I awoke this morning to write when hidden muscle groups protested. It took only a moment to remember the cause of my discomfort. The lingering consequences of good health. My son has set me on a training-regime to sculpt and strengthen by body. And it hit me, not unlike the intensity of reigning ten-pound battle ropes for what felt like a million intervals, writing is a work out.
This conclusion solidified when I recalled an earlier conversation with my daughter. She had popped into my office to say hello. After we spoke for a while, she shook her head. “I just asked you how you were, and you responded great… on top of the world. But when I asked you why? You said you were stuck in your writing and behind on your poetry. Not one part of that sounds on top of the world.”
She had me perplexed. I had responded that my life was great, though at that time, I was stuck on creating dialogue between my protagonist and antagonist in my rewrite. And I am behind schedule creating poetry for my Colors Series. I wasn’t sure at the time why I responded with such positive vigor. But after I wrenched myself from bed this morning, and felt the after effects of exercise, it all came together. I felt better overall, regardless of a few aches and pains, because I knew I was doing something good for myself.
I believe this is life for writers. We write through the slumps, and even amidst our complaining, we continue to write because we know overall, it’s good for us. Most writers I’ve talked to agree their writing pushes internally to be freed. Regardless of their measure of success, they must keep writing. Exercise can mirror this idea. We aren’t all body-builders, or whatever body-image might be the goal, but any amount of exercise is good for us. I have only started working out with weight training, and I’m already feeling on top of the world… even when my world isn’t reflecting the level of success I want yet.
Maybe if we think of writing as a training regime, we can look at the aches and pains along the way as milestones. It takes milestones to create something stronger… something better. I suppose it also comes back to attitude. It’s not always easy to fix our mindsets in the right direction as writers. We take ourselves far to seriously. Although might I suggest exercising? It’s evidently doing wonders for my outlook on life, even when my life is perfectly mundane.
Writing hurts sometimes. But it also feels invigorating. Just like exercising muscles we aren’t used to using; the more we write, the better writer we will be. Once you hydrate, rest, and return to using those muscles (writing and body), it gets easier… or at least we can feel stronger and more confident in our attempts. Whatever happens, just keep going.
Writing Advice: Metaphors and Similes
There is power in using figurative language such as metaphors and similes in writing. I suppose I can relate these tools to the proper bench press techniques and pre-stretches my son guided me in for weight training. When writers use metaphors and similes correctly, wonderful things can happen. First of all, a quick definition. They are both comparisons.
Simile – A figure of speech comparing two unlike things, often introduced by like or as (as in cheeks like roses). ~ Definition modified by Merriam-Webster
Metaphor – A figure of speech in which a word or phrase is an object or idea. It is used in place of another idea to suggest a likeness or analogy between them (as in drowning in money). ~ Definition modified by Merriam-Webster
As a teacher of young writers, I encourage the use of metaphors and similes. My students are just learning how to use these types of figurative language and finding the freedom they can offer in creativity. As they mature in writing, overuse of such comparisons can feel distracting.
In poetry I use many analogies. I find myself using similes at first nature to relay these likenesses, but then adjust them to more specific metaphors upon revision. In fiction writing, I tend to start out with metaphors, but work to remove them by using more explicit language. If I use them at all, I attempt for it to feel more natural, so the reader doesn’t stray away to contemplate meaning.
In another blog post coming soon, I will write about powerful sentences. For now, think about your use of similes and metaphors. How do you use them in your writing? Do they help the reader construe your meaning? Or do they get in the way? My point today? Think about your use of them and decide.
Here are two articles you may find helpful.
This one has two parts and teaches how to use metaphors and similes properly (along with master authors who have done so): https://www.thoughtco.com/similes-and-metaphors-part-1-1692780.
This article shows how you can rework your metaphors and similes by describing more of your character’s actions or feelings: http://www.novelpublicity.com/2012/03/ask-the-editor-how-often-should-similes-and-metaphors-be-used-in-fiction-is-it-possible-to-rely-on-them-too-much/
Both are short and informative articles I recommend giving a glance. Figurative language is a tool to empower your writing, but like using weights to strengthen your body, if you don’t use them correctly, you can hurt yourself. Find out how to use these great tools and keep writing!
~Celaine Charles, July 29, 2018
Content and Image Links:
https://www.thoughtco.com/similes-and-metaphors-part-1-1692780 (For Metaphors and Similes)
http://www.novelpublicity.com/2012/03/ask-the-editor-how-often-should-similes-and-metaphors-be-used-in-fiction-is-it-possible-to-rely-on-them-too-much/ (For cautiously using metaphors and similes)
https://www.self.com/story/battle-ropes-workout-abs (battle ropes)
http://www.nonfiction-writing-guide.com/writing-exercises.html (writing muscles – pencil)
https://www.tes.com/teaching-resource/descriptive-writing-lesson-similes-and-metaphors-6333111 (metaphors and similes)
http://breatheconference.com/home/featured-articles/exercise-the-writers-secret-weapon.html (exercise a writer’s secret weapon)
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