Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Messy Jobs

This isn't a picture of my living room, the one I'm currently stripping wallpaper from, but it might as well be. The job depicted in this google picture seems every bit as tedious as the one that's keeping me too busy to snap my own telling photo.

A piece of advice to all you writers procrastinating from editing, don't turn to wallpaper stripping. The tasks are far too similar. Tedious, messy, and apparently never-ending. Definitely not the break I was looking for.

"Think optomistically", you say as you jab me in the ribs .

Okay, if you want to be like that, then, yes, let's consider how this inconvenient project might turn out.

Once I strip away the outer "decorative" layer of the paper (reduce pet words and phrases, replace weak adverbs and adjectives with stronger verbs and adjectives, trim and strip redundancies, convert telling into showing where it is best suited), then I'm left with the really gooey layer to be soaked, then scraped ever so carefully to not damage the underlying drywall or plaster (smooth your wording into a rhythm that hums, drums, beats, or sings, modify scenes to make them shine, or remove the weaker ones if necessary and work the required nuggets into a stronger existing scene, be sure your transitions are seamless). Now the final TSP scrub is performed (one more read through to catch those sneaky unwanted left-behinds), and then we are ready for painting, because only a punishment-seeker would dare to re-wallpaper. Right?

I'll leave the painting phase for another day, as the stripping one is taxing enough for me. So, tell me, how do you go about taking a break from your manuscript so that you can dive in with a clear mind, eyes-wide-open approach to the editing phase?



86 days to reflect and celebrate our Saviour's birth.


Georgiana Daniels said...

Usually I end up digging into cleaning and doing more kid stuff when I take a break. And usually my breaks fall around Christmas, so it works out perfectly. Is it too late for you to hire out?

Eileen Astels Watson said...

Hire out? You make me laugh, Georgiana. I'm too cheap for that. If I can do it, even it takes me forever, I will to save a buck. Honestly, I'd rather put the money toward new furniture for the room, so I have to cut corners elsewhere.

That's great timing for your breaks. I wish I could plan so neatly. I know I'll be taking it real slow during December, as well. But I hope to be working on the first draft of a stand alone that's perculating right now. I just love getting the first draft down, it's the editing phase that weights heavy on me.

Wendy Love said...

I find that life forces me to take the break from my editing, and then when I can't stand life anymore I think "I have something much more fun to do" and I get into some writing for awhile. I find even editing more fun than the everyday routines.
By the way, I really enjoy your blog. I am also Canadian and a christian as well, so enjoy your references to those things.