Friday, July 17, 2015

The House That I Built

There's a house being built across the street from us. So far, all they've done is clear the wooded land so there's a nice flat spot to build the house.

The other day, I was thinking about how this cleared land is like our writing. We all start out with cleared land, or a blank sheet of paper, rather. But line by line, brick by brick, we build our "house."

Some of our homes are simple. The materials we use to build them aren't very fancy. No elaborate detailing or expensive framework, but it is a home and it serves its purpose. Just like in writing, some writing is simple in nature, straightforward, not flowery or full of descriptive language. And there's nothing wrong with that, because there are many types of homes just like there are many types of writing styles that translate into many different kinds of books.

Other homes are massive, with rounded archways and drive-through porte-cochère's. And while they are beautiful to look at (and money aside), if it's not your style, then it won't be the right house for you. Same goes with writing. If you aren't a literary writer, don't force it just to try to fit in with a trend. Write what you want to write. If it's simple but full of heart, there's an audience for you out there.

But lastly, don't skimp on your materials. Whether you're building a simple house or an elaborate house, it's all in the materials. As writers, we have so many resources available to us. We have beta readers and critique partners (have I told you lately how much I love my beta readers and CP's?); we also have books that lay out the do's and don'ts of writing; we have writing conferences to attend and writing blogs to read.

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And if that's not enough, you also have the most important thing—YOU.

When you're building your house, you know what works and what doesn't. You know what will make you happy and what won't. Get other opinions, but don't forget to rely on the most important thing. Your own creativity.

What kind of house have you built?


  1. I've build some ramshackle houses that leak when it rains and are infested with mice. I suppose I need to work on that!

  2. Loving this analogy! As for the houses I build...hmm. They tend to look pretty nondescript on the outside, but anyone who enters will discover a horrific funhouse waiting to mess with their heads. :P

  3. ooh mine's got the frame work right now and a couple of rooms, but I want the pool, the jacuzzi, and the finished basement before I'm happy with it! GREAT analogy. It totally feels like that.

  4. Such encouraging thoughts. My current project feels like a mess where rafters are randomly dropping to the floor and I question if it's going to cave in on me before I finish, but a few support beams might get me there.

  5. Lovely thoughts, Kristin! We all build different stories, and I'm so grateful! You know those housing complexes where every home looks the same? Can you imagine if we all wrote like that? Boring!

  6. i like your analogy - and that last mansion is supremely awesome! i'd love to build a masterpiece like that! but i'll settle for house number 1 =)
    and thanks for your comment at christine's about simulation!

  7. What a great analogy--plus, we don't have to write our books out in 100-degree heat!!!

  8. Gosh, I actually try not to think such thoughts;) We live in the bay area, so there's just not enough housing to go around, and you pretty much just accustom yourself to whatever you've got. But I wouldn't mind a dream house somewhere:)

  9. Great analogy. Man, I wish Jensen Ackles would tell me I'm awesome while I'm writing. Of course I wouldn't get much writing done if he were around. ;)


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