Square Dancing as a Metaphor for Writing

Writers tend to think in metaphors, and have a penchant for turning non-literary stuff into something literary. And so because of that, a great many non-writing things in life can be held up as useful for the writing life.

I have recently begun taking square dancing lessons (you may laugh if you wish). I live in a small town, and square dancing is a big thing here. And with good reason – it’s a fun, family-friendly activity that people of all ages can do together, and it’s good exercise. I’m really enjoying it, and I’m learning a lot. And, because I’m a writer, I’m applying it to my writing life, too.

Dancing/Writing is not a Solitary Activity

While square dancing requires a minimum of eight people, writing tends to be something that one does all alone. And while it’s true that the act of writing is a solitary venture, getting a publishable book into the world is not. Ideally, a writer has critique partners or beta readers, an editor, perhaps a cover designer, and of course readers.

Dancing/Writing is a Lot of Work

Square dancing is good exercise – you never stand still for more than two seconds. It’s a lot of mental work, to – remembering all the moves, paying attention to the beat of the music, the positions of the other dancers, and the directions of the caller all at the same time. And as for writing – if you’ve ever written anything, from a school paper to a poem to a novel, I don’t have to tell you that writing can be hard work.

Dancing/Writing is a Lot of Fun

Some serious square dancers are seriously talented, but even the serious dancers say that it’s important to have fun! I think writing should be fun, too. Yes, it’s hard, and yes, we often write about hard and serious topics – but in the end, there should be some element of enjoyment to it.

Writing, like square dancing, should be fun!


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