Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Nut and Bolts, and Writing.

Last week was my husband's birthday. I really wanted to do a few nice things for him, but we don't need more 'stuff'', you know? After all, Christmas was just a couple of weeks ago.

So, instead, I decided to update some pictures around our house with the portraits we took last September. I gave it my husband and her loved it. But I still wanted to do more. We only get birthday's once a year and he deserved something nice.

We've had this small bookcase that we've been meaning to put together for a while to better organize the stuff in our coat closet. My husband is a huge fan of organized (he's cleaner than me, seriously) So I thought it would be awesome if I did it myself and surprised him when he got home.

There's instructions so it's no big deal, right? All I needed was a screwdriver and a hammer and I felt pretty confident in my skills with those. Even though I had never done it before, I had the tools a believed I would succeed.

To make a long story short, I ended up building the thing, then re-building it becasue everything was on backwards and upside-down. I thought I followed the instructions well, but no. I had to learn through trial and error too.


Since I think about writing 58% of the time, I immediately wondered what I kind of metaphor I could compare this experience to.

Then it hit me. Sometimes I'm a little too confident with the craft of writing. Sometimes I just hit the page running and when I go to edit it turns out I've put on everything wrong. Which is totally true in my case, becasue it seems like every time I write I book, I have to re-write it.

If only we had instructions we could refer to for this writing thing! But all we have are basic tip guides to help us through, and we have to experience the trial in order to make our writing stronger. Just like I know I'll get better at putting furniture together the more I try, the better writer I'll become if I just keep writing and keep editing until I find out what works for me.

It might take me a few books, and my hands might get sore, but in the end I'll be a stronger writer becasue of it.

28 comments:

Kyra Lennon said...

Oh, you're so sweet! I love that you tried to put things together for your hubby - I hope he appreciated it!

You're right, though.Writing and constructing furniture definitely have similarities!

michelle said...

That's a wonderful gesture J.A. Remember it's the thought that counts...
Perseverance and practise are the key words - both in writing and furniture building.

Congratulations on 300 followers!

Anonymous said...

Great article. Yes, first, what a sweet gesture for your husband. Like you, we seldom need more things, so I'm always looking for the meaningful gift.

I like how you related this to the craft of writing. I read, read, read so many instruction books on writing and yet still manage to put my writing together incorrectly. No matter. As you implied, do-overs with writing are completely acceptable and in fact, probably a required part of the process. Still a "put slot A into tab B" would be helpful!

ilima said...

So how did you calculate that you think about writing 58% of the time? Haha. Great analogy.

Donna K. Weaver said...

I love our analogy. My hubby is really, really good at putting things together. He was good at Geometry, too. Any surprise? Me? Not so much.

Angela V. Cook said...

Practice makes perfect! So simple and cliche, yet so true! BTW, how sweet of you to BUILD something for you hubby :) I'm happy to bake something for my husband, but building . . . eh, not so much, lol ;)

Rena said...

Yes, this. I've completely botched things in writing and had to redo them. Completely.

I hope your hubby had a good birthday.

Jessie Humphries said...

Great analogy. I am not normally good at following instructions, recipes, or the like. I kinda suck at that stuff. What does that say about my writing!? Yikes

Annalisa Crawford said...

My novels find themselves in the rewrites - I need them. I'll stay away from bookshelf building - it sounds like I'd be doing it for weeks.

Sarah said...

Sing it, Sister! This is so true and how I feel about writing too. I hate that inevitable sinking feeling I have about my books when I go back and realize I have indeed executed something completely backwards. Ugh. So hard.

But, here's too learning from our mistakes, a sure way to improve.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Hey, even with directions those are difficult to put together! Hope your husband appreciated it and had a good birthday.
I'm a slow writer, made worse by the fact I'm a perfectionist and will ponder every word and sentence before I write it. I guess that helps, because editing isn't very difficult. Not that I like being the slow writer...

Tyrean Martinson said...

Sounds like a great way to approach writing, and shelves!

Elise Fallson said...

"If only we had instructions
we could refer to for this
writing thing!" <==YES!

Sometimes when I write I think "this isn't so bad..." and then I step back, look at the big picture, reread it and I think "wow, that's terrible" and then I rewrite it.
What a great analogy and I really hope your hubby appreciated your efforts!

Peaches Ledwidge said...

When I put things together, I sometimes think about putting words together. I hope they work or fit nicely together like a fine piece of furniture.

Optimistic Existentialist said...

Very apropos analogy :)

Shell Flower said...

I love your analogy. And...LOL...putting together those "easy installations" can be such a pain. I recently sort of helped my hubby put together a desk for one of our friends and he ended up having to re-drill several of the pre-drilled holes b/c they were in the wrong place. If he wasn't there we would've never been able to get the thing together. You are brave for even trying. What a sweet wife you are!

Krista McLaughlin said...

Great analogy! I've put together a bookcase before and had to redo it. I once sewed a purse and accidentally sewed the handles inside. I had to redo it. Writing is the same way. Sometimes I'm too confident in my writing, but at other times I'm staring at the instructions and still lost.

Nicole said...

Good comparison. I just did the "shelf assembly" thing myself, and it's definitely applicable to writing too. :)

Samantha May said...

I did the same thing with a bathroom shelf once. Tools are not my thing, but I'm sure he loved that you did it!

That's a great metaphor for writing too. How often does anyone get it right on the first try, right? :D

Shannon Lawrence said...

That was a good gift! I love doing stuff like that for my hubby, but it often goes awry. I hung some pictures he was supposed to hang. Happily, they look great, but the wall behind them doesn't...

Shannon at The Warrior Muse

Tara Tyler said...

and that is the definition of perseverence! way to go! and you know yourself, too! that is important!
glad you got it done, i know he appreciated your hard work (and prob had a laugh w/you too)

Pam H (HawleyVille) said...

Hi Jennie! I could so relate to your "little too confident in writing" analogy. I am too, when I'm on a great writing stint. Then come those days where I question what the heck I thought I was doing ...

Good to stop by and catch up on your blog a bit!

Mark Noce said...

Instructions would def help with this writing 'thing' but then that would take away some of the fun and mystery too:)

Melissa Sugar said...

What a sweet thing to do. I have never been able to put anything together. I hate it when we order something that says "Some assembly" or "Minor assembly" required and when I open it , I can't follow the supposed simple to follow steps.

I get your analogy. So many authors that I respect and admire, say, "just write that first draft- get it done. Write it fast. Don't worry about what it looks like." I get the reasoning for it, but you're right, it often means a heck of a lot of revisions and editing.

Happy birthday to you and your husband. Mine is the 13th and my husband's is the 16th, so we are the same way about gifts, so soon after Christmas.

Kristin Baker said...

All I know is I'd much rather write than put together furniture! I think as writers we need to write our own instructions as we learn, and it's a never-ending process.

Misha Gericke said...

Oh yeah definitely. Every book is better for the ones that went before it.

Hope the shelf turned out okay in the end. :-D

Yolanda Renee said...

I just read, or rather tried to read Stephen King's book on writing. When it was about him and his journey it was easy reading, but as soon as it became technical -- I did what I do with everything technical, I shut down. I have to consciously make myself read and work to comprehend the words -- I've never figured out why. Am I broken or just easily bored with the 'how to' -- which bothers me immensely because I know I don't have any answers and yet the technical aspect of writing boggles my mind. DUH!
Sorry, didn't mean to ramble. I stopped by because of the healthy writers club, but will most definitely be back -- loved your piece!

L.A Speedwing said...

great analogy! Hey, you can't say you did this great thing for your husband and not tell us if he liked it! That's just mean! ;-)