I hate manicures. I can’t stand the wasted time and money — and it feels like a waste because three days after, my nail polish is chipped and my hands look like crap. Again. But now they have this stuff called “shellac” or “gel”. And a manicure actually lasts two to three weeks. Okay, so that’s worth the effort now and again.
So there I was yesterday, impatient to be done, when I realized my manicure was a lot like writing. I was thinking about writing because I had a difficult scene to do when I got home. I knew a few things had to happen during the scene, and that it was going to be emotional and would need to do justice to the feelings and motivations of three characters. I knew what the scene needed, but how to do it all? Um…well, no flippin’ idea.
Then the nail tech applied the base coat, told me to put my hands under the ultraviolet light to dry. And left. She did this 3 more times: 2 layers of color and a layer of top coat. It took FOREVER to do my nails. (And I gotta tell ya, my nails aren’t long.)
And then it hit me. It takes this much time to do my nails right. It takes layers. It takes waiting and watching. It’s a PROCESS.
And the ultraviolet light went off in my head. All I had to do with my scene was apply the base coat. The foundation. Once I let it set, I could go back and apply the color: the nuances and the gestures and the atmosphere and setting. And once that set, I could take a closer look and add another layer of color. And finally, after it had time to gel on the page and in my mind, I could put the finishing touches on it.
And I went home and I tackled my scene. Just the base coat. But that was okay. Tomorrow, I’m adding the color.