Monday, July 25, 2011

Writing, DIY Style

FIRST: If you haven't entered yet to win signed copies of Lauren Oliver's BEFORE I FALL and DELIRIUM, go HERE to do that now.

Writing is a lot like DIY. Yo get an idea to insulate your attic, and you set about doing it. Maybe you even check out a few websites and ask around just to make sure you have a good idea of how to go about this new project. You gather your materials: insulation, vapor barrier, tape. A mask and goggles to protect your face and lungs. And you start sticking that stuff in there. But pretty soon, you realize your hands are itching like crazy, and you'll never be able to use these clothes again. Plus, without staples, the vapor barrier won't stay up. So, you go off to gather more materials: gloves, protective outer clothes, heavy duty staples and stapler.

You wrestle for a while with the insulation and vapor barrier. It's hard to juggle it all and get it in place - this stuff is way bigger and harder to manage than you thought it would be - but you get there, slowly but surely, with lots of breaks to hydrate and cool off, and after a while you can see that you're making progress. Then your neighbor comes over to check it out, and HE says you needed to put in something between the insulation and the wood to leave a void... Dog doodles. You didn't think about that.

So you rip out everything you've done, and cuss and stomp around and cuss, and you put some gloves on over your itchy hands and you start over. And after a reeeeaaaaaallly long time, at last, you put in the final piece! You staple in the final section of vapor barrier! YES! Time to hit the showers!

But when you step back to admire your work, you see that the insulation is sagging in a few places, and there are gaps. Maybe your neighbor points out a few to you, and maybe he brings some string to run along to hold everything in place. There's more cussing. You feel like you're ready to rip your hands off by now, they're so itchy and sore. But you go back over the whole thing, ripping off that vapor barrier, filling in the gaps, taping everything back up again, and finally, after a lot of work, a lot of sweat, a lot of advice from others, a lot more work, some cussing, and about 4x more time than you thought it would take, you have something to show for it.

Yeah. Writing a book is just like that.


  1. This is a true and very unique analogy.

  2. Ah. All these itchy fingers that busily type away, but the words are just not what they are supposed to be. Love your project and the analogy. Great job! You did it. Maybe I should start insulating my attic too, now that I know a pro.