Decorating

Well. That was Christmas!

Weeks/months in the planning and it’s all over in a flash. If you celebrate Christmas, I hope Father Crimbo Claus brought you something nice.

We had a few quiet days on our own. Previous years, we’ve driven around Sheffield visiting relatives for various meals, but now we spend the festive days holed up at home. I have to say it’s very nice to just kick back and relax. 🙂

Another bauble

Prior to festive activities, I’ve been absent for a while. Again. This has been another work related absence from the blogasphere. The workload has picked up and everything’s seemed manic over the last couple of months. We’ve also moved offices so have had the added complication of packing everything into crates and then unpacking in the new building.

During the working week, I’ve not even switched my laptop on in the evenings. (I know! Who would have thought that of ME?)

And, on the weekends I’ve been busy doing other things. I’ve been away watching the football a couple of times and we’ve decorated a bit at home. It’s been a while since we’ve done anything to the house and I’d forgotten how much work you have to put into maintaining the old home.

By the time I’d finished stripping (steady – talking about the removal of wallpaper), dismantling furniture, lifting floors to enable the plasterer to skim the walls, I’ve then re-mantled the furniture, re-laid the floor and re-built the bed so we can use the room.

Repeat this cycle after the walls dried out and were ready to paint a couple of weekends later. Something had to give and the laptop has had a rest for a change.

Anyway, whilst doing the decorating it triggered thoughts about my writing. As we splashed the first coat of paint on to the bare walls and my heart sank (and hands ached) at how many coats it was likely to take us to finish it, I thought about the first coat being similar to the first draft of a story. Not much there, you can see straight through it. Basically, the bare bones down on the walls or the page.

Coat number two built on the first, added more depth and texture before the third (and thankfully last) coat, removed the inconsistencies and let me take a step back and see the finished walls to spot any areas that required a final touch-up. Much like each draft of your novel.

But that’s not the end of the decorating is it? Oh, no. The woodwork, skirting boards and door frame, required gloss and the window ledge two coats of varnish. The final touches. Final checks and changes. All required before you can say it’s finished and ready for the carpet to be fitted.

paint roller beside paint brush at paint reservoir

paint roller beside paint brush at paint reservoir (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Each phase of decorating is mirrored in the process of writing your novel. Recently, my wife’s read a few books on her Kindle that stopped the ‘decorating’ process after the second coat of paint. No finesse, no fine tuning to make sure their work was the best it could be.

Without the final touches, the checks for grammar and spelling, the author has only achieved one sale. Most of these authors had several books available to buy, but a lack of attention to detail and care and attention has harmed their chances of any repeat business.

Their one and only sale was a result of skimping on the paint. If it needs another coat, or another draft, take the time and get it right. You’re better off in the long run.

So, even during the long period of inactivity, days and weeks of not writing a word, time when I’m too tired to even contemplate switching on my laptop, I’m still thinking about my writing. I’m still pondering how to improve my two WIPs, how to tackle the next draft, which I will return to. As I will your blogs.

Thanks for reading.

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About Pete Denton

I'm a writer working my way through the redrafts of a British crime novel. I also write short stories, flash fiction and some screen writing. Check out my blog for more.
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8 Responses to Decorating

  1. robincoyle says:

    Excellent analogy, Pete. It is like taking a banged up piece of furniture (the first draft) and lovingly refinishing it until it gleams. Or, as you say, I room that needs love.

    Hope you can get back to writing soon and that works calms down.

  2. 4amWriter says:

    There are parts of decorating I love, and other parts not so much. I’m like the finish carpenter, who does best coming in and putting on the finishing touches and tidying everything up. Entering into the job is always the hardest part for me. I think anyone who can redo a room from beginning to end has an amazing amount of patience and perseverence. My mother-in-law is like that, and I envy her.

    Like Robin, I hope you can get back to your writing soon. I’m sure the ideas are piling up! 🙂

  3. Planning for Christmas? Ha! I haven’t done that in 39 years!…….lol

  4. Sometimes life intrudes on writing…and we’re better for it. All that time painting gave your mind a break. I bet you had several new thoughts on story fixes or even new story ideas. 🙂 I love how you equate painting to writing a novel. You really do need several passes to get it polished and where it needs to be. 😉

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