Writing is NOT Like a Box of Chocolates: a Meme

Preface to the Post: What is a meme? “A meme is an idea, behavior or style that spreads from person to person within a culture. While genes transmit biological information, memes are said to transmit ideas and belief information.” What is a writing meme? “A writing meme is a type of writing prompt, shared and passed around by bloggers all over.”  Why am I participating? Because I ran over a propane line with my lawn mower and Greenwoman Michelle Simkins thought it was funny enough to think I might be able to top that with something even more interesting. I’ll try not to set anything on fire.

Photo Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Forrest Gump’s momma always said, “Life was like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get.” I suppose the same could be said of writing, but . . . since we’re writers, we feel compelled to come up with our own silly comparisons.

Hence the creation of the Box of Chocolates Writing Meme–in which you may compare writing to anything but a box of chocolates.

How does it work? Take the phrase “Writing is like . . .” and finish it. Post it on your blog. Tag three others to do the same. That is all. See how easy that is?

-Michelle Simkins aka Greenwoman.

So here we go!

You may have noticed that it has been a full ten days since my last post. To be fair, I spent four of those days doing the tourist thing in DC while the husband worked on the Hill. But if I’m being  honest with you, the writing has stalled a bit since being Freshly Pressed a few weeks ago. Don’t get me wrong! I loved it! My stats skyrocketed, comments are rolling in, my subscriptions tripled, and people are actually coming back for more. The problem lies in the creating of the “more.” I find myself playing it safe with my writing. Rather than letting it take me where it wants to go, I struggle to find the perfect word, the correct phrasing, and a topic to please all. I hesitate to take risks for fear I might break a rule and disappoint.

It’s a bit like navigating the streets of DC on foot. It can be a challenge. If you don’t wear the right shoes, obey the crosswalk signals, and keep your pace up you might just end up blistered, hit by an angry cab driver, or trampled by a pack of fifth graders on a field trip. The safest thing to do is  to simply merge onto the sidewalk and take your place among the hundreds of bustling suits, skirts, and tourists. Within moments you become one with the crowd moving as a single organism, stopping in unison at intersections, all eyes upon the red hand waiting for the little white walker man to signal you to move again. Walk. Stop. Stare. Wait. Walk. Repeat. Safe? Yes. Fun? Not so much.

Eventually, if you are anything like me, you start to break the rules. You ditch the shoes first. You stray from the sidewalk and go barefoot on the grass. You dip your toes in the fountain at the sculpture garden right next to the sign that clearly states, “No Wading.”  You wander aimlessly down the corridors of the Library of Congress and when approached by security you claim to be “lost” and get an escorted “tour” back to the Great Hall. And then, at the end of the day when you’ve broken all the little rules, you break one more. You jaywalk. You cross against the light. You walk outside the lines. You risk being run over by the angry taxi cab driver or even worse, captured in a police blitz on jaywalkers with penalty by fine. And what of the reward for such behavior? Well, your feet feel better, you got to see some things no one else did, and you got there just a little bit quicker than everyone else.

It’s the same for writing. When you quit worrying about breaking the rules and go with the flow, you feel better about what you are putting out there, you get to say some things no else did, and in the end you waste whole lot less time than when you are second guessing yourself.

So for me,

“Writing is like jaywalking. Sometimes you just have to write outside the lines.”

Now comes the fun part where I get to choose two (not three because I like to break the rules) amazing writers/bloggers to carry on the meme! And I choose:

  1. 2. Renée Schuls-Jacobson of Lessons from Teachers and Twits because we talked about a collaboration and this is as good a place as any to start. Plus her writing is super witty and fun!
  2. 3. Savannah Renée of Learn to Be Still because she’s my daughter and I said so.

About Susan Warren Utley

Susan Warren Utley is a wife and mother living and writing in the shadows of the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia. Her stories are inspired by the unexpected twists and turns of real life and by her muse, a feisty Jack Russell Terrier who occasionally answers to the name of Lucy. View all posts by Susan Warren Utley

11 responses to “Writing is NOT Like a Box of Chocolates: a Meme

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