My #Writing #Journey: Cleaning the Litter Box

Published February 11, 2013 by Jennifer Elizabeth

Writing a story is the equivalent to cleaning a litter box.

Do I have your attention? I bet you’re thinking: What the heck does writing have to do with cleaning a litter box? Have I awakened some nasty images in your brain? I sure hope so ;).  The imagination is the BIGGEST golden nugget to successful story writing.  If you can see it in your imagination, you can write it (in my opinion). The trick is getting it all out.

Can you see where this is leading?

Allow me to continue: Over the past few days I have sorted through snippets of  writing produced last summer, and some produced nearly three years ago. A few I would consider “golden nuggets.” Many I wish to piece together for my “story-to-be.” And the key is to gather all the golden nuggets and pray they stick together to form the final product—much like cleaning a litter box.

Now, let’s get a teeny bit graphic.

A few weeks back I experienced litter box cleaning for the first time. My family and I adopted an adorable kitten. We named her Periwinkle (after the beloved cat from the children’s show “Blues Clues”). I took on the responsibility of cleaning her litter box. At first, I was a bit grossed out. There I was, a grown woman scooping cat crap.

A basic litter box and a bag of litter

A basic litter box and a bag of litter (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

For those unfamiliar, to clean a litter box you must put the scoop into the litter, dig around a bit, and filter out the “golden nuggets”—and most of the time you will come up with a big pile of…well, you get the picture ;).  Everything should stick together nicely, and the goal is to find the big chucks and scoop them out—scoop them ALL out. And when you do—success. And of course the process continues the next day.

Well eventually I got used to the process and almost found myself excited when I’d discover the “golden nuggets” and was able to rid the box of the source of stink.

When you’re a writer, you have to sort through your ideas, constantly seeking the golden nuggets—the non-cat golden nuggets that is ;).

You have to access your imagination. Because if you can’t, why should your reader? Reading a story is all about the imagination: words are strategically placed to allow a picture to form inside the reader’s mind.

Our imaginations allow us to build on those words and create a perfect moving picture as we read. (And that is how we find ourselves suddenly lost in a story: perfection. :))

To conclude: as writers we have to constantly access the imagination and seek those golden nuggets. Some we have to filter out. Others we can put aside for later. And when we’re lucky, many will stick together and form the perfect story.

Right now I am filtering though my pile of nuggets and working towards my perfect story. Ultimately, my goal is the fuse the golden nuggets together and encourage the formation of a perfect moving picture within my readers imaginations.

What do you compare your writing process to?

…as always, thank you for your thoughts 😉


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