Friday, February 4, 2011

Story under construction

I'm a little late in my regular Monday posting, but we've been doing some renos around here, and it's been a bit of a time/energy suck. Right now I'm staring at my disaster of a kitchen/dining room. We're doing the countertops, so I've got stuff all over the place. Fortunately, we've got twelve kitchen chairs - many of which are now lining the walls as a makeshift countertop to house the microwave, toaster, knife blocks, etc.

After slogging through an exhaustive amount of work in the kitchen yesterday, I woke up this morning and noticed that part of the island wasn't doing what it was supposed to. It looked great when we finished it (late) last night, but now there's a problem. It's fixable, thank goodness, but it's going to delay things by a good day. When I'm already looking at a week without counter space, an extra day can seem like an eternity. In the grand scheme of things, however, it's not. It's only one more day, and I'm sure we'll manage just fine.

Writing is just like that, isn't it? You'll write something brilliant one day, and when you go back the next, you see all of the flaws and how it just didn't quite work out the way you thought. Also, the story always seems to get worse before it gets better. You sometimes have to set things aside while you fix it up, and then when you finally replace everything it looks marvellous.

It can be a little frustrating when your story is a bit of a mess, but you really just have to have faith in the finished product. This often requires every last ounce of optimism that we can scrape together. Last night, I was looking around the kitchen and commenting on how nice it was going to look once everything was finished. My husband, ever the "half glass empty" kind of fellow, said "I sure hope so" in a tone that implied he was unsure it would be worth it. I think this is part of the reason why he doesn't enjoy renos as much as I do. He's just never sure the effort is going to pay off, whereas thanks to my delusion ability to visualize, I love the process almost as much as the result .

As writers, we need to have the ability to see the end from the beginning (at least a little bit) or else writing can become very unpleasant. It sort of defeats the whole purpose of creating something. I don't begin something in the hopes that I'm going to fail! In this vein, I don't look at the messy middle and think it's not going to be worth it. On the contrary, I dig in and use that vision of the end product to propel me forward until I've fixed what needs to be fixed and made it as beautiful as I possibly can.

And that is what keeps me renovating writing writovating.



Trisha Leaver said...

Thanks. . . I needed this post today. I hacked up a completed ms of mine and have been tying to figure out how to put it back together, wondering if it was even worth it. Now I know it is, just had to visualize where I wanted it to end.

Jen Daiker said...

I write fast in hopes to avoid the declining moments while working with my story. That being said when I'm finished with my rough draft I'll squee, be excited, celebrate. Then comes the aftermath. I'll think it sucks, it's awful, it lacks everything.

Writing truly is a battle but those happy moments outweigh everything else.

Melanie Jacobson said...

I always know that if I can make it through the "sagging middle" that things will be okay. But oh, man . . . do I HATE the middle.

Natalie said...

It always feels a bit like renovating when I revise! There are bits of story thrown every which way and I have no idea if they'll ever come together and look decent. Good luck to you with the kitchen and the revision!

Michelle Teacress said...

So without all that counter space, have you guys been eating out a lot? Impressive that you can do the renovations yourself. Good luck. :)