Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Finishing a Job

By C. LaRene Hall

In May, my husband and I decided we needed to do something about staining our redwood deck, especially since I was planning to hold my book signing party at our home in the yard. Unfortunately, the weather didn’t cooperate. We left on vacation the week the rain finally stopped.

Upon our return, we were able to start the giant project. My husband covered the siding so that it wouldn’t turn red, and brought out his paint sprayer. When I came home from work, he asked me how it looked. I told him that the deck looked nice, but I didn’t think he needed to paint the grass. I honestly don’t think he had even noticed the lawn.

Now it was my turn to do my part. I spent every evening with a brush, putting stain between all the boards. The deck wasn’t finished by the time I had my party, but it still looked better than before we started. Since that time, I have taken my brush outside many evenings to fill in all the spots that the sprayer missed on the trellis surrounding the deck. It’s taken me all summer, but finally I can say that the job is finished.

This reminds me of the feeling I had when I finally finished my last novel. Spraying the deck was much like the first draft. It still needed work. Each time I’ve taken the brush outside and stained a few more boards that the spray couldn’t reach reminds me of the countless hours spent doing re-writes; deleting scenes, adding a little bit on that page, and changing the dialect so it didn’t sound so wooden. It’s a good feeling when you finish staining your deck or when your book is completed and you can finally say The End.


ali said...

So true Connie!

How many times do writers 'write' and then say "It's finished!" only to discover that, in fact, it's not finished. That happened to me with my first book. I thought I was so wonderful for having written a book, lol. And it WAS pretty cool! But that first draft, it turns out, was the easy part. Like taking the sprayer and just going at it.

But the second, third draft. Each of those countless times I had to get on my knees and slave away, sometimes in pain and agony, THAT'S where the real hard work is.

Great post Connie!

L.T. Elliot said...

Very clever analogy! I agree with Ali too. Sometimes those later drafts are the most painful!