My Hell on Earth–Revising and Housework

For me, revising is like housework. It’s Hell on Earth.

I have five kids. My house is a wreck—all the time. Needless papers make their home on top of cluttered countertops. Soccer shoes and cleats and backpacks litter the floor to the point where people have to step over stuff to get into the house. Dishes pile up in the sink at an alarming rate, and the recycling bin overflows several times a week.

When I stand in the middle of the chaos, I feel…chaotic. Some people, who love to clean and organize, would rub their hands together gleefully. Oh, the corners I can clean! I can’t wait to get started. Not me. I shut down. I look around, not knowing where to begin, so I go find something else to do.

Same goes with revising. I love to create the story. I love bringing my characters to life. I love making them overcome obstacles to achieve their goals. I just can’t seem to do it myself.

This is why I have five manuscripts with very little revising. I create, and then when I go back in to revise, there’s so much work to do that I go off to find something better to do. Like start another book. And the process begins again.

Housework and revising are so similar. For me, I shuffle papers from one counter to another. Sometimes I’ll neatly stack them to make it look like I accomplished something. Anything. It’s the same in my manuscripts. I shuffle scenes and clean them up a bit, but usually I’ll walk away when the hard stuff pops up.

I have a super hard time throwing things away. I file away cute stories my kids have written. I keep the progress reports. I keep pieces of toys because I’m sure eventually the other parts will magically appear. My grandma’s saying was always, “If in doubt, toss it out!” But, I’m a keeper. I have the same problem with scenes in my book. I hang onto them because they’re part of the lives I’ve created. It’s hard for me to hit delete.

But, I have good news to report. I revised my current manuscript—STICKS AND STONES. I’m not joking! I did it. I yanked out a whole subplot that didn’t work and put one in that did. Then I had to clean up all the areas that these changes affected. I’m not saying it’s all that great. But I did it! And I’m willing to work to make it even better.

Now that I’ve made this first round of revisions, I look at the disaster that some might call a house. It’s worse than ever. I guess I’ll have to tackle that as well. One counter at a time. One dish at a time. One scattered cleat at a time.

Welcome to Kim MacCarron’s Hell on Earth.

38 thoughts on “My Hell on Earth–Revising and Housework

  1. I hear ya, Kim. Revisions are my nemesis! They taunt me at night. Congrats on doing yours – I’M JEALOUS!!!

    1. Kerri,
      I hear ya right back about the taunting at night. I’ll try to go to sleep and then second guess everything I’ve done to my manuscript. Don’t be too jealous. The first revision pretty much sucks. Hopefully the next round will be better. 🙂

  2. Kim Mermaid, I am very proud of you! I always feel like with the proper motivation, even revisions can be exciting. Sometimes this worksfor me: Think of someone you’d be excited to do absolutely anything for. And then imagine they’ve just asked you to do your dreaded revisions (or counters). 😉

    1. That’s a great idea. I can’t think of anyone who comes to mind right off the bat for that big of a favor. LOL. Maybe I’ll imagine it’s you…:-)
      I need to get some more luck. Any chance of a lunch where I might rub shoulders with the Lucky Mermaid?

  3. I’ll do just about anything instead of housework, even revise and edit. I draw the line at lawn work. I would have six foot high weeds and not be bothered by them at all.

    1. I completely agree about the yard work! When I do weed, it’s an angry kind of weeding where I swear and yank. Swear and yank! Thanks for stopping by!

  4. Kim, what an awesome achievement! So very proud of you and how you took something that was daunting and trudged through one word (or cleat) at a time. 🙂 I bask in your awesomeness.

    Okay, don’t everyone throw rotten tomatoes but…I love revising. *ducks and hides* I KNOW, I’m a super freak, an Anti-Hoarder. Not only do I not collect things, I don’t even collect words. Why use 11 when 4 will do? Polishing furniture or the page leaves me with such a great sense of accomplishment. Then again, I am a weirdo.

    1. Yes, Darcy…go duck and hide! I’m throwing things at you right now! I wonder if your Freakdom is from being in the military? LOL
      And no, no, NO! I bask in your awesomeness!

      1. Sadly, Kim, I can’t blame the military for this absurd behavior. As I mentioned on the Rubies yesterday, I really do think my genomes alphabetized themselves at conception 😉

  5. Great post, Kim!

    And congratulations on getting your first round of revisions done! (Housecleaning cabana boys are on the way, with supplies!)

    Diana, I LOVE the outtakes document! That’s a great way to convince myself that the deleted scenes aren’t going away forever… they’re just hanging out in the other document for a while. 😉

    1. Bonnie,
      I need to know what kind of manager you are for these elusive cabana boys. They have not showed up yet. I’ve got a house to be cleaned. I need a fruity drink with an umbrella. I’d love a little back rub, too. Where, oh, where are my cabana boys????
      That’s so funny about your scenes “just hanging out in the other document for a while”. Like they’re on a play date with other scenes from other books. Wonder how they’re all getting along?

  6. Kim,
    I hear you. You should see my office. I thought this was a “paperless world”? Well, that’s a crock of BS!! I am so sick of paperwork coming in and making random mountains around my house and it all ends up being piled into my office for me to deal with eventually.
    I’m really proud that you’ve accomplished those revisions. Yeah, I hear you there, too. You sound like me, procrastinating when it becomes too much to deal with.
    I’ve been reading the other comments here and learning. There are some great ideas!
    Hugs to you and everyone for their inspriational comments!

    1. Loni,
      I’ll have to send you a picture of my countertop of clutter and paper. It will undoubtedly make you feel very good about yourself.
      We tried to get a paperless system in place at the school, but it was just a big joke.

  7. Kim – Congrats on putting on your big girl panties and doing those revisions! Can world domination be far behind? 😉

    1. Unfortunately my bid for world domination would be laughable. My kids laugh at me. That’s why I’m tripping over their crap. I need to put on my Big Mommy Panties. Of course, that sounds like I’m a thousand pounds.

    1. Amy,
      We will have to help each other out with this problem. I’m currently reading your fabulous manuscript. That’s why it’s taken me so long to respond to these comments. I got lost in the story. What a compliment! 🙂

  8. Your post made me smile, Kim. I don’t have five kids or a messy house, but I grew up in a home where there were five kids, chaos and a mom who reminds me so much of you. More times than not, she was overwhelmed by it all. Honestly, I figure once you get past three kids there’s no hope of having any king of control. 🙂

    Congrats on getting your manuscript revised and on your GH final. See you in Atlanta.


    1. Sandra,
      Overwhelmed is sometimes an understatement. The idea of having control fled long ago.
      See you in Atlanta! Can’t wait to meet you!

  9. I have a pathological aversion to housework so I get your pain, although adding 5 kids to the equation certainly outdoes any mess I’ve had to face. My hat’s off to you for getting up in the morning.

    On the other hand, I love revisions. To steal from Michener, I’m not a great writer but a pretty darn good re-writer. Congratulations on getting your revisions done. That’s a huge step!

    Look forward to meeting you in Atlanta!

    1. Lark,
      I love that quote from Michener. I’ll have to print that out and stick it somewhere it won’t get lost. Certainly not on my countertops. LOL.
      Thanks for stopping by! See you in Atlanta. Lucky 13s rock!

    1. Always happy to inspire you, Denny! 🙂 I was just talking about you yesterday to a friend of mine. Telling her some of your wonderful and colorful stories. I told her how you always make me smile!

  10. Lol. Kim, you’re so funny. I agree, housework and revisions can be a total pain, but I’m kinda with Darcy and Lark. I kinda love revising because with every change that I make, I tell myself that it’s making the story *that* much better! And who doesn’t want a better story?! At the moment, I really can’t wait to start revising. Because that will mean my ms is written! And *all* I will have to do is make it better. 🙂
    Super mega congrats on finishing. I can’t wait until you decide to revise another ms, so that we can start sprinting together again. 🙂

    1. Pintip,
      I don’t expect you to write back to this comment because I’m sure you’re captivated by my awesome manuscript and can barely pull yourself away. 🙂
      Hopefully, I’ll be sprinting real soon.

  11. Oh wow – I remember the clutter of 5 kids. The shoes, shoes, shoes, shoes. And backpacks. (They multiplied overnight.) And we had dancebags and sports bags.
    One day you will tripping over the junk. (Not.)
    I used to hate revisions. Would rather write the next story banging around in my head. Now it’s a little of the other way round.
    I know I should be getting more new words on the page — but I keep tinkering–more line edits.
    Although I’ve developed a revision process. Once I complete the 1st draft – I spreadsheet the entire book. I include POV, how long each scene is, setting, which characters are involved and what is the scene conflict. ‘Cuz my problem is always conflict. It has helped me look at the character arcs.
    Just sent off CLEAN SWEEP to agent — so I’ll see if the process really helped this book.

    1. Nan,
      I knew there was a reason I loved you. You get me! The housework, the kids, and event beginning other manuscripts before you revise the last one. LOL.
      You people with your damn spreadsheets give me hives. That’s all way too much work for me!

  12. Amazing post! Candid and honest and to the point. I don’t like housework either, though I have been a pro in keeping the house tidy (at times). These days, I will show you my dining room table (office) and you’ll wonder where we put the guests. Uhm, in the kitchen?

    But you did it! This is fabulous news! And I am so taking Diana’s idea for an Outtake file. Those scenes that need to be shuffled can have a new home and I can be happy they aren’t gone forever.

  13. Diana,
    Thanks for the awesome idea. I’ve been doing the whole cut-and-paste thing into a document called Sticks Pieces. But I keep going back to them, just checking to make sure all my awesome words are still there. LOL.

  14. Susan,
    I love the idea of your guests sleeping in the kitchen. That’s hilarious!
    My dining room table hasn’t been cleared off in months. It’s just a holding area that keeps on a-holdin’.
    I love Diana’s Outtake File suggestion too! She’s brilliant, our Diana is! 🙂

  15. Congratulations on revising Sticks and Stones, Kim! As I write this it’s 2:40 am and I’m…editing a manuscript. At this point I think I’d rather be cleaning my home. I know I’d definitely rather be sleeping!

    I keep an outtake files as well. And I’ve never gone back and used anything out of it. But it’s good to know all those deleted words are there if I need them.

    1. Jacqui,
      I don’t envy you the editing job. I’ve farmed out my manuscript for some feedback, and I’ll be in your boat this week. It’s so cool that everyone has this outtake file. I just always called it “Pieces”. I have tons of files with those.
      Can’t wait to see you again in Atlanta! Thanks for stopping by!

  16. Thanks for helping me feel better about my own house, Kim! I’m like Jacqui–I put all my deleted stuff/outtakes in a junk file and I rarely go back for any of it but I know it’s there “just in case” for the packrat in me :).

  17. Love that idea! I’m a super packrat when it comes to everything–junk and writing. LOL. Thanks, Miranda, for stopping by!

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