Painting a Room and Writing a Book

Posted on 10/31/2011


Let me first begin by saying, that my wife is a wonderful person. I love her dearly. I do not tell this story to belittle her or to demean her. She’s just a means to an end.

Now, with that out of the way, see if you can tell me after reading below how writing a book is like painting a room…and why so many people never finish that book they wanted to write. I will make one quick observation afterward.

We decided we were going to paint our living room. It’s been the same color for about 10 years now, and I am tired of it. So we spent a few days collecting the paint chips and holding them up to the walls. I wanted something green this time. Something earthy, but springy. My wife wasn’t sure.  The day of reckoning came, and when we pulled into Home Depot, I realized I’d left all my paint chips at the house and I I couldn’t tell them apart in the store.

Needless to say, I wasn’t happy.

I picked a chip from random that appeared relatively close to what I thought I’d had before.  We got some fresh supplises while the overcussing dude at Home Depot put it into the computer. A few minutes later, I took my three gallons home with me. If the shade was off a little, so be it.

Once we got home, we had to “prep” the room. For any of you seasoned painters out there, you know what this entails. Laying down the drop cloths (both plastic and cloth, since we were painting over the carpet) stretching out the blue painters tape, removing wall hangings, moving furniture, etc.

Well, my wife wanted no part of that.

She just wanted to paint.

Screw the prep work. She was appalled that it would take a good hour to remove the light switches, do all the taping, stirring the paint.  She just wanted to paint. She didn’t want to do all the prep work necessary to actually put the stuff on the wall.

Well, then we started to paint. I did most of the cutting while she and my daughter did the rollers. Awesome. Cutting takes the most of amount of time, so I was up and down ladders for first two hours, taking a short dive off one accidently too.
So we got the first coat on. Just needed to let it dry for about 30 minutes, then put the second coat on.

My wife didn’t want to put the second coat on. She was done. She painted the walls, and they looked passable to her. She bemoaned the fact that she would have to start rolling her brush over all the walls again while I did another round of cutting. To be clear, my wife’s never really painted too many walls in her time. Me? I’ve painted every wall in this house at least twice–including the ceiling.

So I had to tell her that just one coat wouldn’t cut it. If you wanted to do the job right and complete, you had to slap on a second coat. And then you had to do clean up.
She would have no part of it and said she was going to clean the kitchen. That left my daughter and I to finish the painting and then the monumental task of cleaning up. (To say nothing of the fine touches I applied to the next day, to even out the edges on the baseboards. You know–that final polish.)

So, if you’ve written your fair share of stories, I think you can see how my wife would fall into the category of that person you meet who says, “I really want to write a book!” But then they never put in the up front time to prepare, or the follow up time to finish the job and to finally polish it.

The idea for this blog post hit me as I was laying the painter’s tape down, all the preparation that is necessary.

If you’re doing NaNoWriMo, you’ve probably already done the prepping stage for your story. Make sure you do the second coat, and the final clean up work too.

Here’s the green I got. I’m pretty happy with it overall.

Posted in: NaNoWriMo, Writing