Friday, December 5, 2014

Cleaning the Bathroom

I'm sure I'm not the only one who hates chores.  Cleaning is so tedious.  Sure, I love how it looks afterwards, when everything is so sparkly and fresh, but the act of cleaning?  Bleh. 

My husband feels the same way about mowing.  The back and forth, back and forth, pick up sticks, push the mower, avoid the trees, around the flowerbeds...  Afterwards, he always looks out over the yard and says "Yep, this is why we mow."  Because it always looks so pretty. 

Right now, I'm thick in the edits for the novel I'm self-publishing next year.  And it's like cleaning the bathroom after weeks of neglect.  You start out thinking it's going to be a simple thing.  But then you start, and you're cleaning this when you notice that, and everything suddenly looks so much messier than it did when you first decided to clean.  It makes you want to just throw the sponge down and walk away.  So what if it'll be better when you're done.  You're the only one who'll ever see it.

Except you won't.  Because unlike all the other times you've cleaned, this time your anal-retentive MOTHER-IN-LAW is coming, and she'll bring out the white gloves to run along your moldings.  (Mine's nice, btw.  This is an analogy.  Just go with it.) 

Suddenly every speck of dust is magnified 100x larger than it would be otherwise.  Your dust bunnies have taken on gargantuan proportions.  So you find yourself wanting to take a toothbrush to the tiles until the grout sparkles. 

So, you've got a choice.  Kill yourself trying to make everything perfect or give up entirely and hope she doesn't convince the world you suck - forgetting that you have another option: Do the best you can and if she finds a speck of dust in your otherwise tidy bathroom, thank her for pointing it out and go on about your life. 

Right now, this manuscript is a mess.  But it's not nearly as messy as it seems when I step back from it and get a grip.  It'll be shiny and tidy for my readers.  And if one of them finds something I missed, all I can do try harder next time.  All I concentrate on now is how pretty it'll be when I'm done.  (It's always prettier when you first get done - before you get a chance to notice how much cleaner it could've been.)

Now, if you'll pardon me, I have grout to scrub.  ;o)


jblynn said...

That's a great analogy. So true.
It's why people pay people to clean their homes…and why we pay editors. ;-)

Stick with it. The end result will be worth it!

Silver James said...

What JB said! And yeah, working on the edits of MOON SHOT is like cleaning the toilet. And in my case, it was my mother. ;)

Karyn Good said...

Keep scrubbing. It'll be worth it. Working on the final/prelimnary galley edits for Exposed and it is always at this point when my confidence in the story takes a nose dive. Always. You're not alone, I'm scrubbing away too.

B.E. Sanderson said...

Thanks, JB! I'm sticking with it. The chapters I've cleaned so far really are sparkly-good.

That's two votes, Silver! Aww, I wouldn't think of Moon Shot as the toilet. And lucky for me, my mom isn't a neat freak. (Also, luckily, neither is Hubs.)

Scrubbing away, Karyn! Ugh, I hate the nose-diving confidence part. I'm sure you'll make it as awesome as you've made the others.

Aisyah Putri Setiawan said...

Banned complain !! Complaining only causes life and mind become more severe. Enjoy the rhythm of the problems faced. No matter ga life, not a problem not learn, so enjoy it :)

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