Houses of the Broken and Other Stories

The Heat is in the Tools

Presently I have two very big influences in my life. One is trying to get my writing persona established and off of the ground, the other is a massive restore-o-vation of the very old farmhouse I live in. Neither are for the faint of heart. It takes a special kind of crazy to face insurmountable odds and go “Eh… what’s the worst that can happen?”

Life evolves. There’s no two ways around it. Things that were important one day, may not be so important the next. Likewise, something you never thought to be a consideration maybe become the burning desire that spurs you to action. Between renovation and writing I have found a few simple truths.

1. Each one is a lot of work.

2. If I don’t do it, no one will.

3. The heat is in the tools.

#3, obviously being the entire point of this exercise, is the important factor here. Maybe you’re wondering what exactly it could mean, in either context. The answer is fairly simple: Activity keeps you sharp (and warm).

When you’re ripping apart a 160 year old house in the dead of winter, you start to appreciate the concept of movement. To stand still is to be cold. There is no progress. There is no warmth. There is an overwhelming urge just to give up. Too hard. Too cold.  Too dark. Your mind becomes your own worst enemy. Before long you have yourself talked into a nice coffee shop and a cup of coco. But the cave remains, haunting your moments of relaxation and warmth. Only when hammer hits wall do you meet true feelings of satisfaction.

That work in progress is the same way. Be it marketing or manuscripts, sitting and staring blankly at things on results in cold frustration. I like to mull things over, but if it goes too long ambition starts to flag. Ideas fall by the wayside. And it’s just plain easier not to. To write is to work. The catch to being a writer is: you have to write. Even the best imagination imagination in the world can’t call themselves a writer if they don’t put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard.)

It’s hard, but the best thing to do is keep hammering away. Even when you’re tired. Even when you’re bored. Even when you think you don’t have time to spare. (And yes, I am trying to convince myself of this as well!)

It’s the only way to knock those walls down and build something great.

One response

  1. Hi Katherine. When I read “The Heat is in the Tools” I knew I was reading the work of someone I can relate to. People other than writers think writing is easy. They ask “What do you do with your time.” I tell them. They say “Oh yeah! I can write this and write that and . . . oh that’s easy”. Actually, however, it is one of the hardest things to undertake if you start late like me. And to know that someone other than me is looking for their writing persona, makes me feel a certain kinsman — even though I consider “The Heat is in the Tools” is very nice writing, and not where I am at. For instance, I like how you express yourself in the paragraph that starts with “When you’re ripping apart a 160 year old house in the dead of winter . . . etc.” you made me imagine and see. Out of frustration one can be distracted, but only briefly. Then, the precept you stress, I’m haunted with the exact thought: I need to write. And, in addition, many of the things you express ring true to me. In fact, when I am almost to the point where I can’t go further, I read. Now, it has to be something that can help make my writing better. Other than that, it’s just easier to relate to someone who share the same problems of trying to be a better writer.

    March 19, 2014 at 8:59 pm

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