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.
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…)