Friday, August 12, 2011

7 things I learned about writing from HGTV's House Hunters

Do you have a favorite television show that inspires you?  HGTV's House Hunters inspires me to be creative in my home, writing and work spaces.  House Hunters gives you a real life potential home buyer scenario..  We tour their current living situation, listen to their wish list and then examine 3 houses.  Which one will they pick?  House #1 with the big backyard, House #2 with the unfinished basement or House #3 with the 45 minute commute?  Then, after we all vote, they reveal their choice.  The best part is seeing how they put their touch on the place.  Sometimes, it's a total remodel, sometimes it's just a few changes.

House Hunters reminds me of my writing life.  Choosing a house is never easy.  It requires research, dedication and motivation. 

1:  You always have options.  Potential home buyers never buy the first house they look at.  They weigh the pros and cons of 3 different places they look at.  When I write, I always have a few scenes in mind, a few more characters to create and few more endings to pick from.  No one says you have to stick with your first draft.  That's what I like to call "Writer Freedoom."  It's my story, I'll change it if I want to!

2.  Be sure to pick the best fit.   When buying a house, be sure it is the best fit for you.  It might fit someone else's family, not yours.  When writing, keep in mind your story may fit one magazine, not another.  Although, like remodeling, it is easy to edit and rewrite a few sections of your work to get it to fit another type of publication.

3.  Don't go over budget.  Many times, the realtors on House Hunters show the buyers houses that are way over their budget. Unless you can offer a price that is within your budget, might as well not even look at the house.  It is important not to go "house poor."  Keep word count in mind when writing for certain publications.  Do not submit something that is over the word count.

4.  Put your touch on what you own.  The Reveal at the end of the show gives us an idea of how the homeowners changed it to fit their needs and style.  Writers need to put their style into their writing, find their voice.

5.  Don't forget to ask for help.  Young home buyers ask parents, siblings, or friends for help in their big decision.   Writers can ask their critique group, social media friends or editor, I like to read my story to my son and ask him if he likes what I wrote or how he could think of a different ending.

6.  Figure out what's most important before you start.  What are your priorities?  If you want a house with 3 bedrooms, don't settle for 1 bedroom just because it has a pool.  Writers need to set goals each week to figure out what is the most important projects to finish.  Prioritize them and finish the one that is most important first.  Don't fill up your day with tweets and emails when you really wanted to write 2,000 words in your WIP.

7.  Trust your instincts.  If it feels wrong when you walk in, don't buy it.  Maybe home buyers say: "It felt like home when we walked in."  Your writing should feel right and sound right.  The opening paragraph should be the best first impression.  Readers will keep reading if it feels right!

Please share your favorite show.  How does it inspire you?


Psychodynamom said...

I love that show. Actually, everything on the channel!

Sherrie Koretke said...

Hi Pamela,
House Hunters is my favorite HGTV show! How fun of you to relate it to writing. It's amazing how we can find things that relate to our field from looking at a different one.

BarbaraB said...

Hi Pam,
Your paralells are spot on. This is a good way to asses one's writing.
My daughter likes to watch the house hunter and home improvment shows.

Pam said...

Thanks for visiting, everyone. Sherrie, my husband thought I was crazy, writing a blog post about House Hunters, but it was fun!
Barb, we can find lots of parallels to compare our writing to. It was a fun exercise.
Pyschodynamom, I love HGTV. I hardly ever watch anything else.
Happy Blogging!

Cathy Miller said...

Great analogy, Pam. I love shows that feature the creative side - Chopped, The Next Food Network Star, Project Runway.

If we ignore the staged drama, there are some real life lessons.

Love the post, Pam-sharing. :-)

Pam said...

Cathy, I haven't watched Chopped...I will have to look for it. Life lessons are everywhere, if we look for them.
Thanks for visiting!

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