By: Stephanie Duncan
So here are some 'writing metaphors' I've collected below...
Leslie Leyland Fields, author of 6 books and professor at Seattle Pacific University, compared writing to a more painful process in her session titled, "The Art of Bloodletting: Translating Suffering to the Shared Page." Her basis is that writing can be a painful, though holy, activity, as we honestly struggle to face the reality around us with our pen.
Kate DiCamillo, children's author of Because of Winn Dixie and other books, said her writing is like building a ladder as she's climbing it, "as I rest my full weight on the rung only just built, and prepare to take yet another step."
These next few quotes do not come from Festival speakers, but some speakers quoted these classic writers:
Dorothy Sayers, after finishing a novel, said, "I feel like God on the seventh day."
"An idea in the head is like a rock in the shoe; I just can't wait to get it out." -Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
"Writing is like walking through a dense forest in the dead of night with a pencil flashlight between your teeth..." -Kurt Vonnegut
"There's nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and open a vein." -Red Smith
Many of these quotes, if not outright violent, imply something of a risk. It is a risk for authors to pour themselves into a work they know they will have to share with the world. It is a risk to be vulnerable to the story and let it take you where it may. It is a risk to invest so much in a manuscript that readers may either adore or critique.
I'd like to hear your thoughts:
Do you have a particular 'writing metaphor'? What does writing feel like to you?
And why do you think writers feel so much violence or risk in the writing process?