

  • January 20, 2015 Allison

    I love this post, such a wonderful insight. I wrote a post (which I was honored to have picked up by BlogHer) about how my husband doesn’t read my blog. My mom, however, is my biggest fan. I think she keeps me going.

    I find other bloggers I read so inspirational, beyond bounds. So thank you for this daily dose of inspiration.
    Allison recently wrote…A “currently” post for JanuaryMy Profile

    • January 28, 2015 Alison

      It’s so great that you have your Mom’s support!

  • January 20, 2015 Natalie

    Wow I feel the exact same way about people I know on person reading my blog! Wow that would have surprised the heck out of me if my dad emailed me about mine but glad it was healthy for you. Can you believe we are going on four years of blogging??? Crazy! This led to me starting KMB from a blog connection 🙂
    Natalie recently wrote…A Belated Happy New YearMy Profile

    • January 28, 2015 Alison

      I know, four years! I love to see how you’ve bloomed since we’ve known each other.

  • January 20, 2015 WriterMom Angela

    I very rarely have anyone else read my writing for me before I publish it, if I do it’s always (ALWAYS) Crystal from Mommifried!
    WriterMom Angela recently wrote…14 Rules for Being Friends with a WriterMy Profile

    • January 28, 2015 Alison

      It’s wonderful that you have a reading buddy!

  • January 20, 2015 Lindsey

    I love these questions and am so glad to read your answers. I learn something new from every single set of answers I read. Also so happy you mentioned Kate Hopper’s book which I loved. xox

    • January 28, 2015 Alison

      Kate’s book is such a gift, I still refer to it.

  • January 20, 2015 Rorybore

    Most of my work, I have not shared because my most inspired ideas/writing tends to arrive as poems, and I realize that not everyone is “in to” poetry. The risque stuff I will post on my Tumblr, but it’s not like I have tons of followers there. I just like it to have a place to call home. I swear 75% of my stuff is still in my head and I need to get better at actually putting it down on paper.
    I will never regret anything I write or post. It’s either my story, or it came from my heart born of creative process and passion, and I just cannot turn my back on it once released. Like you say, I own it.
    Rorybore recently wrote…Through The Lens Thursday: Delicious .. ishMy Profile

    • January 28, 2015 Alison

      Put it out there! We need the 75% you’re keeping in your head!

  • January 20, 2015 Susi

    It’s funny how sometimes I get caught off guard when my mom mentions something I wrote about. I don’t advertise my blog to people I know IRL too much because then I always feel I can’t voice certain opinions. It’s a bit of a strange phenomenon I think. Loved reading this though.
    Susi recently wrote…19/365 Playful RacoonsMy Profile

    • January 28, 2015 Alison

      It is strange! We are so much more free with our thoughts online than we can ever be in real life.

  • January 20, 2015 Allie

    I’ve so enjoyed all these posts. Thanks for sharing. I think it’s extraordinary that you didn’t think your dad knew about your blog and he read it. I often wonder what my parents would think (they’re both deceased) – especially given the fact they both turn up from time to time. I loved Kate Hopper’s book, too!
    Allie recently wrote…Audrey and Me, Then and NowMy Profile

    • January 28, 2015 Alison

      I was really shocked when he emailed me!

  • January 20, 2015 Rudri Bhatt Patel

    I enjoyed answering this meme and loved reading everyone’s answers. Thanks for the recommendation for Kate Hopper’s book.
    Rudri Bhatt Patel recently wrote…What Others Have Given UsMy Profile

    • January 28, 2015 Alison

      I do hope you enjoy it!

  • January 20, 2015 Alexandra Rosas

    I like this, and I like you owning your story. I decided the same thing, friend, it is my life, my story. No one can tell us what to write, what not to write.

    • January 28, 2015 Alison

      It’s the best way to live life as a writer. xoxo

  • January 20, 2015 Christine

    #1 definitely. I don’t like sharing my blog or writing with family and before-blog friends. I have no idea if my family reads my blog or what they think of it.
    Christine recently wrote…StubbornMy Profile

    • January 28, 2015 Alison

      You and I are so alike, Christine. Parallel lives.

  • January 20, 2015 Jill

    Loved reading these. I saw this go around awhile back…I totally want to write this post now!
    Jill recently wrote…Fun Facts About MidlifeMy Profile

    • January 28, 2015 Alison

      I hope you do, it was really fun!

  • January 20, 2015 Chris Carter

    I would write about my family (Oh, there is so much there) if it weren’t for the risk of them reading it. They all rarely do, but once in a while they ‘show up’. It’s not worth the pain and anguish and ANGER it would provoke.

    I love that you OWN your writing and I totally agree with that. There is always our writing home for any of our pieces… they are all worthy of being published!
    Chris Carter recently wrote…Managing Pain: Stay Off The BridgeMy Profile

    • January 28, 2015 Alison

      I’m sorry that you (and me, and probably many others) do not feel 100% safe in our own writing spaces. Sigh.

  • January 21, 2015 Linda Roy

    I’m glad you didn’t pull the piece about your mother. It’s powerful.
    Linda Roy recently wrote…The Fitness Goals of an Eight Year OldMy Profile

    • January 28, 2015 Alison

      Thank you so much, Linda.

  • January 21, 2015 Nina

    I loved reading all of this and especially loved your answer to #3.
    Nina recently wrote…Acquaintances vs. FriendsMy Profile

    • January 28, 2015 Alison

      I appreciate you sharing this in the first place, Nina!

  • January 22, 2015 Jack

    I have been blogging under a pen name for years now because it allows me to write more freely. That is not to say I can’t talk with people who know me about what I write but there are some conversations I prefer not to have.

    I suppose that answers the question about whether people who know me read my work before it is published.

    In regard to number nine writers who tell me they never regret anything they have written are writers I either don’t believe, don’t trust or don’t want to read.

    My favorite pieces are those where someone dug deep and took a hard look at things that may be very personal, difficult and troubling.

    But the honesty and authenticity is something that I think makes those pieces better and more exceptional.

    Besides not every piece is going to be outstanding.

    • January 28, 2015 Alison

      Everything you say – I agree! Though we will have to agree to disagree about regrets and writing. 🙂

  • January 22, 2015 Rebecca

    I am in complete agreement with you on #1, and all the other answers that response impacts. It’s hard for me to know the people that already know me, are reading my guts. It’s very uncomfortable sometimes- like I’m naked and they just get to pick, poke, and examine me. Though they never do- that’s just the feeling!
    Rebecca recently wrote…How to Survive the Terrible Twos: MombieMy Profile

    • January 28, 2015 Alison

      That is a good (and very uncomfortable) analogy!

  • January 22, 2015 The Imp

    My teen daughter reads my stuff more than my husband. Her and I share the writing insanity bug.
    The Imp recently wrote…Doing The Memes Thing…My Profile

    • January 28, 2015 Alison

      That’s awesome, Melissa!

  • January 23, 2015 Elaine A.

    I can relate to #1. I get nervous letting those close to me read my writing. It’s easier to just hit “publish” and walk away. LOL.

    This was great to read and several of my other answer would be similar too…

    • January 28, 2015 Alison

      I always publish and walk away, lol.

  • January 25, 2015 Charlotte

    Why do blog commenting systems hate me so very much? LOL, anyway…

    I totally understand what you mean–I always feel awkward when I know close friends/family members are reading my words. It’s easier to imagine you’re writing for a faceless crowd of strangers, in a way. And I think it’s a great thing your father read your blog post about your mom–it sounds as though it opened up dialogue and, I imagine, it was easier for you to put in writing things you may not have been able to say in person (at least that’s how I am).

    XOXO and wishing you all the best for a wonderful weekend 🙂
    Charlotte recently wrote…And this little pixie went to the BahamasMy Profile

    • January 28, 2015 Alison

      I totally couldn’t talk to my mother about the things I wrote – we are just not a talking family 🙂

  • January 26, 2015 Sandra

    I wrote a post for Huff post about my mental illness. I even quoted verbatim something cold and heartless my mother had said presumably to me. Little did I know she must be googling my name because she emailed me and said that that wasn’t what she meant. Unlike you however (you brave woman) I did not own it. I pretended it was meant for someone else.
    Sandra recently wrote…I Am the QueenMy Profile

    • January 28, 2015 Alison

      Sandra, you ARE BRAVE, don’t ever doubt that. xoxo

  • January 28, 2015 Andrea

    One of the best things about having a blog is that there is always a home for whatever I want to write here… even if it causes me a few cringe-y moments. I’ve written things that I hated or wrote really quickly without a thought, and they have resonated with readers, so who am I to say what works and what doesn’t?
    Andrea recently wrote…Seventy-Nine PhotosMy Profile

    • January 28, 2015 Alison

      Our blogs are our safe places, right? As it should be.

  • February 18, 2015 Becky Holland

    Great questions. I really like your answers. Loving your blog. Thanks for sharing.
    Becky Holland recently wrote…Things I’ve learned: let people helpMy Profile

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