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Friday, January 13, 2012

A Bit of Friday Brilliance

I was just thinking to myself about how writing is like babysitting small children.

This is either going to be brilliant or brilliantly awful, but either way, I'm sharing!

So, pretend you're babysitting. One or more of the children are in diapers.

You're the babysitter, so you play around with the kids. Only you can't play on the same level they play, because you have to worry about things like is this game safe? while they run  around the house and hit each other with toy swords. Do you stop the fun, or let the potentially dangerous situation continue?

Sometimes the game the kids make up doesn't make sense, or has some major flaws you see and they don't. You go along anyway.

This is like the first draft. You ignore the stuff that doesn't work, because it seems to work for now. Sometimes it's easier to let the children run around and hit each other with plastic, because you don't wan to deal with making them stop and do something different.

Now we get to the diapers. Sometimes it's hard to tell when those things need to be changed. Is that smell from the child or something else? Sometimes it's hard to tell that your story stinks. It can be hard to tell when it's time to change something.

If the kid is older and halfway between diapers and being potty-trained, sometimes changing the diaper is a big ordeal. They don't want to be changed, gosh darn it! They cry, and run away, and you have to hold them down and force a new diaper on them. It's not always easy to force your story to change, even if it stinks.

There is some good news to my whole weird metaphor. Because the kids? Adorable. Don't you feel so rewarded when the kids hug you goodbye or hello? When they beg their parents to let you come play again?

When you get that check at the end of the night?

Maybe writing doesn't always end with hugs and money, but it can be incredibly rewarding. I love that feeling when I've worked long and hard on something, and when it's done, I know that it's one of my best stories ever. It's not the best story in the world, but I made it. And it doesn't completely suck. I've changed the poopy diapers and I took away that darn plastic sword. Now I have the warm fuzzy feeling of a knee-high hug from a cute little child. Can it be stressful? Yes. Sometimes you want to give up and lock the terrors in their rooms? Definitely. But it's worth it working through it.

P.S. I am actually a pretty strict babysitter. There is no running and hitting with plastic swords on my watch.

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