My House is Cleaner than Yours.

Often people ask me how I keep my house so clean.

Just kidding. No one ever, in the history of the world, has ever asked me that.

In fact, no matter how hard I try, my house is perpetually a mess. And I know I’m supposed to write that it’s okay and we all should let things go and be content. A time and a season, etc. but right now, it’s not feeling okay. Like I am literally wading through laundry and boots and spilled milk and not-so-clean-underwear and legos and banana peels and bags for goodwill (I’m triying!!) and bags for recycling (I’m so responsible!!) and towels and backpacks and cords (why are there so many cords?) and little men and crayons and on and on and on.

It will never end.

I get that.

But you know what will end? The book you’re working on.

IF

IF

IF

you’re willing to tear it apart.

Sometimes when I’m in the middle of a draft, a revision usually, I’ll think that the mess I’ve made with my manuscript is so big, so unmanageable, that the thing will be a mess forever. One small change messes up other things down the road and once I fix those, I have to go back and fix things in the beginning again. Over and over and over again. It gets so bad, in fact, that at times, I’m tempted to quit. To think I can’t finish it. To decide the idea was no good in the first place or to talk myself into moving to the newer shinier novel idea.

If you are at this stage, where the book is so messy and no matter how hard you try, it just seems to get worse and worse and worse, take heart! There is an end. It’s one of my favorite things about writing. Sometimes the book has to get messier to get better and if we’ll have courage, be willing to deal with mess after mess after mess, the end result, when it’s “done” will be so much better than you ever dreamed it could be.

It’s not like laundry at all, thank goodness. It’s like tearing down a pretty good house and getting all dirty and horrible and then, with the help of writing friends and editors and our own gut, putting it back together again–seeing ¬†possibilities, cutting unnecessary scenes and creating new avenues in the process.

So worth the effort.

Do not give up and be grateful for revision. GRATEFUL! I feel like books become what they’re supposed to be in this part of the writing process.

The end.

Off to do laundry as she steps on an orange slice.

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4 Comments

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4 responses to “My House is Cleaner than Yours.

  1. So my life. I keep thinking of that tune Carol Burnett sings in Annie, “Little girls, little girls, everywhere I look I see them!” But mine are little boys! The house will probably stay a mess, but the writing I can fix! Thanks for the great post!

  2. CLW

    The important things always change. Kids. Lives. Families. Books, they are sorta important and they change, too.

  3. Great post. You are doing the good things, with the family and with the writing, all done with love and commitment. You make a difference in so many lives.

  4. I keep a sign posted in my office:
    A Clean House is the Sign of a Wasted Life.
    Period.
    I believe it. Love seeing photos posted of the leetle geel, as my boys called their sister.

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