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Monday, February 15, 2021

Construction vs. Writing

Construction vs. Writing by Debra H. Goldstein

Most of you know my husband and I had the brilliant idea to build a new house during the pandemic. Although we still need a mirror or picture over the fireplace and there is an unplugged lamp sitting on our dresser, there are no more things to unpack.

Dragging the last empty box to the street, I felt a weight leave my shoulders. The sensation of relief and joy was the same one I get when I hit send on a book or short story. It is a sense of accomplishment coupled with the freedom to do whatever I want without worrying about needing more words or meeting a deadline.

When we picked our lot last May, we had several to choose from. Now all except one have a

completed or in some stage of building house. It is only a matter of time before the last foundation is poured because the builder staked the lot this week.

His red stakes are comparable to the outline or planning stages of an author’s new work. Like the contractor, a writer lays a foundation and then frames the book or story with chapters or scenes. During the next three to four months, the construction crew will transform a skeletal wooden frame into a finished home. Through equally careful crafting, the writer’s piece will go from a few words to the point where “The End” is typed.

The builder hopes the home will be loved and cherished by its new owner. The writer prays for the same things from readers. In the meantime, for both, the process begins anew.

Which one do you think is less nerve wracking?




Annette said...

I've often compared the novel-writing process to building a house. I'm not sure which is more stressful. I've only been part of building one house but more than a dozen books.

Congrats on being moved in and unpacked, Debra!

Kait said...

What a fabulous analogy. My high school English teacher often likened writing to building a house. It's an image that has lived on in my thoughts when I'm planning a new book. I've not build a house - renovated and repaired more than a few - so I can't say which is more stressful, but I admire your grit in taking on both during a pandemic!

Congratulations on your move!

Jim Jackson said...

The only good move is a finished move. I'd guess more divorces have occurred over building a house than writing a book, so I'm voting for house-building as the more stressful (particularly if you are acting as your own general contractor).

Margaret S. Hamilton said...

House-building is less stressful. We had a builder and a site manager, and in the Atlanta suburbs, clearing the lot to move-in ready took about five months. I made a house-hunting trip, and a follow-up trip to meet with the electrician and "wallpaper lady" who took all the specs for flooring, tile, faucets, paint color. During my house-hunting trip, I took photos of features like built-ins and handed the pix to the site manager. "Just like the photos, please."

My husband moved six months ahead of us, and had the pleasure of driving around subdivisions with the brick salesman, picking out the brick for the house. What we had specified in the contract was on backorder.

Good luck!

Debra H. Goldstein said...

Thanks for the messages. My answer depends on the day you asked me. Both of the houses we've built (and this is from someone who said I'd never build a house) have gone off fairly easily. They were floorplans we liked and Joel for the most part defers to me --- our only disagreement is usually the exterior. It took him 15 years to tell me he didn't like the color of our last house. We cruised neighborhoods until we found a compromise for this house. Although I like it, I'm still not as big a fan of the trim color as him, but he loves it. (I remind myself that can always be changed in the future).

Margaret, I'd have been scared to let Joel pick out the brick himself. That was a compromise for us. Jim, I will say I'm much more easy going (if that can be said about me) now that the last box is unpacked. Kait and Annette, thanks for referencing others who have made the comparison.

Shari Randall said...

A conundrum. We haven't ever built a house, but we've moved plenty of times with my hubby's Coast Guard career, so I have a different view on moving. Most of our real estate purchases have been made in a weekend, and one time my hubby flew to our new town and bought a house without me seeing it. We'd take a compass (the ones used in geometry class) and sketch a circle three miles biking distance from hubby's office. Then we'd look for best schools in that area then call the realtor.
But having said that, I'd LOVE to build a house! As someone who's lived with plenty of pink bathrooms, I can't imagine the luxury of picking out my own fixtures, windows, flooring....ah! I'm willing to risk it!

KM Rockwood said...

I can see where building a house can be similar to building a book, from foundation to last-minute touches.

Paula Gail Benson said...

After seeing Jim’s comment, I won’t tell the divorce I learned of where a manuscript was considered part of the assets. So happy you’ve made this new accomplishment. Best wishes in all your writing and home finishing endeavors!