I’m classifying this blog post as a diary entry because I’m going to talk about something that’s been happening in my personal life: I’m in the middle of moving house. However, I’ve also managed to figure out a way to tie it back into writing – just wait and see!
First of all, here’s the background to the story of how my husband and I made the decision to sell the home we’ve lived in since May 2014. Until summer 2018, I worked in Tipperary while my husband worked in Dublin and our house was in Kildare, halfway between the two. Then I switched jobs and ended up working in Dublin too. It made sense for us to move closer to Dublin and reduce our crazy commute (a minimum of 1 hour 20 minutes each way, and up to 2 hours when traffic was very bad). So the house hunt began.
We actually found our new home faster than we expected, and secured a buyer for our house quite quickly as well. This would be a smooth, simple process, we naively told ourselves. Not so, as it turned out.
I won’t bore you with the details of closing our sale but suffice to say that a process which could have taken just 6 to 8 weeks has lasted almost 5 months, with the delay predominantly caused by having to wait for the issuing of one single piece of paper. During that time, we’ve had dealings with four sets of solicitors and been close to despairing that the whole thing would just fall through. Thankfully, it all seems to be coming together at last but it’s been a rough few months.
Oh, and I decided to publish a book in the middle of it all…!
Which got me thinking, there are in fact a lot of similarities between moving house and writing a book. So I’ve come up with these 5 stages:
Stage 1 – Dreaming
You spend hours upon hours wandering around the Daft and MyHome websites, sustaining the buoyant hope that the next house you click on might be The One, and indulging in some sneaky views of houses well beyond your price range.
The concept for your story has taken root – you’re jotting down fantastic ideas and imagining all the different and wonderful paths it could take, while envisaging the moment when your book is snapped up by a Really Big Publisher.
Stage 2 – Enthusiasm
You go to house viewings every weekend and embrace the excitement of stepping across the threshold of each one to see what hidden wonders are behind the front door.
Writing a Book
You write the first few chapters with lightning speed, and it feels amazing because the words are flowing so fast you can hardly get them down quickly enough.
Stage 3 – realisation
You begin to realise that behind the estate agents’ smiling faces and behind the front doors of many properties are costs beyond your reach and flaws beyond fixing. Finding your dream home now seems an impossible task.
Writing a Book
The golden days of flowing words are over and every sentence seems pulled from you like blood from a stone. What comes out feels clunky and shoddy and you can’t even conceive how you thought anyone would ever be interested in reading this tripe.
Stage 4 – hard slog
Having come to the understanding that no house can be perfect, you make some compromises and continue your search for the house that you hope will become your home. There are more hiccups along the way – someone else bids higher and you have to go back to square one again, you secure a deposit but then legal proceedings hold everything up, the closing date keeps getting pushed back – but you keep your chin up and power through it.
Writing a Book
Now comes the real writing. You must prop up that sagging middle section and devise a satisfying end to the book. You need to establish a proper timeline and ensure that your characters’ names and traits are consistent throughout. Plot holes have to be identified and remedied. It becomes clear to you that it takes a lot of time and a huge amount of effort to craft a readable story but you put your head down and write, determined to reach your goal.
Stage 5 – FINISHING TOUCHES
You’ve signed the contracts, you’ve hired the moving van, and you are in your new house. Now it’s down to the little details such as where you’ll hang that honeymoon photo frame. You’re home at last.
Writing a Book
You’ve nailed the story and you can finally tweak the language, making it sing the way you want it to. You put the finishing touches to your polished manuscript and decide that it was all worth it in the end.
What do you think? Can you make any further comparisons between moving house and writing a book? For my part, while I’ll happily face into writing a new book, I’ve decided that I am never moving house again…!