On how you write and how you livePosted: March 14, 2013 Filed under: On me | Tags: editing, writing 7 Comments
I like my books like I like my home: tidy, not too cluttered, and functional.
Over the past two weeks, as my regular reader will know, I’ve been getting my house ready to sell. That has involved packing away an inordinate amount of things we don’t use every day: toys (not all of them—I’m not that mean); ornaments; some pictures. And there has been cleaning. Lots and lots of cleaning. Oh, and weeding. Sweeping. Removing cobwebs.
Anyway, not to bore you with house stuff (“Too late,” she cried!), now that I’m living in this de‑cluttered house, it occurred to me that, while I like the space to move and how tidy it is, it does seem a little … sterile, without the detritus of life kicking around. Like living in an open home, which I guess I pretty much am till the house sells.
And then, because I’m a book-obsessed freak, it occurred to me that I like the prose in the books I read to be of a similar style to the environment I live in. Friendly but not overbearing. Decorative but not overly lush (or the writing equivalent of an episode of Hoarders). Functional but not Spartan. Working correctly. Always working correctly.
I’d like to imagine that’s how I write too, but I’ve learned that’s not the case. My original drafts are much messier. But that’s where editing comes in: it’s the dusting, vacuuming and weeding of the writing world.
The difference is that, to me at least, editing is fun! I will never EVER feel the same way about mopping.
This is Cassandra Page, signing off before I drive this metaphor any further into the ground… :p
I think editing is fun, too. 🙂 That is, once you *get* to the editing stage. I suppose I do find some kinds of cleaning fun, too. 🙂
I’ve grown not to despise weeding (so long as the garden is sort-of under control). But I wouldn’t say I like it!
I suspect my writing style is completely different to my living style. My home is uncluttered and pretty neat and I can’t stand a messy environment. But my writing style tends to shoot off into wild tangents and get tangled in metaphors and sprawl out in increasingly disconnected and off-the-cuff ideas before circling back in and wondering what the hell happened.
Maybe it’s that I like a nice clean functional base with to shoot off on my flights of fancy from? Actually, that kind of works…
That does work, actually. And I LOVE the way you described your writing. It made me smile!
This is such a fascinating thought! I think there is a connection for me too. My house is sparse, and my writing is … mostly sparse. Not as clean and straightforward as some, but not super cluttered either.
The process? Mess!
Clean and straightforward houses require a lot of work, I think. I don’t know if the same is true of very pared-back writing styles.
Thanks for giving me a good chuckle, Cassandra. I’m a keep-it-simple person, both in the house and in my writing. I hadn’t thought of the parallel before. I’m like you in that I love editing – housecleaning not so much. Carole