I have a thing for gross metaphors. It’s just how I roll.
If you ask my clients, I always tend to have a way of comparing writing to something a little bit disgusting.
For example, I always say that most writers are like an ouroboros.
If you’re unfamiliar with the ouroboros, it’s a snake that’s eating it’s own tail. (That’s not the gross part.)
Think about it. A lot of aspiring writers are circling, and even though the circling looks different for each of them… they’re all circling.
Tell me if this sounds familiar:
You have written character sketches. You’ve written an outline. You talk about your characters all the time. But you don’t have one chapter written for your book.
Or, it’s that:
You write down the name of your book. Then you rename it. Then it doesn’t sound right. Then you rename it again. Now it sounds… better… but not great. You come up with 6 possible titles. You decide to wait on picking one until something jumps out at you… And now it’s been a few months, and you haven’t decided yet.
Or maybe it’s that:
You have been talking about writing a book for a few months. You think you know what you want it to be about, but you’re worried it’s not the right topic. You have at least 3 book ideas, and so instead of starting one, and it being the wrong one, you decide to hold off until you know for sure which one should be first.
You’ve tried to write a few times, but man is it hard. You know you want to write a book, but you just can’t seem to write the way that you want to. Plus, all your ideas aren’t what you wish they were. You tell people, “I just can’t seem to write lately.”
No matter what… Circling and circling… and not getting anything done.
Don’t get me wrong! If scenario #1 is you, I’m happy to hear you’ve taken steps to get yourself organized and ready.
But if you’re not writing, that organization isn’t serving you.
And if you’re scenario #2, #3, or #4, let’s be honest:
Your title will likely completely change by the time you actually finish your book.
You’ll never really know if you made the perfect decision in which book to start with.
And “not writing” is not a good enough excuse. (And it is *always* an excuse.)
Here’s where I come in (with the gross metaphor!)
You’re an ouroboros, and it’s my job to get you to vomit out the tail.
(To be fair, I warned you it was going to be gross.)
Click to Tweet: Most writers are an ouroboros, and @lovelesswriting will get you to vomit out the tail. http://bit.ly/1f5sjYZ #amwriting
So if I’m talking about vomit, why did I say that writing is like blowing your nose? (Don’t worry, I’ll pause on the grossness in a just a bit.)
Imagine with me for a moment: You’re starting to get a cold.
Your nose is all stuffed up and you’re having a hard time breathing.
Answer this question:
Would you diagram all the ways you could blow your nose, cross reference them with articles on blowing your nose, but never be sure about which method to use, so you just end up sitting around stuffy?
You think that you should blow your nose. No maybe you should use a Neti Pot. Maybe you should blow your nose. No use Vick’s Vapor rub. No the Neti Pot. And then you decide to just wait it out.
And then there’s:
You talk about blowing your nose. You tell everyone you’re sick. You buy the tissues. You put them on your desk. You tell everyone that you’re going to use your tissues at your desk. But now you don’t know what to do first… organize your desk, blow your nose, or buy another box of tissues in case you run out. Hmmm… Best not to do anything until you know *for sure* which one is the best option.
Would you say, “I just can’t seem to breathe” and stop trying to blow your nose after the first two times, just because nothing came out?
NO! You wouldn’t!!!
As an aspiring writer, the best thing you can do is blow every last bit of gunk out, over and over again, until you’re writing clearly.
Click to Tweet: Aspiring writers need to blow every last bit of gunk out until they’re writing clearly | @lovelesswriting #amwriting http://bit.ly/1f5sjYZ
I know, I’m mixing metaphors. (I love to do that.)
Look, can I be honest with you?
...You’ve got some pretty terrible ideas up there in your head that are disguising themselves as really amazing ideas.
It’s ok. Really! So do I!
I’ve got some of the worst ideas on the planet.
I wrote a poem about two people trying to make snow angels…in a pile of rocks… while talking about how transcendent they were being.
I’m embarrassed about that one. Even the idea is terrible!
I wrote a fictional short story about how I was dating the two apples in my fridge, and I really couldn’t pick which one. That one was great in theory… until the apples had to talk.
But here’s the thing...
I would still be thinking that either of those ideas were gobstoppingly brilliant or totally terrible… if I hadn’t written them down.
You have to actually write your ideas before you really know if it’s they're good ideas or not.
Click to Tweet: You have to *actually* write your idea before you really know if it’s a good idea or not. @lovelesswriting http://bit.ly/1f5sjYZ #amwriting
I’ve said it a million times over, your rough draft is going to be really bad.
But that’s part of being a writer!
Even the best thing you’ll ever write, will at one time, be an idea floating in your head.
It might be an idea that you think isn’t all that great. But you write it out. Part of that idea turns into another idea, and that one has some kick to it.
You write out that idea, flesh it out, and then you’ve got something that’s ok, but not great.
You’ll give it some time, work on it again, and improve it.
A few more drafts, and it’s the piece you end up publishing.
And it could have all just been boogers in your nose, blocking out your sinuses, if you hadn’t blown out the gunk! (It’s the last time, I promise.)
Whatever happened to the bad ideas I wrote about?
The one about the rock snow angels? Dumped it for good. …Except the location. I used the quarry full of rocks for another short story.
The one about the apples? I turned it into a poem. (It’s at the bottom of this post!)
I took the terrible, gunky ideas that had been floating in my head, and I made them better.
But the first thing I had to do was write them down.
Are you circling in your non-writing steps? Are you guilty of taking more time on an idea than you are writing about the idea?
Book a discovery session with me today and let’s get you to vomit out that tail! (Ok this was the last time.)
P.S. Here’s the poem!
As I scoop through
my produce drawer,
I find my fresh Honey
Crisp apple sits
to my sad two
and a half year old
And I wonder if
feels out of place
next to his
So I pick
his juicy skin,
into the flesh –
- respectfully declining
Honey until I’m
craving something bitter-sweet.