August has become the month for purging.
You have to picture the scene to appreciate what I mean. Summer holidays have truly settled in here. Two young children have made their presence fully known. My house is full of discarded paper, pens, books, pencil sharpenings, loom bands and small, painful pieces of lego. My garden has an optimistic paddling pool planted in the middle of it, currently collecting rainwater (I’m expecting a duck to take up residence at any moment) and two sticky siblings are arguing over whose turn it is to use the swing.
Most days I am the complete opposite of the model mum that you see on TV (seriously – does she exist?). I burn the cakes that I bake with my children (although we still have fun making them). I forget the raincoats on walks in the woods (so we end up singing in the rain) and I forget to put the lid back on the glue sticks, so creative play can be hit and miss. I am however – great at separating warring children and quite good at making up long, crazy stories that my children find quite amusing.
But the house suffers in August. Actually it looks like a train wreck.
Added to this, a few days ago I got the email I was dreading. My edits for book three had arrived. I almost couldn’t bring myself to open the email. But as there was a short break in “she had it FIRST” disagreements, I allowed myself to take the plunge.
As I scrolled through the first three pages of highlighted red text my tummy sunk. The arguing had also resumed. I clicked out of the email again and turned my computer off. It could wait.
August is not a good month.
Maybe the editing could wait? I wondered wildly if my editor would allow me to have an extension. Would a year be enough?
I decided instead to distract myself. It was a miserable day outside. If the house could talk it would be begging for therapy. Action was required. A purge was needed.
It’s always satisfying when you do something with added energy. To actively give away/throw away stuff we no longer needed was very fulfilling. Even the kids got involved, motivated by the fact that we had a new puppy arriving in a few weeks and we needed to make things safe for him. We spent ages clearing out, re-arranging and sorting.
Within hours the house looked so much better – newer, fresher, brighter.
Later still. I opened my dreaded email again. I re-read my document and it honestly didn’t look as bad. This was just another purge. Another clean up. It was more removal of bits I didn’t need and a tidy up the ones I would be keeping. Ok, it would be extra work – but my book would be so much better for it.
The anticipating of editing is the same for me as a big cleaning project. I always dread it, I consider putting it off, I delay and complain – and yet, once I get into it I’m fine. And the after effect is always the same. Satisfaction. A sense of achievement and a clearer mind.
And next I can prepare for the arrival of Woody to our little family. Expect my next blog post to be on the ‘joy of writing whilst puppy training…..’