Friday, August 12, 2011

Writing is a Lot Like Living in an RV

I love analogies! It’s my favorite way to explain things. Last night I had a profound realization: for me, writing is a lot like living in an RV.

Wanda, my home, is a 23-foot RV. I took up residence three and half years ago. I moved into her from a 3-bedroom home. Doing so meant giving up enormous amounts of stuff, some useful, some simply sentimental. This is exactly what’s required in rewrite.

So, I started rewriting my life. In the process, I found that the things I used regularly needed to be easily accessible, so I put them where I could get to them without much thought or effort. Exactly the same as making some layers of plot and character completely obvious.

Other things, like tax paperwork, photo albums, old writing samples, winter clothes, got stuffed into distant corners and overhead compartments. This is also how I treat the complex points of a story, the plot twists, the deeper aspects of characters.

At the end of the day, however, I have 2’ by 8’ of floor space. When I stand in the middle of Wanda’s interior, it’s only one or two steps from any part of her. This is how I like to write; simple, concise, mostly easy to understand, occasionally requiring extra work.

It’s also the way I like to read. I’ve recently tried to read some of the more difficult classics and authors that are brilliant, like James Joyce, but honestly, I failed – probably because I couldn’t gain access to their deeper meaning. An analogy – their old Victorian home had too many rooms and too much in the attic for my taste.

So, in reality, for me – moving into Wanda was practice for honing my craft.


  1. Kathy, You are ready to go on a long curise in a sailboat. You've got your mind right for it. Far out at sea or in an RV you begin to learn what's important and it will help you as a writer.

    Really great post!

  2. Wow, coming from you - the extraordinary sailor - that really means a lot. I have so many questions after reading IN SEARCH OF A SOUL. Thanks, Dannie

  3. Love your analogy...especially because my husband and I sometimes think about scaling down to something mobile, and hitting the road. And I worry how that would effect my writing. Right now I have a nice private, quiet home office all to myself. Could I write with him just feet away...even if he was quiet? I don't know.

  4. Having lived in an RV for a few years, and being a writer (with most of my books still in storage after this year's flood), I can SO dig this article! Great post.

  5. Oh how I love this post! In less then a year I will be living in an R.V. (The Mutiny) full-time. And while my writing is in the budding stages I am really looking forward to the experience and simplicity of the RV life, especially after reading your post.