Reader Friday: Analogy for Writing Life

“Life is like a box of chocolates—you never know what you’re gonna get.” — Forrest Gump

Describe your writing life in an analogy (or metaphor).

Are you flying high like Neil Armstrong? Or is your writing life more chaotic than a crazed killer with an ax?

What about your WIP?

Has your WIP stalled like a dirt bike low on gas? Or are you zipping right along like a flat stone tossed across lake water?

Your turn!

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About Sue Coletta

Member of MWA, Sisters in Crime, and ITW, Sue Coletta is an award-winning crime writer of psychological thrillers. She also writes true crime: PRETTY EVIL NEW ENGLAND hits bookstores by Nov. 1, 2020 (Globe Pequot, trade division of Rowman & Littlefield). Feedspot & honored Sue's blog with the Top 100 Crime Blogs on the Net award (Murder Blog sits at #5). Learn more about Sue and her books at

33 thoughts on “Reader Friday: Analogy for Writing Life

  1. My writing life is a cruise ship not allowed to reach port.
    I want happy. People need happy. But (as “someone” said), “Don’t write Happy People in Happy Land.”
    So, I’m struggling to make things a little harder for my characters. (They want happy, too.)

  2. I’m flying, but not as high as Neil Armstrong. Chuck Yeager maybe. I have two signed contracts, and while not zipping, I am making steady progress on another wip, which is shaping up to be a novelette.

  3. Think of Richard Dreyfuss’s character in Close Encounters of the Third Kind sculpting Devils Tower from his mashed potatoes. Maybe I should stop this compulsive behavior but something powerful has me by the throat?

  4. The best analogy for my writing life can be adapted from the wisdom of Barbara Sher, whom I’m sad to report passed away earlier this month. In her life saving book “Refuse to Choose” (written for all the people who are interested in a multitude of subjects (Scanners), i.e. Renaissance, multipotentialite, etc) she writes:

    “To Scanners the world is like a big candy store full of fascinating opportunities, and all they want is to reach out and stuff their pockets.”

    I can take that and adapt it for writing specifically as “To a writer, the world is like a big candy store full of endless tasty pieces of story ideas, and you just want to nibble on a bunch of ideas before you sit down to eat a whole candy bar.”

  5. Loved all these word pictures, folks! Fun, fun post, Sue.

    Remember Frodo? That’s me. Pried out of his Hobbit house, pushed down the road with nothing more than a backpack and staff to an adventure he didn’t ask for. In constant danger from, well, everything. Gandalf the Grey saves his life by free falling into a pit with a monster, then becomes the White Wizard. New friends died. Old friends turned on him.

    By now, Frodo’s head is spinning like the little girl in The Exorcist…but at the very end, he’s discovered himself. What he was meant to do.

    And picture him standing before Aragorn, the King, astonished to see the crowd kneeling to him and his comrades. Recognition and accolades didn’t matter to him by then-only that he’d accomplished his mission. I try to remember that for myself.

    My 2 WIPs are moving along nicely. They’re not alive yet, JSB, but they’re hoppin’ in my head.

  6. I’m wallowing in a pig sty’s muddy water, churning it every which a way hoping to plop down satisfied. Can’t quite find it yet. But I know it’s here.

  7. It’s the marathon and all the training it takes to get there. It’s up in the morning, wide awake and sprinting out for a lively jog in the park. But it’s also pulling on running clothes and dragging yourself out the door to slog through a long run you really don’t feel like doing. It’s the encouragement that all the work is making you stronger, and it’s the heads-down grit to face the injury and do what’s needed to heal. And when you finally stand at the starting line, it’s the endurance to go the distance.

    For my WIP, I’m closing in on the finish line now. What I hope is the final version of my manuscript is in my editor’s hands and I’m already beginning to plan for the next race.

  8. The silver lining to Corona Hell is a reduced work schedule which equals more writing time for me.

    Currently turning a screenplay that almost got made into a novel to see if I have better luck there.

    Sent a song I wrote a while back to a poetry magazine. Wish me luck.

    Shelved the dystopian since a lot of what I wrote came true – not doing that again!

    Trying to get these manuscripts off the couch and earning their keep.

    Happy writing, y’all!

  9. These days, it’s a tombstone with “RIP Marilynn’s Writing Career.” I’ve reached acceptance in the Seven Stages of Grief, though, so I’m okay about it. And it was one heck of a ride.

    On a more cheerful note, here’s a quote I share with writing students from the ever awesome and prolific Nora Roberts about the metaphoric creative journey.

    “I’m just starting [a new book] and the battle has already begun. I don’t think they ever go smoothly. It’s work. It should be work. It should be hard work. I think if you sort of sit around and wait to be inspired, you’re probably going to be sitting there a long time. My process is more about crafting, working an idea through my head to see if it’s a good concept.” Nora Roberts in an interview with the “Hagerstown Herald-Mail.”

  10. Finally on this writing gig journey of going two steps ahead with only one going back. I think I’m approaching that “tipping point” where it’s all paying off. Indie downloads are way up in the last 2 months and I’m sure it has to do with Covid folks spending more time at home with less $$ to spend, so they’re turning to ebooks. Has anyone else observed / experienced this?

    WIP? One new based-on-true-crime book at the proofreaders and another m/s partway in draft. But, I’m trying to learn more of the marketing end. Spent the last couple hours on this site: They’ve got some excellent resources – some free and some pay-to-play. If you don’t know of Written Word Media, they’re well worth checking out.

    • For me, ebook sales skyrocket one day than freefall the next. But I also don’t control the price set by the publisher. ‘Course, I could be doing more marketing, but I’m still in research-mode for my historical true crime project. Trying to find the deposition is driving me crazy.

      Yes, Written Word Media is a solid source. Thanks for sharing the link, Garry!

  11. Don’t bother me! I’m writing!!

    Actually, having just finished the last of a series I had on contract, I am now back to writing on my own schedule! My current WIP(s) sit in various stages. The primary WIP is 1/2 researched and only about 2000 words in, but the One Note file for it has well over 200 pages of info already. Two others are in various stages of writing and researching, but it is all on my own time this go-round.

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