Saturday, February 12, 2011

The Writer Packrat (Or how cleaning out my studio is like revision)

I have a room in my house that I call my "studio." Others might call it a craft room (or a "crap" room), but I call it my studio.

In my studio, I have a desk for making art. I have a sewing machine all set up on its very own table. I even have a writing desk. Do you know where I write? On my bed. Why don't I use my desk?

I can't even get to it.

I also can't use my art desk or my sewing machine. *hangs head in disgust*

I do mixed-media art. What does that mean? That means that I have my fingers in many different kinds of art supplies. Some people wouldn't even consider what I have in there an "art supply." (Why do you have all of the bubble wrap you've ever got in the mail in here? You use these shelf liners for what? What are these empty envelopes that come in your bills doing stacked up on the floor?)

The problem: I keep everything because one day I might need it for something in my art. That strip of scrapbook paper that you'd throw away? Yeah, I'd keep that. That fluffy romance that you read once and you're ready to send it to the thrift store? I could use it to make a cool pendant. That broken necklace that you'll never wear again? Hmm, let me see that...

Last week, as I attempted to make sense of the national disaster that is my studio, I came to the realization that cleaning out my studio is much like trying to revise my writing.

The problem: Sometimes I write something that I really, really love in the first draft. And then others really, really love it too. I feel like I have to keep it. Other people liked it! Why would I toss that line of dialogue or that description?

Because the story no longer needs it.

But it's still so hard to get rid of. I've had to learn that I can't keep it simply because I like it; I have to stay true to my story, and the story has grown up, changed. I can't tie it down with bits and pieces it no longer needs.

It's hard to let those favorite bits go, but, in the end, the story is the most important thing.

Now if I could just learn to do that in my studio...

1 comment:

orangemily said...

I wish I had a craft room!