Unfinished Business And Other Things …by Susan Lute

Drum roll please! The winner from last week’s pick a title is…Mandy Eve Barnett. Yay! Mandy, send an email to susan at susanlute dot come (in the usual format) and I’ll make sure you get your gift certificate. Oh, and the title? The Broken Road. Thanks everyone for participating in my title madness.

Over this last weekend – or eighteen years really – but particularly the last week, the Mr. and I have been working seriously on the house remodel. Normally this would be my cue to blog something like… writing a book is like remodeling a house, and then I’d show you all the ways that was true. And the truth is, writing a book is like remodeling a house.

Instead, over our coffee and tea this morning, I’d like to discuss what writing isn’t like, at least for me. It’s not like growing flowers, where you plant the seeds, feed and water the little cherubs, then stand back and wait for them to sprout, and in another few months burst into flaming color. With writing you can’t stand back and wait for awesomeness to happen. You have to participate and actively pursue it. How interesting is it that the more you write the more awesome your writing becomes.

Writing is not like painting a room. It is true, you pick out the perfect shade of green – Mossy Rock, you gather painting supplies, and then you paint the room. When you’re done, all that’s left is to stand back and admire your handiwork. I don’t know any writer who chooses his/her characters, the place where the story is going to unfold; who writes the first draft, then stands back and says, fabulous! Revising is the life blood of a great writer.

And, writing isn’t like reading. Reading uses different muscles. We just had this discussion at our last writer’s meeting. Writers are the most critical readers in the world. When we craft our stories, we’re minutely involved with every detail. That bleeds over into our reading experience. On the rare occasion when we can take off our editing hat in a take-me-away-Calgon moment, and escape into the new world beckoning us from the page, I’m absolute certain we think, life is so good.

Life is good, anyway, but there you have it. Reading is reading. Painting a room is painting a room. Growing flowers is…all right, a major thrill. Writing is like remodeling a house.

Today the Mr. and I are celebrating a major anniversary, so we’re taking a few days away from the house remodel and spending a night at The Benson, a historic hotel built in 1913. We’ll walk Tom McCall Waterfront Park, have dinner, nab a Starbucks, take in a move, and make our own Calgon moment.

Until next week, what thing, or experience, is nothing like writing, or reading for that matter, for you?

About Susan

Author, wife, mother, sister, daughter, friend, dreamer.

Posted on August 20, 2012, in General and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

  1. Happy Anniversary! It sounded romantic. I love The Benson.

    I also loved this blog. Remodeling a house and writing is a great analogy. Both are painful. Both yield a sense of accomplishment and, at least for awhile, a sense of happiness and comfort that it’s finally done. Then you look around and say. Oh darn, I wish I had thought of that earlier. Oh well, in the next remodel (book I write) I’ll include it.

    I have built two new houses and remodeled two houses. I have to say both approaches have its pros and cons. With writing you have to build and remodel immediately after. No wonder I’m happy when I send it off.


  2. Happy Anniversary!

    Also, writing is nothing like taking a nap.


  3. Happy anniversary! Glad you and your hubby are taking the time to celebrate!


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