Boingy shoes and the Great American Novel

Okay, well, not exactly the Great American Novel new writers, or wanna be writers, dream of… but a novel.

Yes, boingy shoes and novel writing do have a great deal in common…I know, who knew, right?


I bought myself a pair of those uber cool Skechers (and yes, the writer in me cringes at that spelling). The Tone-Up kind that supposedly work out your calves as you walk around doing normal stuff…

and that got me to thinking…

New shoes are like a new idea. When you first buy the shoes (get that brilliant idea you just know is going to earn you fame and insta-millions!) you’re immediately in love. The shoes are great. You can’t wait to walk around in them, to feel the burn as your calves seemingly overnight become less like jello molded to a solid core, and more like a sleek expanse of muscle.

New novel ideas are like that. We can’t wait to roll around in the expanse of our own mind, to create plot points, to flesh out our characters. To watch that incredible, amazing, idea come to life under our fingertips. So what if the plot points are a little tight at first? It’s boingy shoes to the rescue! Just as we walked around, ensuring our shoes fit our feet just right, so too do we have to allow the plot to ‘mesh’ together; to congeal and to decide for itself if it works.

Fast forward… the shoes are finally broken in. They fit my feet perfectly. My novel is the same. The plot points have been ironed out and the characters aren’t fighting me anymore. In fact, everyone is getting along famously… and it feels like a bit of a let-down. Just like the shine has worn off the shoes; the silver is more of a dull gray, the purple stripes have faded to a lavender, and the white has been splattered with red clay. It’s the middle of the novel. The story is still perfectly viable, the plots are moving forward, everyone is doing exactly what they’re supposed to be doing; the bad guys are being devious, the good guys are all wearing their white hats and the damsel in distress is in the process of being rescued.

So why am I suddenly bored and looking for the next thing to write?

BOINGY SHOES! (What a shock, right?)

The ‘newness’ has worn off. The shoes aren’t bright and sparkly anymore. They’ve been used. Broken down. They’re still comfy, but I don’t get that breathless ‘goodygoodygoody!’ feeling anymore.

When you hit that point in your writing…when the ‘newness’ isn’t so ‘new’ anymore, when you know where you need to go, but it seems like miles upon miles uphill to get there… that’s when the real work begins.




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7 responses to “Boingy shoes and the Great American Novel

  1. Thank you! You’ve put issues I’ve been having in perspective. 🙂

  2. Susan

    I’m not a writer but I like your boingy shoe analogy!

    • Thanks, Susan. It occurred to me last night how starting a new project (be it writing, crafting, cooking or whatever) is like buying a new ‘toy’. The true test is in whether you’ll ‘use’ it after the ‘sparkly’ period wears off.

      • Such true words. Our closets and drawers are full of items that the “sparkly” has worn off of. Only the rare find makes it into our hearts as loved items. I love the enthusiasm and excitement I feel when I start a new project; my dream is to maintain that “sparkle” long enough to actually complete SOMEthing….anything.

  3. Madhu

    Congratulations on your website., ., love your analogy.,and also love how you put your simple idea into beautiful words.

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