Wednesday, September 22, 2010

The Cleaning Lady

Please don’t hate me when I tell you that I have a cleaning lady.

Because I find cleaning uncreative, boring, and well… dirty, it’s worth my hard-earned money to pay someone to dust my coffee table and mop my kitchen floor. And if I didn’t have a job, it’d be worth my husband’s hard-earned money to pay someone.

Recently I was de-cluttering the dining room, pulling sweaters off the backs of chairs and hanging them in the closet. “What are you doing?” asked my husband. ”I thought Wendy was coming tonight.”

“She is, but I don’t want her to see what a mess we live in.”

He chuckled and shook his head. I think he quit trying to figure me out about thirty years ago.

“It’s pretty bad that I only clean house right before the cleaning lady comes, huh? But I guess it’s good I have her, or I’d never clean.”

He left the room at this point, so I talked to myself as I threw away old mail and wiped the table. “Cleaning is like editing. If I want to write for only God and myself, I don’t worry about cleaning it up. I end sentences with prepositions, tell instead of show, and use tons of passive verbs (I feel sorry for passive verbs, since writers have gone on strike against them. But that’s another article).

“Now, if I want to share my writing, I need to clean it up, so my readers won’t be appalled at how messy I am. I edit my fingers to a frazzle, making my writing as perfect as I’m capable of, so an editor—the cleaning lady, if you like—will fall in love with it and buy it. Then I can make more money to pay my housecleaning lady. See how tidily that works?”

I pretended he heard me, and that the sounds coming from his den were chuckles of agreement. I rather think he was enjoying the John Wayne movie he was watching, while creating more clutter for me to pick up before Wendy came.

Do you ever write for yourself and God alone, as well as for others? For the writings you clean up, how long do you spend editing vs. writing?


  1. We share so much, my kindred spirit. The question I would ask is, if you could live life over what would you do differently? My answer: I'd have a cleaning lady. On the other hand, a lot of my editing and rewriting happens while vacuuming, dusting, and mowing the grass. Maybe I wouldn't have written anything if I had never cleaned. Come visit me. White gloves not needed. You already know it's dirty. But, my copy is pretty clean.

  2. LOL! I love this! Bug Man is coming today, which means I'll be vacuuming and cleaning frantically. Heheeee!
    I take too long to edit. I need to pick up the pace. :-)

  3. I usually spend more time editing than I do writing.

    So glad I can pretend I was the Wendy you got to meet with the other day.

    And as far as house is a foreign word. ;) Actually, my husband just asked me this morning what will I do after I submit my work and I told him I will probably do some deep cleaning. The look on his face!

    ~ Wendy

  4. I giggled about the cleaning lady. As I write this comment, I am waiting for mine to come! And I've been frantically running around the house getting everything in order before she arrives!

    It seems like the more I edit my writing and my life, the more I find to do! Like house cleaning, it's an endless project!

  5. I used to have a cleaning lady when I worked full-time and had a child--heavely!! How nice it was to come home to my house totally vacuumed at the same time!
    I write in my journals for myself and God--the other stuff that people see--edit and edit!

  6. I do write for God and me. Somehow, I still can't help editing it, at least to some degree. Must have a mutant gene of some kind.

    And a house-cleaning lady? What's that? I'm used to doing it for other people, not the other way around. Some day...if my ship comes in and I'm not at the airport...

  7. What goes in my journal is strictly between God and me. And completely unedited.
    Everything else is edited - right down to comments on blog posts. : )

    Don't feel bad about cleaning for the cleaning lady. I clean up our hotel rooms before the maid gets there. Strip beds, empty trash, etc. My hubby thinks I'm nuts.

  8. God is showing me some things I need to clean out of my heart. I had a cry/pout fest yesterday..... :O)

  9. I had to chuckle; I'd be doing the same thing as you! Sometimes I start to edit things that go on in my head when talking to Him and then I remember that there's no point. Like I'm gonna fool Him. He does know us inside out.
    Good post, thanks.

  10. Sadly, I don't write much for me and God alone. I'm guarding my prayer time like a hawk though:)

    Now thai I am in edit mode, I feel such a great energy towards keeping my story at the forefront of my mind!

  11. I don't hate you, I'm envious! I write a journal with my devotions, no editing, nuthin'. :) He "gets me." But writing for others, don't ask how long that takes....sigh...

  12. FABULOUS post. But what else do I expect from you???

    Hmmm. Every morning I journal about praises, prayers, a scripture lesson or two. That's about all the time I've had to write for anything other than contracted items.

    Speaking of...will you support me even after TODAY, when I practically unplug my visits to honor what I pledged to do, which is WRITE A BOOK BY 11/15????

    Only God can get me through this...

    Love you, dear one.
    Oh, more time far.
    You see, they have to go through each of my books SO MANY TIMES!!!


  13. Hi Jen -

    I'd love to have a housekeeper. While I like the end results of cleaning, the process doesn't excite me.

    I wouldn't let anyone see my journals. I'm glad God's more concerned with my heart than my grammar and neatness.

    Susan :)

  14. I somewhat agree with Susan on this, I don't think I need to edit when it's just God and me:) Otherwise, I take some time to edit (and I hate

  15. Jeanette:
    Re Having a cleaning lady: I'm glad you can do this. I'm not even jealous. One of my writing friends has one. If I were to ever have one, I'd have to work myself to the bone to get ready for her.
    Re Editing:
    I have learned to edit as I go through the first draft. I can't help it. I also edit at a later reading. Sometimes the editing process takes me longer than the original writing.

  16. Up until last month, I had a cleaning lady too. It was the only time we didn't have toys on the floor in our house. :)


Oh, it's YOU! I'm so happy to see you here today, and look forward to reading your comments.