SPRING CLEANING IN DECEMBER

Seasonal_FestivalsIf you are a writer working on a manuscript, you need to revise, revise, and revise again. Sometimes, the word revise hits the wrong chord in your brain.The sound escaping is strained. I might be writing in “B-flat” and all I hear is “C-major.” No comparison on paper or in my thoughts. I shake my head and a new idea hits. Reasonable? Who knows, but it works for me in the SPRING CLEANING episode of my home. Wanna try?

After a long, cold winter, I open my closet door and look at all the heavy coats, sweaters, wool slacks, and think…..dry clean, dry clean, and another trip to the cleaners. Then, after many trips, many uses of my credit card, I return home. These heavy items are stacked in neat piles and all I see in my closet –  bright, clean, soft, ruffled (maybe, maybe not) clothes. I feel like a released prisoner, or how I think one should feel— free and in control.

Then the idea hits hard. Compare writing and housecleaning. Do you wait until you have a  problem getting in the front door? What about closets? Are you able to find what you need, quick like in a hurry? And those pesky kitchen cupboards create chaos. These require more than just a SPRING CLEANING.

My manuscript creates havoc when I do not take the time to “clean words.” On this, we as writers can agree. The story is in our heads, minds, hearts, fingers, and clutter adds up, big time. Do not wait until the file folder will not shut, or the closet door cannot shut. Write, and write and write. When in the flow, flow with the flow, and keep the words flying across the white space before you in black letters. When the mind slows down and words creep onto the page or computer screen, this is the time to shut down and clean a closet cupboard, or at least straighten the linen closet.

Change the pace and the project. If it is winter, spring, summer or fall, the process is the same. Get going. After a few hours of stomping, throwing, discarding making decisions, I can stand back and look at the results. I can see all of the towels, sheets pillowcases–get the picture? Gee whiz, I have enough pots, pans, bowls and electric gadgets in the kitchen to last for a long time. My wallet is a little heavier. Why, I have what I need and no excess baggage.

Keep this energy turned on and find the manuscript file. There might be one, two or three files, but remember…spring clean one and see the results. Start at the beginning and read like you are being a paid worker and your employer (you) needs results. Hey, this is a big project and I do not have to finish in one day. In fact, it is better continued over a few weeks.

LOOK! Why did I put that word here? It has nothing to do with the scene. Keep going. This means looking at each word (pot, pan, towel, and sheet) and wondering about its use. Keep or discard. SPRING CLEAN the manuscript a little at a time until you see the words, THE END. Now, close your file folder, as you would the closet door or cupboard door and see if you feel comfortable. If not, start another SPRING CLEAN, even if the leaves have started changing. GO. GO. GO.

Doesn’t this sound better than revising, revisions and clutter? I have more fun and get a lot more accomplished, both in my manuscript and my home.

HAPPY WRITING. HAPPY SPRING CLEANING. HAPPY FUN TIMES.

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