Monday, February 25, 2013

Ugly Sweaters

I'm wearing my ugly sweater. It's orange. At least one size too big. It's stretched out, has a stain and several snags, and the color doesn't flatter me. At least that's what Color Me Beautiful tells me. (Psst...I'm a "summer." You can find out your season HERE.)


Bright Day-Glo Vintage 80s Tacky Ugly Cosby Sweater
Photo by TheUglySweaterShop

But let's put the color analysis behind us. Why do I even own this ugly sweater? And why, when I know it's as unflattering as can be, do I insist on wearing it?

It's comfy. It hides my extra pounds. It goes with all of my jeans (since it really shouldn't be worn with anything, by default, it goes with everything) and my sweat pants (should you ever wear a sweater with sweat pants?).

I know I shouldn't wear my ugly sweater, but I can't resist.

I know when a sweater flatters me. It shows off my assets and minimizes my weak spots. The color makes my skin glow instead of washing me out. The material caresses. A scratchy sweater is not a good fit!

The same goes for my writing. I've written different genres, and some fit better than others. I spent a lot of time analyzing what genre best suits my voice. Styles come and go. Will I always write this genre? I don't know! But it's my favorite now. It shows off my assets and minimizes my weak spots. I also carefully consider a book idea for length. Will it be better suited for a category length or a full length novel? When writing and revising, I work hard to develop the theme so it caresses, leaves the reader satisfied.

We don't want to write a book because it feels comfortable. Maybe we've explored the theme in a previous book, or we've read several books with a similar plot. Comfortable isn't going to stand out. It's like the seventeenth rip-off of the Twilight series or eating eleven donuts in a row. Not very satisfying. For the writer or the reader.

Maybe it IS time to throw away my ugly old orange sweater. It's just as easy to pull on a pretty, flattering one.

Do you ever pull on an ugly sweater? Do you ever fall into these writing traps?

Happy Anniversary, Mom and Dad!! Love you!!

Have a fabulous day!

17 comments:

  1. Yeah, it's worth it to throw off the sweater. I say I'd rather be naked...which is a scary thought right there. :D

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    1. Ha! Ha! I have to throw the sweater away. I know I do! :)

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  2. I have this huge gray sweatshirt I wear every day to take the kids to school and it's my go-to when I'm bumming around the house. It has paint splotches and everything! But I just love the comfort.

    As far as writing, I try to stick with what I know flatters my writing, but there are other genres I might like to try on. :)

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    1. I have a huge blue cashmere sweater I throw on when I'm sick. It's really soft! I'll never get rid of it!!

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  3. The funny thing is, that sweater might be coming back into style. Hello 80s! :)

    I love writing rom-com, but there was a day when I was convinced I was a suspense writer. I was all "I wanna be Ted Dekker" and could never figure out why things didn't click. But then I went to a MBT retreat...found my voice...and for just a bit, realizing I was a contemporary romance writer felt uncomfortable. I was all worried what people would think when I said I wrote "romance." But now I see how it was truly my style all along. :)

    Also, I love Wendy's comment!

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    1. "Hello, 80s!" Ha! So true!!

      Oh, I can relate to this. I tried to write two suspenses. It didn't take much for me to realize my voice fits much better with contemporary romance!

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  4. I have a pair of yoga pants that are too big and an OU sweatshirt that I've had for years that I love. I would wear that outfit everywhere if I didn't think it would embarrass my family.

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    1. Oh, we should not even bring up the topic of yoga pants! How did we survive without them??

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  5. I have an ugly sweatshirt, and a sweater that's in that comfy but not really pretty category although I don't think it quite classifies as ugly. Maybe. Those are the kinds of things I wear when I'm ready to curl up and get some rest.
    I think writing can be like that too on some days. Sometimes it's good to rest, and just enjoy. It's not the kind of writing I'm going to take out and show anyone, or put out there for sale, but sometimes a little comfy writing is good, for a moment or a day, but not forever.
    However, on most days, I think we do need to challenge ourselves and go beyond our comfort zones in writing, and put on the pretty sweater. :-)

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    1. Great point! I like doing writing prompts to give my brain a rest. They're just really freeing!

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  6. Living in the deep south, the sweaters I have don't ever get enough use to get to that stage. But if I had one, I'd wear it -- though probably just around the house. :)

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    1. Yeah, all of my sweaters get a little too much action around here! It's cold!! Everyone has to have a comfy, ugly sweater for wearing around the house. :)

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  7. Social media is like this for me. I realized if I blogged the only way I'd feel like doing it would result in it being so snarky, just me having fun with absurd topics or non-writing related interests that are primarily just for me to have fun writing, that it wouldn't really help potential readers grasp what my writing outside the blog and other social media is about: indeed, it'd be the complete opposite of platform building. But try telling that to a literary agent! :)

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    1. Larry, I have to tame my inner sarcastic snot often. I get where you're coming from. It's a fine line between being "funny" and people thinking I'm a rotten human being. :)

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  8. According to that little test, I'm a winter. :) I have a sweater that I love, and I've worn it so often, it's heading toward the slightly tattered.

    I'm going to be so sad when that sweater has to go, but it's got a good few years yet. :) If I just wear it around the house.

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    1. Ah, no wonder you look so fabulous in red! Ha! It is sad to say goodbye to our "old faithfuls" in the sweater drawer... *sigh*

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  9. You always make me laugh. If you love your ugly sweater, keep it. One bad sweater can't spoil the whole bunch. Ha ha.

    Yes, I am guilty of writing the same stuff over and over in different forms. That's why I'm taking a breather from the novel. I was stuck in a very big rut.

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