Thursday, April 7, 2011

Similes for Writing: Writing is like making coffee with a Keurig?

This morning, still bleary-eyed, I made myself breakfast and handed out treats to our six cats. During this process, I thought of a brilliant simile for the writing process.  But now, frustratingly, I can't recall what it was.

A few things to note: 1) Breakfast is a rather simple affair of two slices of wheat toast, buttered, a container of yogurt and a large cup of coffee -- a blend amusingly called Dark Magic -- that I make with my Keurig. 2) Our two youngest are skittish ex-feral cats that were abandoned by their mother and one of our cats is an old grumpy-lumpy that prefers to live in our library where she pretends she is an only cat.  So feeding all six at once is a rarity. 3) While making breakfast I noted that I need to do the dishes and take out the trash today.

I've tried to finish each of these sentences:

  • Writing is like making toast...
  • Writing is like giving treats to six cats...
  • Writing is like yogurt...
  • Writing is like doing dishes...
  • Writing is like taking out the trash...
  • Writing is like making coffee with a Keurig...

Okay, I'm really hoping it's not the last one.  I love my Keurig like no woman should love something that plugs into the wall, but it would hardly be a universal statement of truth, would it?

None of my sentences went anywhere particularly brilliant.  So then I went searching on the interwebs for other writing similes.  And there are some doozies!  Please allow me to share:
  1. Writing is Like Lemons. "You might just think writing is like broccoli. Actually, if you think about it, writing is just like lemons." (Note: Reading the article, I think she's actually arguing that writing is like lemonade.)
  2. How Writing is Like Yoga. "You will feel more confident and flexible if you incorporate it as a daily practice."
  3. The staff at the Writing Center at UNC Chapel Hill each including a writing simile in their bios.  Bob says, "Writing is like a first kiss. The prospect creates a palpable anxiety that tightens the chest and inspires impatience." 
  4. Chang-rae Lee posits that writing a novel is like spelunking in this interview with The Atlantic. "You kind of create the right path for yourself. But, boy, are there so many points at which you think, absolutely, I'm going down the wrong hole here. And I can't get back to the right hole."
  5. I've seen Moliere and Virginia Wolff both credited with saying, "Writing is like prostitution. First you do it for love, and then for a few close friends, and then for money.”
  6. Writing is like volleyball. (Note: or maybe any team sport with a coach?) "Sometimes you do something brilliant. Other times, you suck eggs. If you don’t have someone who will be brutally honest and tell you these things, both the good and the bad, then you’ll never really grow as a writer."
  7. Stephen King says writing is like sex. "...the best advice is to relax and let nature take her course."
  8. How writing is like knitting -- and why that matters. "Knitters can get weepy or homicidal if they realize they've been doing a project wrong since the beginning and it must be frogged and started over; the same is true of writers (and they are both dangerous, since both crafts involve pointy implements)." 
  9. How Writing is Like Running. "I rarely look forward to either.  But I’m always happy once I’ve started, and even happier when I’ve finished. "
  10. Writing is like breathing, but not in a good way. "Somehow, becoming acutely aware of the intricate details of breathing has made me over-think it to the point that I am frozen. The same thing happens with my writing all the time."
Come to think of it, maybe my writing is like making coffee with a Keurig.  I can put my delicious little Dark Magic K-cup in and press the glowing blue buttons all I want, but nothing will happen if I don't first invest the time to fill the reservoir with water.  I better go fill it up and stop messing around with my blog....

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