Monday, March 12, 2012

Home Revisions

That's right. Home revisions...not renovations. LOL, none of my brain cells blew away with the last cold front. I simply figure when a writer tackles spring cleaning or any other major house overhaul, it might as well be called home revisions. First of all, activities such as closet/drawer organizing, dusting, or even vacuuming provide tons of time for pondering manuscript ideas and...well, revisions. I mean, what else is a writer to think about while dusting floorboards? ;) Secondly, spring cleaning (at least the way I approach it) mimics many of the suggested methods for approaching manuscript revisions (note that I'm generalizing here...not outlining specific manuscript revision steps).

Tackle major flow/plot changes first: If I'm planning to switch kid bedrooms, rearrange furniture or move potted plants, I do it before any detailed cleaning and organizing.

Look at each scene and make sure it works: Now think of each room in your home as a separate scene. At this point, I focus on one room at a time and make sure everything in it is where it should be. Just as with eliminating anything that isn't needed in a story scene, I like to organize drawers and closets, removing any outgrown or broken items. I try to stand back and make sure the room as a whole looks and feels right from the inside out.

Line edits and other details: Ah, this is where the OCD side of me comes out ;). Those floor boards I mentioned above? You got it. Those things get dusty as hell...and no, I don't want to think about where the majority of dust comes from. Too gross. This is also when I dust each leaf on my potted plants, spot clean walls and doors with paint or my beloved Mr. Clean Magic Eraser, and clean enough nooks and crannies to drive my husband and kids insane. Oh, but the satisfaction I feel when it's all done is sublime. Nothing like sitting back and relaxing after a thorough spring cleaning (okay, maybe I'm strange, but I know there are others out there who understand what I'm talking about).

Unfortunately, unlike a manuscript that finally makes it to print/e-format, home revisions never end. Especially when there are kids around. I'm dusting and cleaning constantly, but something about seasonal changes inspires me to set the clean freak in me free and go at the house with a vengeance LOL. Knowing my 'space' is clean and clutter free also sets my creative side free. It helps me recharge and focus on my writing.

What about you? Do you love spring cleaning? What do you clean that you think most people don't bother with? Any favorite home revision tips?


  1. I hate cleaning. I also hate clutter. So I keep the place clutter free, but dirt is another story. I clean enough to keep the health department away. With two heavy-shedding dogs, it's impossible to keep spotless.

  2. Wow, you are thorough. You would to do a home revision on my house???

    I'm going to have to tackle that project soon. :(

  3. LOL. With revisions/edits on my mind lately this made me LOL. I can't say I enjoy cleaning, but I think a 'decluttering' is a great way to get the creative juices flowing!

  4. Hey Carol - The two things I hate doing are dishes and laundry...I think it's because they pile back up so quickly it just seems like a futile effort. I hear you on the dogs! My labradoodles shed little to none, but they still track in plenty of dirt ;)

    Hi Stina - LOL, just tell me when ;)

    Hi Kaily - I laughed at myself while typing it up because I figured some folks would think I was nuts ;) LOL. But even when I don't have time to dust and do the 'picky' stuff, I still declutter or I can't think clearly.

  5. This is a great analogy, Rula! I'm not quite the dynamo you are, :-), but there are certain things I need to have just-so before I can continue on with my story--are my scenes mapped out, do I have my character slang down, that sort of thing. Any housecleaning I do while I write is just a form of procrastination. :-) But now maybe you've inspired me to get rid of a few cobwebs...

  6. Hey Kathy! I can't maintain that level of cleaning on a daily basis LOL. I go into what I call my 'psycho cleaning' mode namely for spring/fall cleaning and whenever I have guests coming over. I have to tame my tendencies ;) otherwise I WILL clean just to procrastinate LOL. But so long as we're plotting in our heads while cleaning, we're doing double duty work...right? :)

  7. Ugh. That's right. Spring cleaning is coming up, which means I have to do the floor boards too--and the ceiling fans and the wood blinds. Bleh.

  8. Hey Jennifer! My spring cleaning came early because of out of town guests, as well as a 'heat wave' that put the spring in me early ;). And ditto to ugh on the wood blinds! Those were a pain! We have a two story window wall, which meant needing a ladder to get to the top blinds. I let my DH get those since he can add his 6' 2" to the ladder ;).

  9. I love spring cleaning! As a matter of fact if we have too long a winter, I start bouncing off the walls, wanting to throw open the doors and air out the whole house.

  10. Hey, Rula,

    I live in a dusty environment, so cleaning feels like a never-ending chore. Kinda like those edits where I'm never satisfied.

    Cool comparison between house cleaning and editing.

  11. Hey Maria! Spring fever is great for fueling spring cleaning LOL!

    J.L. yes! Just like never ending edits. We have dirt roads in the area. I swear when I dust, it resettles in just hours. I think my boys are the worst culprits on the never ending cleaning saga though ;)