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 We could do our business just fine in that small, outdated space.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. :)