Maybe I WILL Meet The President

I’m about to write a sentence that makes me question my sanity, and will likely make you doubt my intelligence.  On Saturday morning, I decided to take the kids with me to the grocery store so my husband could have a little break.  Even as I type these words, I realize how absurd such an idea really is.  I mean, every time I take both of them anywhere, I vow to never, EVER do it again because each time, they behave like they were raised by a family of ill-mannered chimpanzees.  The only explanation as to why I’d take both of them out is that I suffer from short term memory loss, incurable naivety and delusions.

Before I could go to the grocery store, I had to wash my hair and put some make up on.  My routine takes all of ten minutes, but with the knowledge of the bribe reward for good behavior, my older son was itching to leave.  Yes, if they could get through the grocery store trip without fighting, yelling, or grabbing stuff then they would each get a chocolate chip cookie.

Could they do it?

My older son stood in the doorway of the bathroom.  “Are you almost done?” he’d ask every twenty seconds or so.  “Just about,” I’d answer.  The last thing I had to do was put on lipstick.  As I colored my bottom lip, my son said (with the snarkiness that only an eight-year-old can deliver), “come on mom.  It’s not like you’re going to meet the President.”  Then he stomped out of the room.

In my defense, I always vowed that I’d resist the temptation to leave my house wearing lounge pants and fuzzy slippers.  I don’t dress up to run errands, but I do get dressed.  That includes doing something with my hair (note:  one can’t just wake up and go with naturally curly hair; you either have to wet it or shave it off.  So far, I’ve chosen water.)  My makeup consists of five items, including sunscreen.  Just because I have two kids and a fourteen-year marriage doesn’t mean I should get too lazy.  In my rush to get errands done, I can’t forget to prepare myself.

This is the case with my writing, too.  When I write a new story, I want to share it with someone as soon as I write it.  It takes great effort to leave it for a couple days and read it again, but this is what I do, because when I read it again, I always find things to polish.  In fact, I make myself go through a story at least three times before soliciting feedback.  (Nancy, at Spirit Lights The Way, has a terrific post about sharing writing too early – check it out here.)

When I start a novel, I can’t share the plot line or even provide chapters to read until it’s done.  By “done”, I mean read, edited, and repeated x3.  I know if I do, it will ruin my reader’s first impression of the novel.  Or worse, give away too much of the story so they aren’t curious to read it anymore.

So, just as I prepare myself to leave the house, I have to prepare my writing.  No amount of rushing (or snarkniness) from an eight-year-old (or anyone else, for that matter) is going to make me rush and skip my lipstick or edits.    Why?  Because you never know:  I just might bump into the President in the dairy section of the grocery store, or he might read this post and ask for a signed copy of my (unpublished) novel.

Yep.  I’m definitely delusional.

What’s your writing process?  How many times do you review/edit a piece before you are satisfied?  Do you go to the store in jammies?  (Sorry…I was just curious…)

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30 thoughts on “Maybe I WILL Meet The President

  1. duke1959 January 31, 2011 / 7:55 AM

    Very valid points. The things you see people wear in public are sometimes eye opening to say the least. Sometimes you see parts of them that you never want to see ever again!

    • jannatwrites January 31, 2011 / 4:14 PM

      I agree, but I do feel bad for the ones who may not know there’s a problem (i.e., something that doesn’t look right from behind.)

  2. Tori Nelson January 31, 2011 / 9:05 AM

    Love the PJ/Jean shots side by side. I fight the urge to wear a Snuggie in public everyday. Taking some time to polish and refine your writing is always worth the wait. On my best days, I write a post, leave it, come back to it that night and read it again. I always find at least a few chunks that need some TLC. On my worst (baby is in a tizzy and my brain hurts) days, I’ve rushed and posted pieces without really giving them that extra attention. The difference is always pretty noticeable 😦

    • jannatwrites January 31, 2011 / 4:27 PM

      Thanks, Tori. I’ve noticed that about my posts, too. We’ll just have to tell our kids to cooperate with our writing schedule. (Yeah, right!)

  3. chlost January 31, 2011 / 10:29 AM

    Well, I am a “What Not to Wear” fan, and Stacy and Clinton would never approve of what I wear. But I am fashion challenged. My writing is almost always from the top of my head on my blog, with some editing—-because it is not a formal theme blog, and I have used it more as a diary than a writing project. When I do a formal writing project, it takes at least three times through to get it fairly good shape, and even then, I will cringe when others read it.

    cute jammies, btw.

    • jannatwrites January 31, 2011 / 4:31 PM

      I also watch “What Not to Wear” on occasion and am sure not every piece of clothing I own would pass their critique. I have to go through my business writing multiple times also – and my work stuff is always a boring read 🙂

      I’m glad you liked the jammies, Chlost. They are sooooo cozy.

  4. Carol Ann Hoel January 31, 2011 / 11:32 AM

    I cannot count how many times I have edited my way from the beginning to the end of my manuscript, and I’m not finished! I’m not exaggerating. It’s my first novel. I truly hope the second, if there should be one, will not need so much help. Blessings to you, Janna…

    • jannatwrites January 31, 2011 / 4:33 PM

      I can believe it, Carol. I went through my first novel so many times that I don’t even like it anymore. I too, hope the second one is better. We can dream, right? Thanks for sharing your experience – it makes me feel better to know I’m not the only one that stayed in a constant editing loop!

  5. dorcas January 31, 2011 / 11:49 AM

    Hmm. Maybe this is why I never finish writing a story.

    This is my routine. I decide on a story line. Write a chapter and make my hubby read it. And then I write the next. Maybe this is why he never seems interested 🙂

    • jannatwrites January 31, 2011 / 4:35 PM

      You’re funny, dorcas! If my husband liked to read, I’d probably do the same thing. Since he doesn’t, and I don’t want to be embarrassed when my friends read it, I have to make sure I edit:)

  6. Richard W Scott January 31, 2011 / 11:55 AM

    Good points all–the writing and getting ready for the outside world. In my house getting someone to read my work is like pulling teeth. Really big teeth with good roots. That said, I do run ideas by others from time to time and watch for their reactions. But, like you, I am less and less ready to “show off” my fiction until it is ready for prime time.

    The problem is, no matter how often I write, rewrite, rinse and repeat, there is always something else that needs fixing, just one more table leg that needs adjusting.

    Sigh.

    • jannatwrites January 31, 2011 / 7:45 PM

      Pulling teeth, huh? Sounds like my house! I agree – I can keep revising a piece forever. I don’t think I’ll ever get anything done so that I’m completely satisfied with it, so I have to jump off the merry-go-round 🙂

      Thanks for stopping by, Richard. I’m glad I’m not the only one that gets stuck in the revision loop!

  7. SAS Fiction Girl January 31, 2011 / 3:30 PM

    You’d think that writing short stories would mean less editing. Unfortunately, that is not the case – at least in my experience. I’ll write, edit, edit, edit, copy and paste onto WordPress, hit the preview button and edit some more. It’s the number one reason several of my stories have been posted at 2 AM. Eventually, I just hit “publish” and go to bed.

    • jannatwrites January 31, 2011 / 7:50 PM

      Isn’t it funny how it looks fine until you preview the WordPress post? I end up tweaking most of my posts that way…but not until 2AM. Congrats, SAS Fiction Girl – you win the stamina award! (Okay, there isn’t actually an award, so you’ll have to use your fiction-ized imagination :))

  8. Brown Eyed Mystic January 31, 2011 / 5:08 PM

    The same happens when I blog–I have this urge to publish it right away! In the current age of digitisation, what else can you expect from us (spoiled) writers? 😉

    -BrownEyed

    • jannatwrites January 31, 2011 / 7:54 PM

      You’re funny, BrownEyed! Maybe WordPress should institute a mandatory waiting period before clicking the Publish button 😉

  9. clarbojahn January 31, 2011 / 6:04 PM

    I wait overnight with my blogs and rewrite several times and still see how I could have improved after I push the publish button. And with the case of several, I really wish I could have done so, especially several days later. Now that my Children’s Book is at the publishing house, I see where I could have improved it. I hope I get the chance! I haven’t got the contract yet and as far as I know no editor has looked at it.

    • jannatwrites January 31, 2011 / 8:19 PM

      Clar, I’m suspecting we never get to the point where we think our work is the best it’s going to be. But the fact is, we do have to call it done and let it go at some point, or there will never be a next project. I hope you do get the chance to improve your children’s book 🙂

  10. nrhatch January 31, 2011 / 7:32 PM

    Thanks, Janna ~ for this FUN and FUNNY post and the kind shout out!

    I polish my writing more than I polish my appearance ~ all I do when heading out is brush my hair (or just run my fingers through it) and brush on some blush. In fact, one of the reasons we moved to Florida is so that I can head to the store in shorts and a t-shirt (which are just as comfy as jammies) and flip flops. 🙂

    Like you, I polish my writing up before introducing it to the world ~ you never know who might bump into it and want to read more.

    • jannatwrites January 31, 2011 / 8:31 PM

      I’m glad the post entertained you, Nancy! I would’ve been shocked if you weren’t in the polish-before-release camp…

      When it gets to be 110 degrees, I’m not exactly dolled up either – but I at least change into something that I did not wear to bed 🙂 Sometimes I don’t even bother with makeup because I’ll just sweat it off anyway.

    • nrhatch January 31, 2011 / 8:43 PM

      Humor is hard to write, but your sense of humor comes through loud and clear.

      BTW: I LIVE in shorts, weather permitting, but I don’t SLEEP in them. 🙂

      • jannatwrites January 31, 2011 / 8:51 PM

        Thank you for the compliment, Nancy. Sometimes it feels like I’m the only one laughing 🙂

        Since you don’t sleep in shorts, it counts 100% as getting dressed to go out. Therefore, you are not violating the ‘no pajamas outside the house’ rule!

  11. Addy January 31, 2011 / 10:22 PM

    I agree with you Janna! Even my blog posts, I do my custome made procedure, go through it first, then spell check, make corrections, go through again, see preview and then publish it! If the post is like way too long then I save it as draft and then do all the steps mentioned above X 2!

    As far as writing goes, I just do it for myself and enlist the help from mom at the end… Looks almost as if she wrote the entire thing with her suggestions and corrections 😉

    Best Wishes,
    Addy

    • jannatwrites January 31, 2011 / 10:50 PM

      Hey, enlisting your mom as a proof reader is great idea, Addy! Another set of eyes is helpful because they see things we miss. It’s amazing how much time a little blog post can take, right?

      I’m glad you visited tonight 🙂

  12. Tim Weaver January 31, 2011 / 10:38 PM

    Interesting. I have no problem sharing plot lines, even some rough chapters with people I know who are familiar with the type of writing/story I am doing. While the temptation is to incorporate every suggestion (yes, I’ve done it and found I didn’t like the result), the fact of the matter is I’ve gotten some superlative ideas from them to incorporate into the story. Whether it was from actually sending a couple paragraphs or the whole short story, or just bouncing plot ideas off them, it helped.

    As for going out in PJ’s/sweats, I would if I could figure a way for them to hold up all the crap I carry. 🙂

    • jannatwrites January 31, 2011 / 10:54 PM

      I’m not saying we shouldn’t get input/opinions from others – I think we should. I just prefer to wait until I’ve got something polished enough where I think it communicates the story how I envisioned it. My early drafts are like a bad dream (disconnected and a little scary) so I don’t want to have others read that.

      Please, please, PLEASE don’t try to wear a belt with sweats. That would be seriously wrong 🙂

      • Tim Weaver February 1, 2011 / 10:24 AM

        Unless it’s black. Because black goes with everything.

        • jannatwrites February 1, 2011 / 3:37 PM

          Two words: still wrong.

          🙂

  13. Amanda Hoving February 4, 2011 / 8:28 AM

    Oh, I edit and edit and edit. Most times it’s a good thing. Sometimes, I make things worse. But, I usually give myself a “let it go” deadline, or I never will.

    And, yes I have gone to the store in my jammies. My apologies to the world.

    • jannatwrites February 5, 2011 / 7:53 AM

      I’m the same way on editing. I think I could keep editing the same piece for the rest of my life and I’ll never be completely satisfied. You’re the first one to admit going to the store in jammies. Sorry, I don’t have a prize or anything, but I like your honesty 😉

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