Thursday, May 20, 2010

Why Home Decorating is Like Writing, Part One

I have a confession: I have another hobby.

I know. It seems totally impossible that someone with no time to sleep actually has time to consider doing something aside from writing in the few waking moments that she has, but, what can I say. I like to torture myself. Anyway, lately I've been getting into decorating and renovating my house. Since I'm on a serious budget (and I mean serious) all of my "new" decor is really stuff I find in thrift stores or consignment shops and fix up to display in my house. And every time I go through the process, I can't help but be reminded of the writing process.

Take, for example, the lamp I recently found at my local Salvation Army. I'd been looking for a good lamp for weeks, ever since I refurbished an adorable end table and decided it needed a lamp to sit on top of it. I wanted one with a nice, interesting shape, but also one that wasn't totally huge. Finally on my third weekly visit to the store, I found the perfect lamp. It was just like searching for the perfect idea for your next novel - I didn't know what I was looking for, in particular, but as soon as I saw it I knew it was the one.

I really wish I'd taken a before picture, because this thing was pretty hideous. Much like the first draft of a WIP, it had great bones, but it was speckled with awful brown spots, almost sponge-painted on. Just terrible, classic thrift-store tacky. But after some primer, a can of yellow spray paint, and an incredibly adorable (and possibly too girly for my husband's tastes) shade from Ikea, I transformed my thrift store find into this:

It's so cute I want to die a little.  And it just took a little bit of revision, and the ability to look beyond the hot mess of what the lamp was and see what it could be. (If that doesn't remind you of the writing process, I don't know what does.)

But then, as I was putting the final touches (literally, the very last spray) on my lamp, disaster struck. I got a little overzealous, came a bit too close with the paint can and bam! Drip city. Oh noes! What to do? Hm...what would a writer do when there's a plot problem that seems a little bumpy? Research! So I did a Google search for "Removing spray paint runs" and found some useful information. Since my runs currently look like this:

It's obvious I have a little more sanding, then some painting to do before I can finally display my lamp for all the world to see. But if writing's taught me anything, it's that revisions are a long and painful process, so waiting a week to show off my adorable lamp hardly seems difficult.

The best part about doing all these little paint jobs (including a totally botched dresser and nightstand set, which may make up part two of this post) is that painting really lets me clear my head and think - and whenever I'm thinking, my brain always turns to my WIP. Some of my best ideas have come to me while I'm refurbishing something, or browsing the aisles of the thrift store. So even if this new decorating craze has taken some time away from my writing here and there, in a way it's also helped me connect to it again. 

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