Sunday, April 06, 2008

Scrubbing Grout

The other day when I was cleaning my bathroom it occurred to me that cleaning the grout in the shower is similar to editing a manuscript.

With a shower, you start scrubbing at the mildew and soap scum and feel like you're making progress, but as you clean the dirtiest, most obvious parts, the less dirty, but still problematic strips of grout become more noticeable. So you tackle those, get them all clean and white, and then the areas that weren't quite as bad, but still aren't perfect rear up their ugly heads.

I'm guessing that eventually the grout in the whole shower could be gleaming and pristine (I don't know for sure, because I've never had enough shower-cleaning enthusiasm to get it that way), but it's incredibly frustrating because it takes SO LONG and there's so much grout to scrub and unless you took a picture of what the shower looked like originally, it's hard to see your progress, so you feel like you are scrubbing and scrubbing and not getting anywhere.

Same with a manuscript. You read through it, clean up the darkest, most obviously, mildewed parts, but when you've gotten those straightened out, new areas that need work become obvious. Rinse, repeat ad nauseam!

I'm still editing, and unfortunately there's still some mildew to scrub.

But, and here's where I get positive, the stained grout of my manuscript all has to do with the writing, the story continues to feel clean and sparkling. It's another reason why I want to get the wording in good shape. I like this story so much, and I want it to shine through.

So I'm forging ahead, feeling both discouraged and optimistic. But with a lot of scrubbing, I'm hopeful that the manuscript will finally be ready to go out before too long.

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