Writing and Water Balloons — Take Aim!


This weekend I thought I would surprise the kids by filling up a tub of water balloons for them to smash on each other’s heads in rapid succession.  Could it get any better than that? 

I tip-toed into the laundry room, giddy with purpose.  “Be there in a minute,” I called, imagining the afternoon of water-fun bliss, and the “Rockin’ Awesome Mom Award” I was sure to receive by sundown. 

An hour later, my giddiness had turned to pissed-off-ness (and, no award) — I had only filled a whopping thirty balloons.  Other statistics included; ten in-face explosions, 500 balloon fragments strewn on the floor, and one neon green “ring” on my tying finger that wouldn’t come off (By the way, is it normal for a finger-tip to look purple?).  It took over an hour to fill them: It took seventeen seconds to witness their demolition. 

But, oh, that seventeen seconds was pure delight!

Writing is often like filling up water balloons; time-consuming, frustrating, painful and messy.  At times, your stories will even blow up in your face.  You may not get a green ring out of the deal, but if you write long-hand, you’re likely to have a red welt on your middle finger. 

But, remember the “pure delight” part?  You get that, too.  Instead of balloons, we pick up our pens and keyboards and take aim to hit our victims, um, audience, with our best shot.

Think of your readers laughing out loud at the exact piece of dialogue you had chuckled over, or pausing in admiration at your painstakingly phrased metaphor.  And, most importantly, think of them going on to the next sentence, paragraph, or page to read more. 

Hours of work, for seconds of delight?  It just might be worth it after all.

11 thoughts on “Writing and Water Balloons — Take Aim!”

  1. Comparing filling up water balloons to writing was a very amusing analogy, thank you. I will have to keep it in mind for the next time I have issues with writing or wonder where the fun is.


  2. You’re welcome — If thinking about it doesn’t work, you can always just throw water balloons at your editor for fun. Thanks for stopping by!


  3. Oh a water balloon fight?! You deserve that award!! 🙂
    And wonderful analogy- writing is exactly like that, “Hours of work, for seconds of delight” and it is all worth it 😉


    1. Thanks, Lua, but when you slam the basket at their feet saying, “Here’s your stinkin’ water balloons,” all awards are null and void.


  4. Great post Amanda! Yes, writing is most definitely like that. You can pour years of your life into one book and it can take a reader (in J.K. Rowling’s instance) only a few hours to devour the book.


  5. “if you write long-hand, you’re likely to have a red welt on your middle finger”
    I do! All my first drafts are still in long-hand (and all my old stuff pre-computer is mostly long-hand, some it typewritten with *gasp* a manual typewriter) and as I also like to draw… my poor middle finger is all disfigured! 😉


    1. I used to write my first drafts in long-hand, too, but eventually I just couldn’t handle my thoughts running faster than my hand. My typing is like lightning!


  6. Not a writer but definitely a water balloon filler. Just filled 150 balloons for a baseball party. At one point, I had to stop because my finger was (what I thought at the time) permanently dented in a purplish-greenish hue. Glad to to tell you that the color did return and the dent only lasted a day or two. By the way, between 9 baseball players and their siblings – the water ballons lasted a whopping 90 seconds.


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