Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Clean House Clean Office Clean Slate

Well good morning gentle readers. I hope you had an enjoyable Memorial Day weekend filled with fun and frolic. I'm sorry to say mine was filled with buckets of hot soapy water and rags, brooms, dust pans, vacuum cleaners and laundry baskets. It rained off and on most of the weekend and was pretty much miserable so I decided to clean the house.

I don't know if it works for you, but I can NOT sit down to a new ms. without having my house completely clean. I also straightened out the mind boggling mess on my desk and cleaned the office. Oh there's nothing to put me in a good frame of mind when everything is shiny clean.

So, I started working on the old ms. THE CAPTAIN'S HOUSE. OH. MY. GOD. I hate to toot my own horn, but I have come a L-O-N-G way since starting that four years ago. It's not bad, but boy howdy, it's not good either. The writing I mean. The plot is good, simple enough for category, the 'formula' is there, the characters are real, even the secondary ones, but the writing is weak. SO weak. I found 17 'was' in the first paragraph alone. Yikes.

Anyway, I read through the first 40k over the weekend (in between cleaning) and decided I couldn't do anything further with it until I cleaned it up considerably. It was just too ugly to even look at. I've also made notes on the chapters to take out a few scenes that just don't move the story forward -- middle sag. (I can't believe how immature this book is.)

My inner editor is raging at my stupidness. But then again, that's how we learn isn't it?

So that's that for that. I've also been blogging around and I'm finding more and more of us are cutting back to M-W-F posts. Which I think is pretty good. Most of you have been around for as long as I have and we're all pretty much connected to the same "friends", we've all read the same posts, now I think, it's just a matter of getting back to work. We know we're not going anywhere, even if we take a break, we know we're just an e-mail away if need be. Besides, it's summer. I know my schedule is taking on a whole new reality. Up at 5 so I can get a little quiet time before Monster Baby gets up. I used to use that time to blog, but now I think I'm taking that time to write. I'll follow my blogs at night after supper now.

And speaking of which, I just want you all to know that even though I might not comment, I read you all. I adjusted my Google Reader and made folders and compiled my list so I can take up less time. Following the blogroll is just a huge time suck. Google Reader is just so much easier. So please don't feel as if I've abandoned you. I just can't do everything I want to anymore. Time is of the essence these days.

So there we are. I'm also trying Gwen's Summer Challenge. I've got to go back and put the little emblem on my blog (if Blogger will let me this time. Oh, such a bad Blogger these last few days.) I might even break down and get one of those widget things to mark my progress. I KNOW, that's so daring for me!

And for those of you who are wondering about Genna & Tony -- it's still there, just not on the front burner anymore. If I can get as much done on THE CAPTAIN'S HOUSE as I'd like, I might be persuaded to work on G&T again. There's a big scene coming up the night of the 4th of July party but I have to let it stew for awhile. I've got two options for Genna that night -- Pete or Tony -- I'm just not sure what she wants to do yet. She hasn't told me.

So, that's it from my little corner of the blogosphere. I hope you are all having productive weeks and writing your little fingers to the bone. I'll see you Friday at the Piedmont Grille.


KarenG said...

A clean house is so freeing. If money were no object I'd have a housecleaning service. I'm having to cut way back on my commenting too so I know just what you mean. Enjoy your clean house and your awesome manuscript!

~Nicole Ducleroir~ said...

Since the kids have been out of school, we developed an allowance program for them. Now, for a couple dollars a week, we put aside 30 minutes of every morning and clean house together. I put something loud and upbeat on XM radio and we blow through the place, putting everything back in its place. For the last twenty minutes, we converge on one room in the house, and the three of us power clean it. That way, once a week every room gets spit polished, but no one day feels overwhelmed with cleaning. So far, it's working great and the kids have a ball.

I loved what you said about all of us in the same boat, reading the same blogs everyday, feeling the same pressure to keep up. You're right. We're friends now, all of us, and it's okay to breathe. Write our books, knowing the others are still there, cheering us on.

Best of luck with the four-year old MS. Isn't it wonderful to see your craft developing!

Christine Danek said...

I love a clean house. It clears my mind. Good luck with revisions and your writing challenge. I get all caught up with trying to keep up with all the blogs but I think everyone understands. We are all writing, revising, keeping up with life. We are always there when someone needs support. No matter what.
Good luck!

DL Hammons said...

I'm not expecting to be very productive the next two weeks. I'm off to Chicago this evening for the rest of the week and then I'm in San Antonio the whole of next week for a conference. I'll still be checking in...but posting & commenting might be limited. :)

Have an enjoyable week!

Jen said...

A clean house is a must for me before working on a WiP it keeps your ideas nice and fresh, well as fresh as they can be, I know those first drafts are leaving much to be desired but you get my point!

Happy writing of this week and I look forward to coming back for the Piedmont Grille! I'm hoping for a productive writing week, last night was the first breakthrough I've had in awhile!

Ted Cross said...

I'm the opposite - I prefer a comfortable mess! If it gets cleaned up then I lose track of where things are.

Piedmont Writer said...

Karen -- One of the first things I'm going to do when I get advance money is hire a professional to come in and go crazy. It'll be like a birthday present to myself.

Nicole -- I've bribed Monster Baby with everything imaginable but she just won't help me. I'm hoping perhaps next year when she's a little older she'll become the perfect daughter. And just exactly how far away are we from one another? I know it's two hours to SC, and then another hour to Atlanta from where I am, I think. Maybe after you get back from France we could try to meet. Wouldn't that be fun?

Christine -- You know, we all know the mechanics of how to write, we've all read the super blogs and super agents already. It's just a matter of carving time out of an already hectic schedule to make room for writing. Blogging is great but it's like my sister-in-law, she's great for a few hours but after 4pm it's time for her to go home.

DL -- Stay safe on your trips. And what about those revisions? Are you finished? You should be working on them, not blogging. LOL.

Jen -- Congratulations on the breakthrough! Those are awesome!

Ted -- Oh Ted, I didn't mean to mislead you. I START OUT with a clean house, clean ms. and as I work on it, the house turns into a pigsty, you can't see the wood on the desk top and if Monster Baby has clean clothes, it's a miracle.

Tara said...

I've been a bad bloggger lately. The time just isn't there - getting ready for a long summer away from home is time consuming. Not too mention cleaning and trying to get as much done on the WiP as possible before the kids get out next week!

You're more than welcome to come clean my place next ;)

Stina Lindenblatt said...

I wish I could start cleaning my house before starting a new ms, but usually that doesn't happen.

Even though I only blog on MWF, I'm still checking out blogs on TR. But they're the ones I didn't read on MWF. I'm following so many great ones, it's the only way I can do it. I'm still not sure what I'll do once the kids get out of school later this month.

Christi Goddard said...

I managed to write Chapter 10 over the weekend, and have spent the last couple of days trying to get inspired to start Chapter 11. Stupid funk. I wish it would end.

Jaydee Morgan said...

I'm not a clean freak by nature so if the house fell down around me, I'm not sure I'd notice. However, before I can write, my writing area needs to be spotless. This is the only place I can't handle a mess - unless I'm just brainstorming or editing.

Lydia Kang said...

I can't work surrounded by clutter. Totally.

And hello from a MWF blogger. Isn't it so much more...sane this way?

Susan Fields said...

I'm cleaning the house this week in preparation for my in-laws' visit this weekend. I doubt I've cleaned this deep since the last time they visited (at least two years ago). So that's my only goal for this week, but I sure would love to make some progress on shining up the old wip I just dug off the computer. We'll see! And I thought the same thing when I started rereading that wip - man, I've come a long way!

Lola Sharp said...

I can write with a messy house, no prob.
In fact, a sparkling clean house in my world means I'm being a bad writer and using Procrastinating Technique 101...avoiding the WiP.

It's exciting to look back and see how far our writing has come, yes?

(Tony still has my vote)


Tahereh said...

i totally understand -- at least for me, my workspace has to be clean or i go nutso!


VR Barkowski said...

It's hard not to cringe when we dig out the old stuff, but on the other hand it's so great to see how far we've come, isn't it? Good luck with THE CAPTAIN'S HOUSE.

The only thing I dislike more than clutter is cleaning up after someone else and my better half, bless his messy little heart, is a hoarder. Therefore, my work space is pristine and the rest of the house is a disaster. I refuse to clean unless we have guests.

Bossy Betty said...

I have no problem with a messy house. In fact my husband came home once, saw me surrounded by my writing stuff and the house was a complete mess and he said, "So you had a good day today, didn't you?" and he really meant it. It had been!!"

Though it is sometimes painful to go back over old stuff, isn't it wonderful to see how you've progressed as a writer? I sometimes cringe, but at least I have more things figured out now than when I originally wrote the first draft!

Davin Malasarn said...

I always clean before I have to do something big. In a way, it's procrastination, but it also clears my head, as you say. Good luck with your revisions!

And I also agree that we've all sort of graduated from blogging in a way. I think as writers we go through phases of needing to reach out, ut then if we want to write, we eventually have to work on our own again.

Courtney Barr - The Southern Princess said...

I have to clean. It is an addiction. Now granted I don't live in a spotless house (don't forget I have a dog and a husband ;o) ) But I do like it presentable to me & if company were to drop in.

As for commenting on all the ones I read - I know it is hard! So many great things, so many great writers so little comment time!

Visit My Kingdom Anytime

Falen said...

our house was completely clean before memorial day. and then of couse, all the food and fun of the holiday made it messy again.
c'est la vie.

Anonymous said...

I don't need my area to be completely clean but I do need to have things in their places. I can totally relate to finding old manuscripts! It makes me shudder when I read how horrible some of them are. But I just remind myself that 1) I was a teenager at the time, 2) since then I've received a BA in English writing, and 3) they aren't really as bad as I'm making them out to be.

Happy revising and good luck!

Ed Pilolla said...

there certainly is a sense of liberation in an organized state. after i do bills and other personal infastructure, get all the bs done, i love the creative energy that come roaring through...usually:)

Patti said...

I definitely relate to the time issue. You can't do it all. I'm going to look into that Google reader thing.

Talli Roland said...

Sounds like you got some good house-cleaning and mind-cleaning done at the same time! Isn't it nice to look back at old work and see how much you've improved? :) Happy Wednesday!

Portia said...

I'm the same way about a clean house. Monday morning I was running around the house frantically cleaning because I knew I couldn't sit down to my deadline until the house was clean. Funny how that works, isn't it? My hubby thinks I'm weird :-)

Piedmont Writer said...

Tara -- To be fair, I usually only clean my house every two months (except for the kitchen and bathroom.) I don't think you'd want me at your place.

Stina -- Oh what are we going to do with the kids out of school?

Christi -- Any writing is better than none and at least you're writing. I'm revising.

Jaydee -- I wait until I just can't stand it one more second. Otherwise I just let it go.

Lydia -- M-W-F is SO much easier!

Susan -- It will make you feel so much better once the house is clean for the in-laws. And after they leave, you'll have a shiny new house to start on that wip.

Lola -- I know you love Tony, I'm just not sure how much of a jerk I really want him to be.

Tahereh -- My mess has to be at least organized. That's why I don't clean as much as I should.

Piedmont Writer said...

VR -- Monster Baby is the one who makes all the mess. Of course. I naturally put everything back in its place. LOL.

Betty -- I love your husband!

Davin -- Yeah, I agree, I think we do all go through phases and now we've all know each other for awhile, it's nice to know we can leave and come back and be missed while we're gone.

Courtney -- Oh, so little time! It's so frustrating.

Sarah -- C'est la vie. My house was spotless on Monday. Not so much anymore.

E. Elle -- They're not really as bad as you thought them to be. It's not bad, just messy.

Ed -- I love that -- personal infrastructure. Once everything is done, your mind is free to do what it wants.

Pattie -- Google Reader is great.

Talli -- Oh how much I've improved. At least I hope so.

Portia -- No, tell hubby there are others out here just like you.

Terry Towery said...

I don't really have much to add, but I thought I'd chime in because, well, because I like you and wanted you to know I was here reading your blog! :)

I'm currently just stuck. Not sure why, but I seem to have (temporarily, I hope) lost my will to write. Oh well. It happens. Guess I'll play some video games until it returns.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I can go only so long with stuff like that hanging over my head. It's just that one project tends to lead to another...

Shelley Sly said...

I so know what you mean about the old manuscripts. But congrats on coming so far! I wish you best of luck with anything and everything that you're working on.

Re: Genna & Tony -- I want you to work on whatever you feel like working on. But you know I'll always love that story. And the more I think about it, I'd be okay if Genna went with either man, because I trust that you'd have a good reason for that decision. No matter what, I'd read it. I love the drama.

Rena said...

I did some cleaning over the holiday weekend too. It was hard because I had to pick up stuff from my kitty, who I had to put down awhile back. I still had some of her toys and a little box in my room. Hard to get that picked up. :(

Palindrome said...

That's great news!! It's always nice to start fresh...with the house and the writing.

Solvang Sherrie said...

Ha! I usually clean the house when I'm trying to avoid writing ;P

notesfromnadir said...

I think it's symbolic that you clean up and then work on a manuscript. Wish I had that much ambition!

Sounds like you've improved a lot in the past 4 years. You should be happy with your progress & know that you're only going to get even better!

Anonymous said...

Yay for a clean house! Whenever I settle down with a new project, be it writing or studying, having a clean desk space always makes me feel better. :)

Also, I am amazed when other posters manage to post M-W-F, let alone 5 days a week. I've just tried to blog more regularly, and it does take so much longer. And oh, Google Reader does make it so much easier to read.

Good luck with your revisions.

Dominique said...

I know for a fact I don't have your dedication to keeping things clean. I am in awe of you.

Good luck with the revisions. I'm sure you'll get the ms where you want it to be. I have confidence in you. :)

Crystal Cook said...

You are one productive woman. I love a clean house, but sometimes feel so overwhelmed with it all (kids and house and husband and dogs) that I just have to sit and write to mentally recharge before I tackle it all. I wish I was more like you :)

I'm writing my 'first' book, lots of halfways, but this is the first one I'm sticking with, and I am wondering a lot how it will read when I look back on it. Hopefully I won't die of laughter :)

I love your blog posts, because of you :) I know life is hectic and I want you to know that every time you stop at my blog I get a big old smile. Silly right? But that's just how I am. Good luck Anne with all your work!

Wendy Marcus said...

There's nothing better than a clean, organized office! (Or knowing you won't have to clean/organize it again for another few months!)

Piedmont Writer said...

Terry -- We'll talk more about this later.

Alex -- Well, that's okay, cleaning is cleaning and I often get sidetracked so it all works out in the end.

Shelley -- My true main goal is to get both manuscripts finished before the summer is over. We'll see if I can pull it off.

Rena -- I know, you poor dear. It will get better with time.

Hannah -- Yay me!!

Sherrie -- That only works for so long with me then I really have to write.

Lisa -- It's not so much ambition as guilt. And dust bunnies. When they start to overrun the house, I know I have to do something drastic.

Sandy -- Don't feel you have to keep up to anything other than what you feel comfortable with. We're always here.

Dominique -- Please don't be in awe. On any given day my house is a wreck. This was just one of those clean-the-house-or-not-find-Monster-Baby-for-a-week things.

Crystal -- Aww, you're sweeter than a speckled pup in a red wagon on a green lawn. Thank you.

Wendy -- Hey thanks for hanging out here! And yes, quite a few months to be exact.

Michelle Davidson Argyle said...

Wow on all the rain! We had a fairly nice weekend here. I know how you feel looking at something you wrote so long ago. I've ended up rewriting the book that I did that with. I couldn't salvage it, the poor thing. Just had to start over, and I'm afraid that if I want the book to work now (that was three years ago) I'd have to rewrite it AGAIN! Ugh. I may just shelve it. :)

Good luck! No worries on commenting on posts. I know you stick around. :)

G.~ said...

Oh how I love a clean house. That, in itself is inspiring. I can't wait until I can look back on my work and be able to say, "Wow! I've come a long way." But for now, I'll just keep writing. ;)

Elliot Grace said...'s funny how it works, when us writers become readers, and see the story from a completely different perspective. This explains why my novel continues to stumble through the revision stage. Fix this...go back and trim that...grrr

Erin Kuhns said...

I went through a period where I was blogging, reading blogs and commenting religiously. But, see, I'm a somewhat slow reader (I don't read a whole book in an afternoon, unless it's Dr. Seuss) so blogging can easily take over your world--especially when there are SO many awesome blogs out there!!! Like you--and most of us--it's about finding a routine that doesn't eat into our time too much.

I read more blogs than I comment on. And sometimes, Anne, I see you have a gazillion comments, and then I don't add one--but I always want to. :)

Congrats on 151 followers AND on a clean house! (I spent allllll day cleaning my upstairs yesterday. It was a HUGE job!)

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