Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Fixing things, and a sincere question for bloggers

This is not so much a Wonder, but a Wonder Why.

Take a look at my sink. See what's been stuck in there for oh...two months now?

Okay, wait a minute.

Before I get to the point of today's blog, I have a confession to make. My sink doesn't usually look this good.
I cleaned it for you. With Soft Scrub.
You're a guest in my house, and I didn't want you to see the grime, the stray hairs, the slimy bar of soap. But I really want to be honest here and not make things look better than they really are. So before I get to the point of this post, here's what my tub looks like.

Tanner says hello. He's smiling because he thinks I'm going to give him a bath. I used to think that I wanted a whirlpool tub, but have you ever tried to clean those little jets? It's impossible. The only family members that have ever used this tub are Sam, when he was four, and Tanner, who doesn't care for the jet feature.

Back to looking at my tub. I've seen much, much worse in my house, but still. There's a ring around it if you look close, and some dog hair, (but that's everywhere. ) It's full of dirty towels because a terrible stomach bug hijacked the house a few weeks ago and let's just say the bathmats were casualties. I tried to clean them, but finally couldn't take it anymore and threw them out. I'm too cheap to buy new mats right now, and so all the people who use my shower throw a towel on the floor when they get out and stand on that. I have way too many people using my shower. My youngest says the shower in the kids' bathroom is scary. I looked at it and I have to agree.

Anyway, back to the whole point of this.

See the scissors in the sink? They're stuck there because two months ago the rod for my stopper came all the way out, making the sink stopper perpetually closed. This has happened before and I've fixed it. Counting the time to find the wrench, (eight minutes,) the whole operation takes maybe ten minutes. It's not brain surgery.

But no, I don't do that. I just leave the scissors in when I want the water to drain out, and take them out when I want to fill the sink.

Are you still with me? I'm getting to my point.

The weird thing about this, the reason why I call this a Wonder Why, is that this behavior is completely opposite of how I conduct my working life. With my writing, I can't seem to control my urge to fix things. I will work on one chapter for weeks, fixing it and fixing it again, refining it when I really should move on and go back later. Often all that work is for naught, because a chapter gets thrown out in the end. Or is greatly changed.

I've been at this blog less than a week, and my urge to refine is just as bad.
Yesterday, five minutes after I posted, I sneaked back into the post and edited again. And then again. And just once more. An hour later, a bigger wave of insecurities washed over me. Did I sound too Pollyanna, talking about how the universe was full of goodness? Or too New Age? Would I scare people by mentioning God? Should I tell people I sew? I'm not channeling Martha Stewart or Betty Homemaker (not that there's anything wrong with that:) I'm just too cheap to buy costumes I can make myself.
And look at my wording! I could do a better job with just a little more time. Just one more edit. Please?

I spent all day long thinking about that dumb post, when I was supposed to be getting my writing work done.

So here's my question, bloggers, and anyone else that wants to contribute. Respondez, s'il vous plait:

How do you let go of what you send out into the internet, and not obsess about it all day long?
How do you not check for comments constantly? How do you go on with work, especially if you're like me and have no boss looking over your shoulder?

Thank you.
I hope that didn't sound too desperate. Maybe I ought to edit this out.

On second thought. NO.


lizr said...

I wish I had an answer for you, because I do the same thing with my writing, yet my house is all messy right now. I recently realized that one of my problems is that there are so many things I have to do every day, I tend to do each thing until it's just good enough.

And then I go edit my stories, because they're never good enough :D.

paris parfait said...

So glad you emailed me, as I didn't know you'd started a blog. Hooray! I tend to obsess over political pieces that I know may upset people and have been known to edit those several times and add things to a developing story. But eventually you have to just stop writing. Say what you want to say, then STEP AWAY FROM THE COMPUTER! Turn it off, if necessary. Go out for a walk. Do something else that requires being out of the same room as the computer. And don't take criticism personally. Everybody has their own "stuff" that they let upset them - but it has nothing to do with you! So if somebody writes something less than complimentary, in response to something you've written, just consider the source. And keep writing! Am adding you to my links on my About page. Bonne chance et bonne courage, mon ami! xoxox

Susan Sandmore said...

I have the same tendency to edit and re-edit my blog posts, but it gets better as you keep blogging. I had to set the Blogger on "must approve comments" in order to keep myself from checking for comments all day. Now it sends me an email with each new comment in it--ding! I mean it--my email in-box really does go *ding.* That helps a lot.

May Vanderbilt said...

I added a link to your blog on ours. I love Wonders Never Cease.

This is an interesting question. What I try to do is write a post, save it, and then do something else that is not cerebral...like my floors.

Then I come back, edit it a few more times, and publish it to the world--warts and all. In fact, I usually don't read it ever again just to avoid the temptation to edit it.

I love the scissors in the sink and Tanner! Wasn't that the name of the god on Full House?

Anonymous said...

Hi! Hahah! i LOVED the sink remedy! It reminded me of the time when our daughter broke the knob (remember those?) off the old tv set and we couldn't buy a new one so we just attached a pliers to it and it was really pedestrian, but it worked.
Ah yes, those home remedies! They may seem soooo silly, but, folks, if we are still functional, that's what it's sometimes about, and I have to admit, I felt proud of my conquering solutions, even if ragtag until I could afford the time or money to replace/repair right.
Oh, oh, run on sentence-ing here. Should I go back and repair?
Well, this is a conversation, blogging, so I, personally, am less apt to write it like a query letter (don't get me started).
I guess, for me, two things:
1) I stay away from writing on, contributing to critical blogs
as they hurt my feelings
2)I sometimes don't do this, but when I catch myself being distracted too much on the internet, I tell myself I can only plug in for 1-1/2 hour tops, in 30 minute increments (for correspondence and communication purposes) daily for awhile and Nada on weekends. (Hard during winters in the north.) When that fails, I go away for a month and only do business on line once a week in a cafe. (Much more fun solution, but not always practical.) :-D

Rebecca Ramsey said...

Thanks so much y'all!
I really appreciate the input. Merci for sharing, Paris Parfait and May! Your blogs were the first two I became addicted to. I still visit daily--and you people out in blogland should too!

And Susan, good idea. I'll have to think about doing that. I need to figure out how to get my computer to notify me--I want a ding too! (By the way folks, you should check out Susan's blog too. It's great! Watch the video--so joyful!)

Lizr and Bobbi, thanks! It's great to hear your thoughts. Ah, new friends. I should have started blogging months ago!

Any other ideas out there?

Anonymous said...

It is true that one obsesses less over time. One thing I do to settle myself down is read other blogs! Then I think, "oh my gosh, everyone is just like me! We are all human!"

I always write my posts in Word before transfering them to the blog. That way at least I know there are no spelling errors. Then I have to let it go. I figure I won't run into anyone who thinks I am an idiot on my blog because no one knows what I look like... maybe you have to get rid of the picture of you!

As far as the scissors in the sink: I use a stapler to hem my skirts when they rip. Works just great.

Rebecca Ramsey said...

Love it, qugrainne! A stapler to hem a dress! I've used duct tape before--it works in a pinch.

vintage moon studio said...

Hey you have a wonderful blog! I can relate to the sink scissors... I have to use the end of a comb to open my medicine chest. Go figure. I'd like to add you to my blog links if that's ok 'cause I fully intent on visiting often :) Glad that you found me!! Deb

liquidambar said...

There's always another day coming up, another chance to post something new. That helps me let go of each day.
As to fussing and editing--I'd rather spend that time on my fiction.

--Jenn Hubbard

Rebecca Ramsey said...

vintage moon studio, please do add me! I love your work.

Jenn, I'm with you--I'd rather spend the time on editing my other work, but I just can't seem to let go! Maybe it's therapy I need. :)