Friday, July 2, 2010

What kind of ketchup bottle are you?


An odd analogy occurred to me today, and I felt the need to share it. Maybe it will bring a smile to your face...or a roll to your eyes. Anyway, here goes:

Writing is like pouring ketchup.

There are three ways, in general, to get ketchup out of a bottle--the old-fashioned kind, not the squeezie :P.

First, what I'm going to call the "pop and glop." Some people have this knack of being able to flip a ketchup bottle over, give it one well-aimed pop, and a perfectly-sized glop of ketchup comes out. There are writers who have mastered this method for their writing. They sit down each day--most likely always at the same time--and write for X number of hours, or pound out X number of words. This is great for disciplined writers who can through force of will or nature get into the zone.
This is not me.

Second, there are those that set the bottle upside down after they pull it out of the fridge, and leave it on the table until all the ketchup has run "down" to the "top." Then they carefully open the lid and pour. This is great for patient writers who ruminate on their work, "writing" it in their mind and then just heading to the computer to put the already formed work on paper.
This is...sometimes...me.

Third, there are the people who grab the bottle, bang on the bottom over and over with nothing coming out, and then--either by the natural force of gravity--or through a fit of frustration and a knife crammed into the bottle's neck--a ginormous gush of ketchup floods out all over everything. This kind of writer sits at his/her desk, banging his/her head, wishing they were a "pop and glop" writer or a patient up-side-downer. They spend day after day thinking they're deluding themselves, that they're not a real writer, and the darn ketchup is NEVER going to come out--and then...glug, glug, glug...massive amounts of messy creativity come gushing forth.
This is...most of the time...me.

How about you?

5 comments:

Jeff Chapman said...

I'm striving for number one, but I'll take the ketchup no matter how it comes out. Don't bang too hard or you'll break the bottle. : )

David N Alderman said...

Great analogy. I think I'm all of the above, depending on the day and what mood I am in.

There are certain sections of story that I ruminate on and take time to think out before getting down on the page, but there are also those days that I can just sit in a chair and plop it all out. Then again, despairingly, I get the days that I can't write if my life depended on it. Which sometimes it does. :)

Grace Bridges said...

Ooh, yes, I am absolutely a glug-glug type, though there is often rumination beforehand.

Rita Wolffe said...

Cool analogy! I'd say that during the first draft stage, I'm the "pop and glop", but when I'm rewriting and editing I'm sort of a mix of two and three (I spend a bunch of time worrying and such about it, and then when I get an idea I wait for a long time before I act on it.)

Of course, it'd be awesome if it were a squeezy bottle, 'cause then it'd be smooth flow the whole time. ^^

Rita Wolffe said...

Cool analogy! I'd say that during the first draft stage, I'm the "pop and glop", but when I'm rewriting and editing I'm sort of a mix of two and three (I spend a bunch of time worrying and such about it, and then when I get an idea I wait for a long time before I act on it.)

Of course, it'd be awesome if it were a squeezy bottle, 'cause then it'd be smooth flow the whole time. ^^