When Do You Write? MELISSA FORD

photo credit: Mary Gardella

I met Melissa Ford online a few years ago, when I wrote blog book reviews for a small company at a time when blog book tours were a relatively new concept. Mel was my “boss” in the sense that she assigned the book reviews to writers like myself. “Boss” is a funny term to associate with someone like Mel, considering the fact that she has the most nurturing online presence of anyone I know.

I’ve been a huge fan of Mel’s nonfiction for years– her award winning blog that focuses on infertility, family life, politics, and social issues, her insightful articles on Blogher, and her nonfiction book, Navigating the Land of If. I’m also a devoted student to Mel’s blog series MFA Sunday School, where recently, I learned about sestinas.

What I loved most about Mel’s first novel, Life from Scratch, was that I could hear in her protagonist Rachel’s voice the same sensitivity, awareness, and enlightenment that I’ve come to love in reading Mel’s blog posts and essays.

With an active award-winning blog, her editorial position at Blogher, and work on the sequel to Life from Scratch, it’s a wonder Mel can fit everything in.


The most honest answer to the question when do I write is all the time.  I write blog posts inside my mind while I drive the car or shower (never at the same time).  I work out scenes between characters while I’m in downward-facing dog in yoga.  I write while I wash the dishes or fold laundry or lie in bed trying to fall asleep.  I am always stringing together ideas, making my characters go this way and that.

And then there are the moments when I sit down at the computer to write.  I almost always warm up by writing a blog post.  Sometimes I publish these posts, but more often than not, they languish in the draft folder forever.  There are hundreds of posts like that in my dashboard.  If I unleashed them on the world all at once, it would be a tsunami of words.

After the blog post is out of my system, I then start working on the book.  It’s almost as if I need to do those stretches before I can return to running alongside my characters as they explore their worlds.  Before I started my blog, I needed to read a few pages before I wrote to get in a word mood.

Both are equally effective, but there is something more satisfying about having the blog post in hand.  Even if I only write a paragraph or two in the book, I can point to the blog post and say, “I wrote that too.”

BIO:  Melissa Ford is the author of the website, Stirrup Queens, as well as two books; Life from Scratch (BellBridge, 2010), a novel about a blogger finding her voice after a divorce, and Navigating the Land of If (Seal Press, 2009), a guide to infertility and pregnancy loss.  She is also a section editor at BlogHer. Melissa completed her MFA at the University of Massachusetts and now lives in Washington, D.C. with her writer husband, Joshua, and their twins. You can find her on Facebook and Twitter.  Her very first book was about a squirrel, and she shamelessly copied the idea from her smarter, older sister.

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Want more WHEN DO YOU WRITE? Come back next Tuesday! For past guest writers, go here.

9 thoughts on “When Do You Write? MELISSA FORD

  1. love this!! I am forever ‘writing’ things in my mind while I do other things— and then when it is time to write it for reals…I stack them up in folder upon folder…Thanks for the links I am going to check her out!!!

    As always LOVE this series.

  2. I am too, Connie. But I need to either come up with a better way to remember them or write them down as the ideas come to me!

  3. Melissa is so prolific, so it should come as no surprise that she’s mindfully creating All. The. Time.

    Thanks for this peek into an author’s writing practices.

  4. That was very interesting to read about Melissa using blog writing as a warm up for novel writing because for me they are so different, I have to do them at completely different writing sessions. I do use the method of reading a previous page or two to get back in the flow.

  5. I do exactly what Melissa does. EVERY time I sit down to write, I do pre-writing of something else, first. It’s my way of easing my brain into it!

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