Friday, March 28, 2014

As I've mentioned The Craftsman and I have finally made progress on a long-awaited DIY project.  Last weekend I painted the room. Until we moved into this house, I had never done any of the painting in any of our houses. At a very young age, while working on a service project, I experience the horror, not to mention the resulting splatter of paint, when I let the paint roller continue to spin after I moved away from the wall. :)

However, in the last dozen or so years, between our house and helping out assorted family members, I've made up for lost time.

My favorite part of painting is the 'cutting in'. You know, the outside edges of windows and doors, along the ceiling and floor. It's the detail work and I see it as a challenge to get that line as straight as possible. And avoid getting it onto the ceiling or baseboard.

Anyway, this past Sunday I was on the last wall of the half bath when The Craftsman poked his head inside. "You know you're going to need another coat, right?"

I sighed. One of the reasons he's The Craftsman is due to his attention to perfection. But, yes, in this case I agreed with him and set about adding on the second coat.

At some point during the application of that second coat, I thought about how painting has much in common with writing and especially revising.

By time I was done applying that second coat, the room looked much better. Never have I revised a manuscript and not believed it was better for having taken that second pass and layering more detail. It was a richer, smoother read. Of course every time I hand over a manuscript to my critique partner there is a small part of me that thinks "Okay, this time I've got it right." Only, you guessed it, for her to point out the parts of the manuscript that needs a second coat, thin areas where the characters and/or the plot isn't as defined as it should be. Or where the plot should be cut a little closer. Sometime adding that second coat can be difficult because it's harder to see where you've already layered on, perhaps added too much, or where you still need to apply more. It helps to have that second eye looking at it, seeing the imperfections, telling you which spots you overlooked or missed.

For the most part, however, the manuscript - as this particular room did - is a more beautiful project for having taken the time and effort to make it shine.

Sometimes it takes a broad stroke, sometimes a dab here and there.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Like most everyone else in the country, I am so ready to be done with winter and am looking forward to spring. Especially after a Saturday such as we just had. On this Saturday, during a family gathering, the weather was perfect enough for us to sit outside on the deck, enjoying company, celebrating milestones and warm weather along with laughter and good conversation.

Sunday, however, brought cooler temperatures and rain. I'll be honest, on Sunday I was glad for the excuse to stay inside. The Craftsman and I worked on a home improvement project that I came up with back in October.  Up until this point we've either had other obligations or, for two weekends, the weather was nice enough to concentrate on outside tasks.

I'm so blessed with a wonderful house and, rare in this area, a bit of land. That means yard work. A lot of yard work.

That means balancing life, with all of its obligations and indulgences, with the writing life.

This is an exciting time for me. After all the years of work and angst over whether or not to continue on this path, I'm approaching the release date for my first book. But with that excitement comes obligation and committment. There's the edits for this first book, another book to plan and write, exercise, social media postings and promotional tasks. A quilt to complete. Throw in all the domestic chores that go hand in hand with maintaining a home and the hours fill up quickly.

How do you manage to handle obligations with relaxation?