Writing is an Allegory for Life

I think most writers can get behind this idea. Most other artists, they start out with their finished product in mind. Well, writers do, too, but we only have a general idea of what the finished product ought to look like. Let me explain.

So, you have architects, who design amazingly beautiful buildings, and intricately designed, well fashioned  monuments that will last lifetimes. A good architect doesn’t start with a random pile of organized things (hopefully, it’s organized), and come up with a masterpiece. He plans. He maps out exactly what he intends to do so he knows everything that he needs to finish the job.

Writing isn’t like that.

Writers generally start with a little idea. Just one little idea. And they don’t have any clear picture of what it’ll look like outside of that idea. They know what they want it to look like, but they also know not to count on that. Because halfway through, as they’re being very true to their little idea and keeping it exactly as it was when they found it, they have another idea. And it’s so beautiful next to the first little idea that things have to be changed so both ideas can be used together. And then more ideas come up. Some of them are ignored because they just won’t work, but some of them just can’t be ignored. Or they won’t be ignored. In the end, the final picture is very different from the original, though that one little idea still remains.

And that’s sort of like life. We go through life with some kind of general idea of who we are and what we want to be, but things come in and change us. Some of those things we don’t like very much, but some are wonderful. In the end, the picture of our lives is much different from what we had intended. Good thing we’re not the ones doing the writing, because I would have so many plot holes in mine.


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