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Life, Law & Libros

Discussion: Writing is Like Clay

4 comments
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Last Friday, I threw a jar-mug-thing on a pottery wheel for the first time. (No, I still don't have pictures, which means my pieces either exploded or are still baking.) And I realized something: writing is gooey, obstinate dirt on a wheel.

Anyone who's ever had a hard time writing a story, a character, a scene, an essay or an article knows what I mean. It's why I have such great respect for anyone who can write a full length novel. Sometimes, the words and plot lines flow smoothly underneath your fingers. Sometimes the clay is a fluid, soft mass waiting to be molded.

And the rest of the time it's a spinning, hard lump fighting against every push of your hands, forcing you to lean in further and brace yourself more firmly as you struggle to return to the center of the wheel. If you have never experienced this kind of frustration, I envy you...and question how in the world you've managed this. ;)

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I learned last Friday that, if you really really hate the piece you're working on after you make the hole in the middle, you shouldn't squish it flat and start again. Something about too much air and water getting trapped in the clay, which creates problems during firing. If you absolutely hate what you've made, take the clay off the wheel, throw it in the recycling bin and get a new piece. You keep thinking, right up until the end, that you can fix it...sometimes you can, and sometimes you can't. The more advanced your skill set, the better equipped you are to handle problems. Unless it's a really BIG problem. Then you scrap it. :)

This has turned into a little more of an introspective drabble than I intended, but one last thought: just like throwing clay on the wheel (which I hope to do again soon), the only way to get better at writing is to learn and practice.

What other similes and metaphors can you come up with for writing? Do you ever think about writing, or the stories you read, in terms of another skill/activity?

4 comments :

  1. What a fantastic analogy. I have always wanted to try spinning pottery, and now I am more inspired than ever!

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    1. Thank you! I definitely recommend giving it a try, especially if you can find a two-hour workshop like this where they give you a few instructions, set you loose and do all the firing/glazing for you afterward. I think it was around $25.

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  2. I think of it more in the terms of a chore. =( I like the reading part, not the writing! Creativity is something I envy and support in others.

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    1. It's definitely more of a chore some days than others. :)

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