Friday, June 29, 2007


I can’t believe I’m saying this, but here’s what I’m most looking forward to this weekend: cleaning my house. Normally this is a task I abhor. Sure, the end result is nice, but not the process. There are a million other things I’d rather do. I often ask Roscoe, our Shih Tzu, why he can’t make himself useful all day and do a little dusting and sweeping while I’m at work. (A hot meal on the table at 5:30 would be nice, too.)

But for once, I am itching to clean. Why? Because midst the demolition and dust of remodeling our downstairs bathroom over the past few weeks, cleaning had become a completely worthless effort. Not a pleasant sight, and I’ve actually missed being able to do it. Thankfully, the worst is over. Demolition is done; new plumbing and drywall are in place; sparkling white shower, tub, toilet, and sink will replace rust-stained relics. Let the painting and prettying begin! I can’t wait to attack the layers of dust and grime and get my house back in order.

I don’t enjoy home improvement projects. The whole messy process just stresses me out. And really, we could have survived with our bathroom the way it was. Everything was functional. We could do our business just fine in that small, outdated space. But we knew it could be improved, and the end result is worth all the work and inconvenience.

I’m sure many of you have been frustrated when remodeling a manuscript. You turn in a story you think is just fine the way it is, but then some editor hacks away and you’ve got to rethink and reconstruct the whole thing. It can be a maddening process, but not if you keep the right attitude and remember the end result is worth it. Editors don’t want your story to be just functional. Sure, you might have had all the elements you needed – plot, characters, conflict; a beginning, middle, and end. But maybe they can be so much better. Your editors read with fresh eyes and a new perspective, and they want your story to be exceptional, not “just fine.”

So, embrace your edits. Be thankful for them, no matter how excruciating they can be. Learn and grow and become better writers because of them.

I’ll try to be more thankful for cleaning and home improvement projects. :)


Mary Connealy said...

JoAnne is NESTING!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I'm hard at work rewriting my cozy mystery because I dropped the ball somehow and let all the conflict escape. (Uh...that might be a mixed metaphor). But once I figured out how to keep the torture level high for the romance element and trotted out a few more red herrings (okay, can herrings trot?)
I'm having fun again.
But, I have to say, as a STAUNCH disorganized home executive, that I never...not for one second...had an overwhelming urge to CLEAN when I was expecing. Kept hoping, but nope...nothin'.
On a connected note, I once read a book called...? Disorganized Home Executives and the book had an organization to join called...I think it was "Messies Anonymous". Well, I thought SUPPORT GROUP and joined...
They never got back to me. No response. I figured whoever started it lost my enrollment letter in a mountain of junk mail and non-folded clean laundry.
Or maybe they DID respond and I lost their return letter in a mountain of junk mail and non-folded laundry.
Either way, THIS was an organization that was doomed to fail from the beginning.

JoAnne said...

LOL, Mary! You are too funny :)

Drema Drudge said...

I know it sounds crazy but I like it when my writing is criticized by those qualified to do so -- it just makes my work stronger.

Of course it can get nerve-racking too but I just remind myself that in the end I will be a better writer and my writing will benefit.

Ah, remodeling! We survived a bathroom remodel once -- we ended up living in a hotel for 3 weeks with our newly adopted nine-year-old son and fourteen-year-old daughter.

Actually it helped us bond tighter as a family. Their father told them Igor Denisovich stories he created each night about a man in Russia and his frozen cow, complete with an accent!

Thankfully you got your remodeling done before you baby got here. Enjoy the beautifying -- that's the fun part.

Christa said...

I hope this doesn't post twice---I'm not sure what happened to the first one...

When we remodeled, I learned to expect the unexpected. When it came to contractors, however, I learned to unexpect the expected.

I am sure this applies to my writing!

Jennifer Johnson said...

This is in response to Mary...I actually postponed a C-section that my doctor insisted I have at-that-very-moment with my third daughter because I had laundry to iron.

The true iron-y is once I got home I got so scared because I'd talked the doctor into letting me go home for two days that I was afraid to leave my bed. Needless to say, the laundry was still there when babe #3 and I got home from the hospital some five days later.

Hmm. I wonder where those clothes went. In nine years I know I still haven't ironed it.

Oh yeah, we moved. :D