It may not seem so, but in their early days of writing, all writers were builders.
Much as we might like to believe someone could slap down a suitcase of money to buy that beautiful mansion, it doesn’t work that way. No one moves into a house they didn’t build. Of course, everyone tries before realizing it, and “squatting” can work for a while. But soon you’ll know: it isn’t right. It isn’t yours. And the only thing to be done is to find some land, pick up the tools, and start building.
The phases are fairly predictable. Apprentices are always looking for shortcuts, anything to get that wall up fast so they can move on to decorating and throwing the housewarming party. But soon the nails don’t seem to be going in right and there’s something jammed in the nailgun, and a master builder points out how they nearly shot their finger off there.
That wasn’t supposed to happen. A hammer is not a nail gun. This isn’t a fun time. There may be sulking.
Here’s where most quit. It’s not that it’s too hard or they don’t want to learn; they simply get overwhelmed. They never wanted this. All they wanted was a house.
Yet if they’d just held on and pushed past that initial shock, they would have become craftspeople. They’d have come upon some blueprints and started to pick up some tricks. They’d have landed upon their favorite ideas and begun getting inspired studying others builders’ techniques. They’d have gotten past the breathlessness and accepted that rules dictate good houses and the one that suits them best determines what they need to use. They’d be at this for a while, but their dream of the gabled roof, the dormers they’d get to put on, the smell of new wood, and the feel of the hammer in their hands. It would become a part of life they looked forward to. Those familiar motions and the sound of clacking punctuating the silence.
The rooms would become manageable and shrink to fit around them like their own new skin. And one day, they’d know it though they might not even think about it, they’d be a homeowner.
If they would keep having fun working, it would happen. Somewhere between the 100th time making the same mistake and appreciating the slanting sun on the freshly-hung door, they’d forget all the rules about leveling and measuring and it would become automatic. The hammer would start swinging on its own.
So. Pick up your hammer? How does it feel? Do you sense its energy, how it wants a nail? Yes, writer, you will be homeowner. And by my trusty hammer, it’s going to be amazing.
Is your writing life all it can be?
Let this book act as your personal coach, to explore the writing life you already have and the writing life you wish for, and close the gap between the two.