Writing Process Blog Meme

Some weeks months years? time ago, Tess tagged me for a Writing Process Blog Meme.   I was flattered and told her I was happy to take part, but it might take a while.  No kidding.  Thanks so much Tess, and also for being so understanding.

Tess is a lovely friend to me and many others here in the blogosphere with her warmth, kindness and wonderful wit. She supports me greatly in my writing, not least of all in my recent foray into flash fiction.  This is a great compliment as she writes wonderfully entertaining flash fiction every Wednesday over at How the Cookie Crumbles. She also writes a fantastic series on Fridays showcasing her two-week holiday in China taken earlier in the year.  Meet Tess, if you haven’t already:

Tess KarlinskiTess Author Pic

(Tess) Teresa Karlinski lives with her cat, Lady Gaga, in Ontario, Canada. She is a grandmother and a student of life.

Although retired, she hasn’t enough time to read her overwhelming collection of new and used books.

Contact information: Teresa.Karlinski@gmail.com.

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The rules for this meme are to answer four questions about your writing method and nominate three new people.  I will introduce three accomplished and excellent writers who agreed to take part shortly, but first, here are my answers:

1.  What am I working on at the moment?

I continue to write for publications and competitions (can I share? Delighted to have two poems and a story recently published in two anthologies as well as an article accepted for the regional magazine Suffolk Norfolk Life) and I am loving exploring flash fiction.

But for the purposes of this Meme and without wishing to bleat on about it as most of you already know this, my main WIP is my as yet untitled memoir.

This story has taken me down some unexpected paths: things I didn’t think would be written have revealed themselves as vital to the story and I had to take some time out a few weeks ago to sort things out in my head before I could carry on.  Now I am ready to pull up my sleeves, put my head to the wind and finish that illusive first draft.

2.  How does my work differ from others of its genre?

As with all memoir, my work stands alone as the unique story that only I can tell, the one that I own, have nurtured, soothed, but also raged against.

3.  Why do I write what I do?

Quite simply, I write memoir because I have a burning compulsion to tell a story, to create something meaningful and truthful out of the good, the bad and the ugly and to share it with you, friends, readers, fellow humans.   Maybe even one or two aliens.   Story-telling is a powerful force that binds us together, reminding us that we are not alone.  Writing memoir helps me connect with what has happened in the past, relive it and then discover that actually I have something of value to give back. I’m not so lost after all because I have found my home in the writing of memoir.

4.  How does my writing process work?

Ahh.  The million dollar question.  This Blog Meme has proven to be the perfect opportunity for me to take a long, hard look at this and I have come to the troubling conclusion that actually, my writing process isn’t working at all.

I don’t need to remind anyone of the difficulties of balancing writing, blogging and living. With the busiest time of the year fast approaching and pressing family commitments, I have got to take action if I am to get my memoir written.  The labour pangs are now full-on contractions: this baby is coming and things are going to start getting noisy if I don’t soon deliver the goods.

To do this, I am seriously considering taking maternity leave a leave of absence from blogging during November.  I’ll be posting more on this shortly when I’ve finally decided how to go about it (I do still hope to manage to keep going with the story of Bill for those of you who are enjoying reading).  I’ll carry on for the next couple of weeks as normal, trying to write my memoir in the mornings and blog for the rest, but for now, my writing process can best be described thus: I’m doing the best I can but I need to do better.

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Now to my three nominees who so kindly agreed to take part in this Blog Meme and who will post their responses to the four questions above next Monday, November 3rd.  They will then select their three nominees who will pass on the baton and keep the Meme going.

So, with no further ado, I am delighted to introduce:

Charli Mills

Some of you will already know Charli through her wonderful Wild West history-steeped blog (Rock Creek anyone? Talk about family connections…) as well as through my flash fiction posts on Tuesdays.  You have her to thank for Bill, giving me amazing encouragement, confidence and friendship, putting up with me riding rough-shod and fancy-free through her new-to-me world of all things fiction.   From her ranch in Idaho to my small, Somerset town in England, we share many similarities, including a love of Prosecco. Cheers Charli!

Here she is:

Charli Author PicFrom riding horses to writing stories, Charli Mills is a born buckaroo wrangling words. With over two decades in freelancing, publications, sales, marketing, editing and speaking, Charli has been published in magazines, anthologies, books and online.

She moved back west to follow stories and sunsets, working on her first novels.

She writes commercial fiction, nature-lit, westerns, cli-fi, shorts, longs and flash.

She hosts a weekly flash fiction challenge with the Rough Writers at Carrot Ranch once a week.

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 Luanne Castle

Luanne is a lovely new friend who I met through our dear, mutual friend Jill and oh what chats we have.  As a fellow memoir writer, I draw on every carefully constructed word of her excellent memoir book reviews and all that she gleans from them.   Her more than generous sharing of all things memoir captivate me with me the most wonderful ‘light-bulb’ moments every single time.  Please meet Luanne:

Luanne Castle’s first book, a collection of poetry called Doll God, is being published in 2015.Luanne Author Pic

She’s also writing a memoir called Scrap about growing up over a bomb shelter and in front of the city dump.

She lives with her husband and four cats.

You can find out more about Luanne through her excellent blog  Writer Site.

 

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Last, but definitely not least, I am delighted to nominate Esther, another lovely new blogging friend.  I was thrilled to find her here on WordPress as I was already familiar with her column in Freelance Market News, a writer’s magazine with excellent tips, advice and competitions.  Here is Esther in her own words:

Esther Newton

SONY DSC‘My love affair with writing came about as a result of an accident. I couldn’t continue in my job at a bank but that accident was the best thing that’s happened to me!

I’ve now been working as a freelance writer for fifteen years, regularly writing articles and short stories for magazines and newspapers such as Freelance Market News, Writers’ Forum, The New Writer, The Guardian, Best of British, The Cat, Woman’s Weekly, The People’s Friend and My Weekly to name a few.

I have been fortunate to win a number of writing competitions and also judged writing competitions. An e-book of my prize winning short stories is out now, ‘The Siege and Other Award Winning Stories‘, with a paperback due out 15th November.

I have just finished a series of children’s books, which I’m now in the process of editing.

I love writing but equally, I enjoy helping others, which I achieve in my role as tutor for The Writers Bureau.’

Make sure to visit Esther’s wonderful blog for great writing tips, advice and hilarious funnies!

 

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That’s it!  Thank you so much again to Charli, Luanne and Esther for taking part and to Tess for nominating me. I can’t wait to read your posts next week.

Have a great week everyone and as always, thanks so much for the read 🙂

About Sherri Matthews

Sherri has been writing full time since 2011. Currently working on her memoir, 'Stranger in a White Dress', she has been published in a variety of national magazines, websites and three anthologies. Sherri raised her three, now adult children, in California for twenty years and today, lives in England’s West Country with her hubby, Aspie youngest, two cats, a grumpy bunny and a family of Chinese Button Quails. She keeps out of mischief blogging, gardening, walking by the sea and snapping endless photographs. Her garden robin muse vists regularly.
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45 Responses to Writing Process Blog Meme

  1. Denise says:

    I think over our life cycle as bloggers, we come to a point where we realise we have to balance writing and blogging. Blogging should feed the writing. I’m considering resigning myself to the fact that when I get into term time, I have to become selective about my blogging commitment. It’s a very honest step for you to take to admit that and you have my every support!

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      Blogging definitely brings with it an ebb and flow, seasons and times for reflection and sometimes change, no doubt about it. I absolutely love blogging, I love sharing writing and photographs, the challenges, the creative opportunities, and yes, the way it feeds into the writing, and most of all I love my community here. I don’t honestly know how I’ll handle it, I’m really worried I’ll miss everyone too much, so I’ve got to figure it all out, but I also really want to be in the editing stage of my book by the end of the year. The only reason I feel I want to get this done now is because I feel a sense of urgency, in that I’ve got this flow going on right now, in the zone I guess is the best way to describe it but I have to keep pulling away for so many other things. Blogging is just one of them. It may be I’ll blog once a week or maybe fortnightly temporarily but knowing that whatever I do, knowing I have your support helps greatly Denise, thank you so much for that. I take it you are on half term now? I hope you too can settle into your groove when the time comes 🙂

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      • Denise says:

        Yes I’m onhalf term! It makes such a difference.

        You can always come back to blogging, but if the flow is there, it must be caught. Like a surfing wave! Not that I’ve ever been surfing.

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      • Sherri says:

        Yes it will only be temporary anyway and hopefully not for too long. I know It will give me the push I need… You can think of me hunkered down in my summerhouse 😉 Haha…I’m not a surfer either but I’ve got to keep that wave rolling…or on top of the wave…or whatever it is that surfers say. Enjoy half term with your L.D’s… 🙂

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  2. First of all, Sherri, you mention reasons for story-telling. I think I can add one. All of us have to let people know we were here. (To leave something behind, after we are gone.) I never thought of writing as a way to connect with people but you are right. This blogging illustrates that. Secondly, Luanne is the only writer of the three you mentioned, whom I know. (Through Jill also) I could not agree more with what you say about her. She is very gifted. It is very hard to get poetry published now.
    Congrats to you for that as well! Hollis x

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    • Sherri says:

      A great point that Hollis, yes. Once something is written down and then left behind for others, there is no going back that’s for sure. When I started writing on my blog I had no idea of the connections I would find here, especially when I started writing about things like my dad’s alcoholism and my daughter’s struggles with Asperger’s Sydrome. I continue to be amazed at the generosity of spirit shown here and yes, the depth of the shared experiences. It is a wonderful thing. Luanne is very gifted, I was so happy for her with her upcoming poetry publication. You are very kind Hollis, thank you so much for your lovely comment 🙂 xo

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  3. “Maternity Leave”…you crack me up, Sherri! Thank you for the introduction to all of these wonderful ladies. Of course, I know Luanne and I’m so happy you two have connected. You do have a great deal in common. She has contributed to my Kindle exploding with memoirs, thanks to all of her wonderful reviews.
    As far as blogging, I completely understand where you’re coming from. It can eat into your free time that would otherwise be designated for writing. Working full-time, family commitments, studying, exercising and writing keeps me busy, but I’ve found that posting once a week works well for me. Some people can get away with posting every day, but I have a hard time keeping up with the reading on those blogs and have dropped a few.
    Good luck with whatever you decide…we always have e-mail. 🙂 xo

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    • Sherri says:

      Haha…well, you know what it’s like Jill when the ‘time’ comes…no good denying it 🙂 Yes, and I actually meant to say to Hollis in my reply to her, that it is also through that she and I met. All thanks to your wonderful Summer Spotlight, so you see, your blogging legacy carries on in these extended friendships 🙂 I am just now starting to load up my new Kindle with those memoirs too. Her reviews are amazing. You are a very busy lady and I’m glad you found what works for you. I’ve thought about posting once a week too for some time but I just love the challenges and can’t stop! I enjoy them so much but that doesn’t get my book written 😉 Once I’ve got the first draft written, because I do feel I’m really ready to go with the flow for the meat of the story, then I’ll be able to get back to them I hope. I don’t know yet how much time I’ll be away nor how much I’ll post if any, but I will still be checking in on you and my other favourite blogs…you can’t escape from me that easily…and yes, there is always email too…thanks Jill 🙂 xo

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Heyjude says:

    Well I for one will miss you if you do take a leave of absence, but needs must and all that, and since I shall be away myself until just before Christmas maybe I won’t miss you THAT much 😕

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    • Sherri says:

      Ahh…thanks Jude. But I will still be stopping by to check up on you and maybe post here and there. It won’t be for long, just so I can go with this, strike while the iron is hot so to speak. Although it looks as we both might be ‘away’ the same time. We’ll have to catc up before Christmas and I’ll be checking in on you anyway. But I’ll still be here for a little while yet… 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  5. jennypellett says:

    Well, as always I wish you well with your writing, Sherri – you are a busy little bee and a modest one – it’s the first I heard about your poems being published – well done you!
    As for blogging – it is addictive, it’s why we all do it, I guess, but I have to say that I’m with Jill on dropping blogs that post too often. I’ve slackened off a bit, as I want to pursue other things, and what with writing my own posts and keeping up with my favourite bloggers, it could easily take over my life, and I do like doing other things too! I’ve also met Luanne through Jill so thanks for introducing the other two, I will check ’em out later. As always, good luck with the writing!

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    • Sherri says:

      Ahh…thanks very much Jenny…and I love that….’busy little bee’ 😉 Blogging is definitely addictive and I love it, I do get a lot out of the challenges, the creativity that lends itself to the different outlets which, as Denise rightly said, does feed the writing, but there does need to be a balance. I’m glad I made this decision as it helps me focus on the next stage of the game plan without that awful feeling of ‘oh no, how on earth am I going to manage all that?’ As with you, I’ll still be checking in with my favourite bloggers too, which of course includes you, and maybe posting here and there and it’s temporary anyway. Then I will reevaluate things. I appreciate your support as always very much…and I hope too for you that you are able to achieve all the things you want to do without the pressure 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Good luck with finishing your memoir draft Sherri!

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  7. Amy says:

    Congratulations to your publications and e-book! What an achievement. Hope you will stay, Sherri. I’m being selfish…

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  8. Thank you for the big shout out and for resuscitating this meme. Every writer’s process is unique but always interesting. Along the way I have emulated some wonderful methods to see if they might help me and continue to learn better ways to get the job done.
    Good luck with your new ‘schedule’. More power to YOU. Having a plan and sticking to it helps one focus on the immediate.
    I’ve been considering stepping back in the new year as I strive to get more writing time into my day as well. Until I accepted this meme, I had no ‘process’ but by accepting this challenge and writing what I do and when, I saw the whole picture with all its holes and this has helped improve my daily schedule. I see again I need more tightening up. Good luck. Can’t wait to read the memoir. 🙂

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    • Sherri says:

      Haha…resuscitation…love it! You are so very welcome Tess. I probably should have shared more about my actual writing process but I did link to my previous post in which I shared more about it, at least how I would like things to be in an ideal world :/ But it just seemed that I needed to put something more tangible in place now. As you well know, I’ve struggled for a long time with this but I’ve been humming along – until the point came to say, ‘whoa…time to change direction’ albeit temporarily. That’s great that this meme helped you in this way too. I think it forces us to stop and take a good look at the goals we want to achieve and then ask the question, ‘Okay, but how are we going to get there?’ Sometimes the time just seems right. I’ve not put a deadline on the writing of my memoir before but I can see now that I need to, at least for the first draft, as I need the discipline and that goal to shoot for. I’m at a part of my book that goes hand in hand with this self-imposed ‘stop yabbering and get with it girl or you’ll never get it written’ new regime. Thanks so much again Tess for inviting me and for your amazing ongoing support of my memoir. All the best with your new schedule too, really hope that it gets you where you want to be 🙂

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      • I’m always learning and open to learning, By putting words to paper I saw a pattern, a picture of my day and have improved my timetable but still have a way to go. I have actually schedule in READING. 😀 😀 😀

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      • Sherri says:

        Yes, it’s so good to keep learning but most importantly, to be open to it as you are. Wonderful that you have scheduled in reading time…I’m starting to do the same now that I have my Kindle 🙂 😛 😉

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  9. Charli Mills says:

    Sherri, thank you for including me in this meme. I’m going to take a few liberties to keep it all in balance for me and I hope you like the result. Bottom line is, thank you from the bottom of my heart! I appreciate your writing as a Rough Writer and I understand the seasons of writing that entwines with our lives, as well. Process is a big thing; probably the biggest thing when it comes to writing. Asking a writer about process is akin to asking a live person, what’s your process for living? Feed and nurture your writing soul! Thank you for including me in good writing company!

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    • Sherri says:

      You are very welcome Charli, and once again, thank you so much for taking part. I’m really looking forward to your post, liberties or not 😉 As I’ve said before, I’m honoured to be one of your Rough Writer…always got my boots and hat ready for the ride, excited about charging off into new horizons. As I said to Tess, I probably should have shared more about my actual writing process, but what you say here really does put it into a deeper perspective, in writing and in life. I’ve never set a deadline for my memoir before but I am at a part in the book that is calling out to me the loudest yet and because of the way my process works for me I know the time is right to do this. This is the right season and I’m going to go with it. But Bill is very much alive, as are so many other projects, and so I won’t be going far! And it won’t be for too long. See you back at the ranch 🙂

      Like

  10. bulldog says:

    Such an interesting post… as for your writing future …taking the month of November off to write…?? I could never have taken time off when I wrote my book… I needed the blogging to keep my mind on track… it helped when the dreaded blanks made their appearance, as well as when blogging, it seemed to stimulate the memories of old that I needed to regurgitate from the buried catacombs of my mind…
    What I do, and still do find difficult, is the reading and rereading of the final product… wow now that is painful… I force myself to sit and read, hell then I find my eyes closing and I’m not even sure what I’ve read and have to return to the start again… this to me is the hell of writing… I’ve rather palmed it out to a few of the family to help with this…. they come back with screams of delight of the story and when I ask what errors they found they say none, yet I know not all is right…. oh well, I’ll just have to soldier on myself…

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      Well Bulldog, don’t worry, I say the month but I actually doubt it will be that long. The thing is, I totally agree with you. I love blogging, sharing, the great company and up until now I have found just the same as you – I need to come up for air after immersing myself in my memoir world and feed the creative juices, keep the writing flowing. You know I’ve shared here my struggles from time to time but this is the first time that I’ve come to the part of my first draft where I am now ready to let the rest out. I know I need to do that without coming up for air this time. It might not even take me as long as I think but if I can just focus on this part of the memoir process now, I know I will come out the other end the better for it. I need this deadline, this discipline or I will drift and 6 monthson I’ll still be plodding along and I don’t want to lose the flow. I have this sense of urgency, in that I’ve waited so long to write this story (over 30 years) but I can’t contain it any longer at this pace. I needed this time to write up until this point of the book and now I’m going to take a different turn, but only for a very short while. I will still be checking in anyway and posting here and there (and I will definitely keep the story going with Bill,on Tuesdays so you better keep reading!!!!)
      Ahh…you are at crunch time. I haven’t written my book yet but just on a smaller level I’ve experienced exactly what you are going through now, even when others say it is just right, nothing else is needed, yet you just know that it isn’t quite what you want it to be…therein lies a huge challenge. We have to ask ourselves at what point are we ready to leave it as it is, let it go, ready to part with it and send it out to the world. I do understand Bulldog and I know I’m going to be facing this very same issue. Writing is wonderful but who ever said it was easy? Talk about digging down deep… thanks for sharing your thoughts here, I really appreciate it. And don’t worry, you won’t be getting rid of me that easily… 😉

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  11. Ste J says:

    It’s great to know that you are having your words published, you are an excellent writer and I do love your style. Taking time off to write will be a loss to WP for a bit but I’m glad you will be around for a little longer because I couldn’t go cold turkey from today.

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      Ahh…you are so kind Ste, really means a lot that. When I feel down about my writing I will remember your wonderful words. I won’t be away too long, and I’m already thinking I might not be able to leave blogging. Maybe for a week, or two at a stretch. I’ll need to be dried out and miss everyone too much! Cold turkey is no good for anyone… 😮

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  12. Thanks for Sherri where you are with your writing Sherri, glad to hear you’re going to knuckle down and get that first draft done 🙂 Waiting with bated breath to read it!

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  13. I so enjoyed reading this and being introduced to other bloggers. I’m a fan of paddling downstream. Like so many, I have a full life of other things going on and could not find the energy to blog everyday. I took some weeks off when I moved house. May have to take a bit more to help my son get his moved. You can always have someone take a photo of you slaving over your book and make that your post. Call it still on pause. Your birthing analogy is perfect. I’m looking forward to reading your memoir. I have played with the idea of writing one as well but not quite sure yet. How to make the awful parts not so awful. Till you are done, we must all be patient. I know it will be worth the wait. Hugs.

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      Wonderful bloggers here Marlene, I can guarantee you will really enjoy their blogs. I love your idea of posting a photo of me slaving over my book, haha! You make me smile with that. There are indeed ways to keep blogging without stressing over it. I do love blogging though and the creativity that flows from it is wonderful. It feeds the writing. But of course it is the community, the friendship here that is the most wonderful. I won’t be away too long I hope. We all just do the best we can don’t we? You are so kind, I can’t say enough what it means to have your support and encouragement. Thanks so much Marlene and hugs right back to you 🙂

      Like

  14. Great post Sherri. Word press did a post this week about getting your priorities right. It hit home with me and I meant to share it (I so rarely read their posts and assume most other people don’t either). It said that the most important thing was writing your book. Blogging must take a back seat. See if you can find it because it was a good article. Get that book written – can’t wait to read it. Thank you too for the introduction to the other writers. I know Charli of course but will go meet the others. And big congratulations on all your publications. Well done. 🙂

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      Thanks so much Irene for sharing this with me (and for the congrats, very sweet of you). This is so interesting and actually I’ve been coming across articles lately that advocate the very same thing. This is just one more confirmation of that and I will try to find the WP article. I will get that book written my friend, you can count on it although I’m now thinking I won’t need to take so much time off, we’ll see. I’ll miss blogging far too much, addict that I am 😉 You inspire me to do keep writing (and again, I’m so, so happy for you, would love to bend your ear sometime on how you plan to go about your marketing etc.). Have fun over at the other blogs, you’ll enjoy them 🙂 ❤

      Like

  15. restlessjo says:

    Hit the panic button there for a minute, Sherri, but then when I realised ‘only a month’ I breathed again. 🙂 Do it, girl! You know you need to. 🙂 🙂 Hugs!

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      Ahh…you always make me smile Jo 🙂 I’m hoping it won’t be that long, a month seems a very long time away from blogging and I don’t think I can cope! But even a week or two will make a difference. I won’t be far away and not yet… but thanks so much for your support…hugs right back to ya 🙂 😀

      Like

  16. Luanne says:

    Thank you so much, Sherri, for including me here and for your friendship and always generous observations and sharings. I love that we are on this memoir journey together! I hope to post about my process and introduce some other bloggers soon!

    Like

    • Sherri says:

      Ahh…you are so very welcome Luanne, it is my pleasure and thank YOU for taking part. As I emailed you earlier, please don’t worry about your post, believe me I know what it’s like and you are one busy lady right now 😉 I too love being on our memoir journey together, I LOVE all that I am learning from you. See you soon my friend 🙂

      Like

  17. Marie Keates says:

    Good luck with your memoirs 🙂

    Like

  18. Loved to see your answers, Sherri. Very interesting to know more about you and your writing 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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