Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Writing and Other Work

Now that my book is done, I have a looooong "to do" list of all the various and sundry things that need to be done around the house.

I always notice the difference between that sort of work and writing.

Let's say on the list I have (as I do), "Clean windows." After I've cleaned the windows, I can check that off the list. It's finished. I don't have to think about it any more. I never think "Oh, gee, I wonder if I should have used a different glass cleaner. Maybe another kind of rag. Did I miss that tricky little spot in the upper right corner? Are there streaks I'm not seeing? What will the neighbors think?"

When I'm writing a book, however, I never really feel anything is completely finished. I can't simply put a check beside something like "revise Chapter Seven." I'm always wondering if I should have done something differently. Did I choose the right series of events in the right order? Have I made the conflicts clear? Are my characters understandable and well motivated? Will some reviewer think the story stinks?

That's why it's actually kind of enjoyable to have jobs to do like "clean the windows" and "organize Christmas wrapping paper into new storage containers" (which I did yesterday).

Not necessarily as much fun as writing, but it's nice to be able to check things off a list because they are done.


CherylStJohn said...

I am cleaning because I'm preparing to hunker down for a deadline, and it's my wierd way of gearing up.

I love lists and checking things off!

Maureen McGowan said...

WOW. This really spoke to me, today. Not because I've been housecleaning. Please. Anyone who's ever been in my house knows I NEVER do that... but because, as much as I've been complaining about the amount of time I've been spending coordinating the TRW contest... I realized that I'm enjoying doing an organizing, tick tasks off the list, kind of job for a change. As much as I love writing, you're right, it's a job that's never done, that I'm never 100% happy with the results of. Nice to accomplish something more concrete once and a while.

Margaret Moore said...

I do my cleaning when the book is done, before I start the next. It does sort of clear the mind. And the more concrete clutter.

Next up, I'm cleaning out the garage to make space, so then I can get stuff out of the basement, so then I can clean out the cupboard in the rec room. I also have a lot of other little jobs to finish up.

And then I can sit back and say, "Look how tidy!" It won't stay that way for long, but it's nice while it lasts.

And my mind boggles at the logistics of running the contest, Maureen. That is a ton of admin work!