I've been thinking in analogies lately. This week, running has been on my mind, because I'm running in the NYC half marathon on Sunday, and I've been thinking about how running compares to getting published. As I've mentioned in some of the posts in my personal blog, one of the attractions of running for me is the fact that it's perfectly measurable. I can run 1 mile, or 10 miles, and nothing can take away that achievement. After November, I hope I'll be able to say that I've run in a marathon. That's an achievement that won't be able to be taken away. Being published is like that. Even if you only publish one book that goes out of print in a year, you're still a published author, and I think that's one of the great appeals of it all. Well, perhaps you published and non-published authors can comment on this...
But I'll also say that I no longer run to be able to say I've done it, just as most writers don't write to be published. I run because I find joy in being outside, feeling solid ground beneath my feet, breathing hard, pushing myself, feeling the breeze, feeling the sweat run down my face, being alive. From what I know (I'm not a writer myself), writers are the same way--they write for the joy of it, for the pain of it, because it makes them sane (and insane!), they write because they have to write.
Okay, I'm stretching this analogy a bit, I'll admit. Another analogy I was pondering recently: on Monday I walked to work eating blueberries. I start thinking: Life is like eating blueberries. Sometimes it's predictable--the big, plump blueberries are usually sweet, and the small blueberries are often sour, but I'll eat them anyway in the hope that they'll be sweet, although sometimes you don't end up finishing them because the sourness scares you off. But then every now and then a small blueberry is incredibly sweet, sweeter than a big plump blueberry, and that gives the most joy and makes you keep eating."
Cheesy, I know. But I liked this better than "Life is like a box of chocolates."
More: During our workshop on revision at the SCBWI conference, Justina Chen Headley compared the author-editor relationship to a marriage, and I agreed. We talked about how communication was extremely important, just as in a marriage. But then I thought about it a little more and said later on, "For the editor, it's a polygamous marriage." Editors love all of their authors, but can't devote all of their time to just one. (Many authors are polygamous, too, of course.)
In my editorial meeting, we also use the marriage analogy. If the response to a project is positive but not over the moon and the editor is trying to decide whether they're passionate enough to push it further, we ask, "Do you love it? Would you marry it?" They might just like the project a lot, but not love it enough to marry it, and if they're not prepared to marry it, then they shouldn't sign it up. (Unless, of course, the project is extremely rich, i.e. is going to make you a lot of money. Then you might make an exception and marry for like, not love.)
What analogies do you use in your life?