Renovations and Writing

By Brian Francis

Right now, my coffee maker is in the bedroom, there’s a toilet in my kitchen and I’m washing dishes in my bathroom sink. In other words, I’m living through a home renovation.

It’s been going on for two weeks and, judging by the mess, dust and tools, it seems like it’s never going to get done. But it’s been a rewarding process, to watch my house get stripped down to the bare essentials: the drywall, the particleboard, the screws and bolts hidden from daily life. It’s given me an appreciation for the stages that go into this type of work, the process and patience, the tearing down and building up again.Brian - reno

Writing is no different.

If you’re like me, you probably have a clear picture in your mind when you sit down to write. Then you start building. And tearing it down. And building. And tearing that down. It may seem, at times, that it’ll never get done. The words aren’t coming together. The characters too clichéd. You might fear you’re losing your grasp on the end product.

But writing, just like renovations, happens in stages. You can’t get to the final picture without dealing with the mess in between. There’s dust, mud and yes, even a toilet in the kitchen. But the mess is temporary. And while your work may not come together as fast as you’d like, it’ll get done, provided you keep the big picture in mind. And you remain patient.

In my Intro to Creative Writing course, one of my goals is to teach you how to tear down your creative houses and rebuild them. To approach your writing with a fresh set of eyes. To show you how to optimize what you have and what you may need to seek out.

I’m open to helping you build something. Are you ready to get to work?

Brian Francis’ most recent novel, Natural Order, was selected by the Toronto Star, Kobo and Georgia Straight as a Best Book of 2011. His first novel, Fruit, was a 2009 Canada Reads finalist. Brian will be teaching Intro to Creative Writing here at Harbourfront Centre from October 14 to November 18.