Thursday, July 12, 2012

No Newbery for Mr. Clean

The Hygiene Hypothesis:
Household cleanliness is inversely proportional to daily word production.

When I am procrastinating on a writing project, I tend to clean. I mean really go at it – as in, there are times when my kitchen island would be a fine spot for minor surgical procedures. So, if you know I’m working on a project and don’t want to pay those exorbitant hospital fees, have your physician give me a call.
Okay, maybe my hypothesis only holds true for me, but…
I once witnessed a neighbor polishing her mailbox until it became a blinding road hazard. Let me add that we live on a dead-end street 10 miles from the nearest town.
I never asked the burning why, but I have yet to see her name in print.
So there.

Well, the other day I was Googling home cleaning tips (yeah, I’m revising a novel), when I stumbled upon this gem –
“Pick any corner and work your way out.”
And I thought, wait a minute…
That’s not a cleaning tip – that’s a writing tip!
After all, the best way to get started on a writing project is to pick a corner – that wee wedge of an idea – and GO!
That corner may seem insignificant at first. In fact, it may seem like nothing at all, but it’s actually a big SOMETHING – a GREAT place to start.
And the GREAT writers know this.
J.R.R. Tolkien was once grading exams, when midway through the stack he came upon a blank sheet. He wrote down the first thing that popped into his head – “In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit.” What the heck is a hobbit? he thought. But he had his corner. We all know what happened next.
So today when I hear the sweet siren call of tile grout, wainscoting, or even… my mailbox, I’ll head for that corner and work…
no fight, my way out.

PROMPT: In this corner is the super heavyweight champion of the world – YOUR great idea! Start there. Those filthy refrigerator coils can wait another day.


  1. Just picked my corner - here I go. Thanks for the motivation! (No clean mailbox for me.)

    1. Write on, Carol! But I know you better than that -- you have the amazing ability to write AND clean! YOU are always inspiring to me.