You can find this particular door in Ribe, Denmark.

The thing about doors…sometimes you open one and it leads you somewhere entirely different than you imagined. Maybe the door is a castle-worthy door with wrought-iron details, but then the inside is just…disappointing. Like a foul-smelling locker room or a sterile doctor’s office.

Or maybe its the other way around: humble door, breath-stealing inside. Or maybe the door turns out to be a trick door, leading into solid brick or a slab of gray concrete. Or maybe the door is bolted or you don’t have the key to unlock it (or for the life of you, can’t pry the lock open). Or maybe pesky guards shoo you away, telling you no visitors are allowed or that opening hours have passed (sometimes, permanently). Or maybe what you find makes you run away screaming. Or maybe you’ve been standing in front of the wrong door all along.

But even if you are able to open the door and the inside matches the door’s promise, you don’t see the inside all at once. Maybe the door needs oiling and takes its sweet time to swing open. Maybe your eyes need time to adjust to dimness or brightness. Maybe you feel overwhelmed at the grandeur (or the lack thereof) and need time to digest. After a while, new details emerge. You can enter the room, explore nooks and crannies, see, feel, smell, listen (don’t start licking priceless artifacts, though…). Maybe you decide you don’t want to spend as much time on the inside as you thought. Maybe you’re more comfortable in, and more inspired by, a comfortable inside rather than a grandiose one: a snug nursery rather than a hollow grand hall.

Today it struck me how writing is a bit like opening a door. Writing this post makes me realize it’s *a lot* like opening a door. You draw the parallels. The promise of a shiny new idea that quickly falls on its face. The realization that the story world you’re working on is not where you (or your characters) want to be. The discovery of a quirky doorstop in a dull character’s apartment that makes you realize the character really should be your story’s hero (or villain).

Writing this post, however, also makes me realize the metaphor of the door is extremely well suited to life in general. A life door sometimes carries so much promise, looks so shiny and new, but once we open it, the inside severely underwhelm us or perhaps even proves dangerous to our souls. Or the other way around. Perhaps we overlook modest doors because they can’t possibly lead anywhere exciting. Or maybe the thought of opening any door paralyzes us (It will lead nowhere! I won’t find my way out again! What if I get lost? Eaten by monsters?) and we miss out on opportunities to grow, to help others, to love.

Doors and what hides behind them: frightening, thrilling, surprising, disappointing…Pretty much embodies writing and life, don’t you agree?

Plus, doors – kind of the same idea as book covers, no? Don’t judge a room by its door!

What are some of the doors in your writing and/or life? Any unexpected surprises after opening the doors? Ever run out screaming? Done the best with the mess you found inside, later realizing that the door, despite the mess, was the best one you could have taken?

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