September 15, 2011

How Writing Is An Awful Lot Like Moving

So for the forty millionth time since we got together my husband and I are moving...again. We have both come to loathe the very sight of packing tape and boxes (we keep the flattened boxes when we're done - we know ourselves all too well). If I could count the times we have moved for work...well let's just say gypsies have nothing on us! This is a pretty big move too because it's to another province. The best part about this move is that my husband and I will finally be living in the same province again (we've spent the last few months in two different provinces).

Anyway, all this staring at boxes and thinking about packing got me considering the similarities between moving and the writing process:
  1. Boxes Don't Pack Themselves: I actually have to get up off my butt and do the work as much as I'd rather sit and think about packing while doing something else far more interesting. Similarly, stories don't write themselves. We have to do the work. Butt in chair and all that. Planning is important, but at some point we just need to get down to it.
  2. Sifting and Sorting Through Crap: Alternately, my favourite and least favourite part of the packing process. I am a bit of a pack rat. Back when I was using Coffee-Mate in my coffee (*gagging*), I decided that keeping the empty containers was a good idea. My thought process went a little something like this: They have to be good for something. Seriously, I carted something like 20-30 of these stupid things with me in our last move (*shaking head*). Deciding what to keep and what to part with is very similar to the revision process. While it's sometimes difficult parting with once-treasured scenes/characters/ items (*cough* Coffee-Mate containers), it is often necessary to recognize them for what they are - useless crap that needs to go. Sure the odd mistake will get swept along with the rest (like that stupid good-for-nothing exercise bike) but for the most part it all gets whittled down to what is most necessary (with a few 'wants' tucked in here and there).
  3. A Worthwhile Gamble: I crave change, but still hate moving with the fieriest of passions. In the end though, I always know that the process is worth all of the hassle. Moving somewhere new is a gamble, but it's worthwhile because with this risk comes possibility. Similarly, we put in all the work with our writing and then have to remind ourselves that no matter the outcome, it was all worth the work and the gamble. It's never a waste of our time. Live and learn...
  4. Trusting Others With Our Treasures: I can slap all the "Fragile" or "Handle With Care" stickers I want on our boxes, but ultimately I have to let go and trust that our stuff is in capable hands (hard to do, especially considering the moving day horror stories I've heard). While I have yet to do this with my writing, I recognize in advance the difficulty of sending it off and hoping for the best. And even should your story get picked up, you still hope to death it isn't demolished in the editing process (I have never heard this kind of horror story, thankfully). It's about trusting that you've done all you can for now and leaving it in the hands of the 'heavy lifters'.
Well that's it for my cheesy (cardboardy?) comparison. Now I might just go and pack something rather than just thinking and writing about it.  Sigh...

1 comment:

  1. I can't say I've ever thought of writing in terms of moving, but when you put it that way, I can definitely see the similarities! Best of luck with all the packing, etc etc, I'm sure it'll be worth it once you get there :D


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