Once every two weeks the young woman who helps me keep my cleaning chores under control stops by for 90 minutes to do those tasks my old knees and achy shoulders find a little too difficult (or painful). Since I love to have the whole house cleaned at one time, I choose to spend two to three hours that same day doing my own part. I do the easy stuff like cleaning the sinks and dusting. My helper does the tough stuff like running the sweeper and getting down on her hands and knees to clean the kitchen and bathroom floors.
I do my part early in the day, then hide out in my little office while the rest of the work gets done.
In spite of this most efficient method, there are a few things that have been neglected over the last year while I worked on a new book. For one thing, my windows are dirty. We have a two-story house, so in the past we’ve removed the sliding windows ourselves and cleaned them inside. I’m seriously thinking of hiring a window-cleaning service this year.
In my little office, the filing has piled up and I have stacks of paper to be shredded. I need to get this clean-up done quickly because my granddaughter will probably be sleeping in here when they visit at the end of the month.
I also need to move some breakables and relocate cleaning supplies since the little darling is crawling and may be walking soon. And the oven needs cleaning.
I’ve postponed furniture shopping all winter because of the lousy weather, but I need two chairs and a dresser, plus some baby furniture.
The screen in the front door is torn and needs replacing.
The flower beds at the front of the house are an untidy mess of turned over pots, dead plants, strong evidence a wandering cat still uses my flower bed as a litter box, the dead lavender spikes that need clipping, and the spring growth of my crocus, tulip, and daffodil bulbs.
Even though snow has melted near the house, my garden area is still covered with at least 6 inches of snow and ice, as are parts of the front yard.
I still haven’t pruned my grape vines.
And my husband’s office space is a total disaster. He’s an electronics freak so he has toys and wires and boxes and…well, it’s a mess. I need to keep his door shut so I can’t see it.
All this reminds me of the manuscript I’m currently revising. I still have a few bits of backstory and a couple of historical facts to slip into the story here and there. These must not be intrusive, but they’ll help the reader understand the story and the characters.
My writing is tight and heavy on action. There are places I need to expand description of characters and setting. Again, nothing excessive. The idea is to create a recognizable sketch, but let the reader fill in the blanks.
There are a few important details I haven’t made clear in the manuscript. The age of my main character. Why the boss bad guy is in Los Angeles instead of Miami. Maybe others. I need to clear that up.
All manageable stuff.
As I read through the manuscript, however, I worry that I’ll find something big, something so impossible to fix that I’ll have to treat it like I’m treating my husband’s workroom.
This is the fear that bogs us down during the revision process. Am I bogged down? I think I have been, because I haven’t made much headway so far. Recognizing why is half the battle. Now it’s time to just do it. But first, I need to finish the dusting and clean the kitchen sink.