04 February 2009

Writing is like painting

If you've been reading my posts, you know that I've set several goals for myself. One of them was to get two manuscripts to my editor by March 1. I'm halfway there, but along the way I realized that writing is a lot like painting.

I love to paint. I think its a great, inexpensive way to brighten your home. Plus, I just like it. For me, painting starts with an idea. Usually the idea is that the walls look horrible, but hey, its an idea. Then I have to decide what color to paint. This is kind of like trying to figure out what the plot of the book is going to be. Maybe not the whole plot but a rough idea of where I want to start and what its going to look like at the end.
When the paint is bought, then the fun begins. Its time to tear the room down. Things are under cover, the tarp is spread on the floor and maybe you've taped all the molding (I'm not a taper. I prefer to paint free hand). Its exciting, thinking you'll have a fresh new room when this is all done.

And then you get into it and you realize its not as easy as you thought.

Just like writing. I get my idea, I start to write and suddenly things go wrong. My characters aren't acting the way I want them to, going off on tagents, basically being the bad boys and girls I created them to be. And I'm looking at this work in progress thinking what a mess! Why did I want to do this? Why did I think throwing these two together would be a good idea? I. Am. Never. Doing. This. Again.

And here I am looking at my self-imposed deadline and I just know I'm not going to make it. I don't even have the first coat on and really, I'm not sure I like the paint color. What I really want to do is throw the paintbrush (or computer) across the room and watch TV.

And then suddenly it all starts working out. My hero and heroine suddenly decide to listen to me. The second coat goes on and WOW it really does look good.

This was me yesterday. Finishing up my story. Pulling the tape off the windows, the covers off the furniture. And before I knew it, I had a completed story, just when I thought nothing would come together.

What a relief.

Tomorrow I'm off to pick a paint color for the bathroom. Anyone want to join me?

PS - I just found out that my romantic suspense, Redemption, has been nominated for the 2008 Best Book award at LASR. If you think it deserves the honor, vote for Redemption here!

Also, a few weeks ago I found out that Deception was awarded Best Book of 2008 at eCataromance!!!!


Vickie said...

Wonderful analogy!
I love what paint does for the house. We do the choosing of several colors, swatch them on the wall of the room we are doing and see what happens. What the sun will do, time of day, if we can live with a color called Cargo Pants or White Raisin. Then we choose and call our painting team. This trio of awesome women can get more stuff done in three days than we ever could in a month. And no spills, splashes, drips or over paint onto the ceiling. And we get to enjoy the after effects. I love color and what it does to change the mood of our home. And the look on visitors' faces when they see what we've done. Then they hire our painters and get to have the color choosing fun.
Congratulations on the nomination.

Karin said...

That is a fantastic analogy. The creative process is definitely similar, and I know I felt that way a few times when I was re-painting my room, which looks fabulous now.

Congratulations on the nomination! :)

Jean Marie Ward said...

Congratulations on the awards and nominations {{{{Sharon}}}}}! Three cheers! Jean Marie

Carolan Ivey said...

Congrats on the awards, dearest!

I love this analogy. It came as a complete surprise to me when I learned several years ago that even the great master painters felt free to just slap a coat of white paint on a failed idea and start fresh! They never would have known if the idea worked or not if they hadn't tried. Even more important, they knew when it was time to let go and start over. :) Somehow I found that very encouraging in my own work - helped me let go of my need for first-draft perfection. :)