Dieting, De-cluttering, Editing, and You

I have a lot of things going on in my life. First, there’s Little Man. He’s out of school for the summer so we are wrapped up into his activities such as day camp, vacation bible school, scout day camp, soccer camp, and all things scout patches/loops/pins/awards that we can work on. Let’s not forget his social calendar of play dates, swim lessons, and birthday party planning (who new planning kids’ parties were like planning a state dinner?).

Not my house.

Second, there’s family time. Planning family vacation, weekend visitations to or from family members, and gatherings with friends. Third, there’s the fixer-upper house. We are STILL in the middle of the kitchen renovation so I have no kitchen, just an electric skillet and a bathroom sink. Husband is building beautiful cabinets but with his work schedule it can only go so fast. Meanwhile, I’ve been tackling the deck and gardens trying to chip away at the hot mess. And since June is rainy season in Georgia, I’ve been trying to knock out some of the unfinished/half finished projects. And when I can, I’m trying to purge all the stuff we don’t need (or at least haven’t needed in the past 5 years).

Fourth, my physical therapy schedule. Twice a week for two hours each visit for the last 8 weeks. Two more weeks to go and hopefully I’ll be released to continue PT on my own recognizance. My back is much better and my right shoulder only hurts when I try to do too much so I stop and rest when I need to. Fifth, I’ve been editing. I completed a wonderful novel, I’m going chapter by chapter with a novice writer acting as not only and editor but a structural editor and writing coach. I have been asked by another author to edit their work and I’ll soon start yet another project.

Sixth, I’ve also been studying for and taking exams for my real estate license. Happy to say I completed the course and passed all the tests. Now on to broker hunting and applying for an active license to begin working.

Eat smaller portions.

On TOP of all that, I get to look forward to my doctor tell me I need to lose weight (like I’m unaware of this). I just can’t really cook healthily when I don’t have a kitchen and it’s hard to exercise more than the physical therapy when everything hurts all the time and squeezing PT in at all is a miracle (see above list). I know, I need to just eat better to get back to my pre-marriage pre-baby shape quit nagging.

But don’t we all have a ton of stuff to do? Couldn’t we all stand to lose a few pounds? Couldn’t we all stand to just take a few days and complete the last bits of a project? Couldn’t we stand to clean out our rooms/drawers/closets? Yes. Yes we could.

Our writing is like our lives – busy and crowded. We put everything into it. We write everything our characters think, feel, smell, say, and do. Our descriptions talk about the leaves on the trees and in hopes of imbuing our readers with the feeling and tone of the setting, we over do it. We over extend. And thankfully, our editors are there to put our writing on a diet. Stripping away the fat and junk making our writing leaner. Editors help us reorganize our paragraphs and straighten out the plot and subplot lines. They de-clutter and streamline making our stories flow. As writers, we need our editors to help us, guide us, and we need to trust them. Writers should also check their work before turning it over to an editor so it is as clean as possible to begin with. Sort of like cleaning the house before the housekeeper shows up. Is your punctuation correct? Spelling? Word choice? How many times have you used the word “that” when you should have used “which”? And strip your adverbs to a minimum.

In the meantime there are only 6 weeks left of summer. My projects are becoming fewer, my tasks are wrapping up. Soon I will have edited my life’s schedule down to only a few things to do. I’m looking forward to a less crowded life. Hmmm….maybe I’ll have a chance to write again.

Not that you aren’t busy, but we are accepting submissions for the August/September issue. The theme is “That’s Gonna Leave A Mark.” What harrowing experiences have you had that have left you permanently scarred? Do you have a tattoo? What’s the story behind it? Missing a tooth? One eye? We’d love to read all about it!


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