I have a love/hate relationship with writing. That’s probably why I’ve put off really knuckling down and getting back to “serious” work for so many years. My husband will probably tell you that I have a love/hate relationship with just about everything that’s important to me in life. Why should writing be any different?
There’s no end to the satisfaction I get when I can communicate an idea, or bring a past moment to life for someone else to experience and enjoy. When it goes right, it’s a thing of beauty. Unfortunately, there is so much more to the process that is tedious, frustrating, or outright BORING!
I often daydream how nice it would be to sit down at my computer and begin spinning a wonderful story from start to finish and have it end up completely brilliant the first time through. It only works that way in movies and books. The process of writing isn’t too far removed from sewing, or any other construction process for that matter.
First you start out with an idea of what you want to produce. That’s the LOVE part: coming up with ideas! That’s when the tedium begins. Once you have your brilliant idea, you have to plan how to bring it from your mind to the table where everyone can enjoy it. The HATE part starts there. I’m a perfectionist. I also hate duplicating effort.
After the idea, you need a plan. You can’t have a finished product without a pattern to follow. You have to figure out your materials, your notions, the trim work. You have to lay it out, place the pattern pieces. Cut them out. If you’re really doing it right you try it out in muslin first so you can fit it and adjust the pattern for fit without risking your material. This is where the outline and the summary come in. Does the story work?
The actual WRITING part of writing, much like the sewing part of sewing, is a very small part of the process. The problem here is that this part of the work looks like so much loafing and work-avoidance. That illusion isn’t helped by the fact that when you run into a dead end in your plot, you actually do tend to loaf and avoid work while the snarl works itself out in your subconscious. At least, that’s what I tell myself.
In theory, if you do all the right prep work, whatever your project is will write itself… right? WRONG! Make no mistake, writing is a lonely, masochistic life of self-denial and self-flagellation. If you’re lucky (and talented) you *might* be able to make a paltry living at it.
For some reason, it’s easier for me to enjoy the process of sewing much more than I enjoy the process of writing preparation. I suppose it’s because I don’t feel the need to reinvent the wheel when sewing.
Writing is most likely going to take over the topic of my blogs more and more as I sink deeper into the morass of a writer’s life and writer’s habits. The more I look at its impact on my life, I wonder if writing is more of an addiction than anything else. I walked away for more than a decade and actually lived my life and didn’t think about stories and plot and pacing… much. But I can see the shift already.
My world is changing again and I already miss my non-writer days. My Chick-Fil-A compatriots are all finding gainful employment now that our children are no longer babies or toddlers, but preschoolers and older. We have less time to sit and be commiserating moms. It’s only natural that we go back to what we all know. They are teaching — and I – like it or not, I have come full circle. I am writing again.