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working writer wending her way through the labyrinth that is self-publishing

Tuesday, January 31, 2012


Still awaiting the final proof. I’ve been in a horrible mood for days, moldering around the house, moody and irritable. My dog looks at his leash longingly but today I’ve decided that the house needs major cleaning—this must take precedence over our usual daily trip to the Columbia River.

I’ve found that many chores have been forgotten during  my concentration on getting the book done. For instance there is dust on every available surface, including baseboards, tables, and window ledges. The bedroom smells like dirty dog—a trip to the groomers is definitely in order.  Poodles need regular haircuts and Buddha is looking shaggy and smells like pond scum.

Underneath a pile of papers in my office I find unpaid bills, to-do lists and an earring I’ve been missing for several weeks. Muddy footprints lead the way from office to kitchen to bedroom. In the kitchen I stop to make a cup of espresso, noticing the sticky stuff on the counter—hummingbird water? While cleaning it up I see streaks of something on the fronts of the cupboards and grab another sponge. In the bedroom clothes are stacked high on a chair in the corner…as I begin to sort through them I’m amazed I’ve lived like this for so long! Normally I’m fairly organized—cluttter drives me around the bend.

I hear the washer sing its little song to tell me the load is finished. When I get to the laundry room I’m astonished by the stacks of clean towels, dishtowels, and bathmats. No wonder there’s nothing in the linen closet. I load the smelly comforter the dog has been sleeping on into the dryer hoping that it’s really clean. With our new low water use washer I’m never quite sure.  Unable to face the time it will take to put things where they belong I head back upstairs empty-handed.

I know I could spend an entire day on the kitchen alone but I’m determined to make a visible dent on the house today and so I head to the living room carrying the vacuum. Although poodles don't shed, the cat does and there are dust bunnies under every piece of furniture.

Walking by my office a few minutes later I’m pulled to sit down and check e-mail. And of course while I’m here I have to do a little bit of editing on Book 2. And of course write a blog…


  1. I'm not one for giving advice but stop everything you're doing and walk your dog. Best for you. Best for your dog.

  2. The photo tells me you are a paper and ink hoarder. The solution is simple: 1)Make sure you have automatic backup software operating on your computer, because you will be 2)detaching your printer, and 3)buying the next book you read in the form of electronic digits. Think of this as an environmental tree-killing problem, if that helps you.

    I'll need a picture of your kitchen before I can make any more recommendations.

    Seriously, Nikki, I use the "small chunk" method of cleaning. When I get up from my crowded desk to get a cup of coffee, I take two dirty cups to the kitchen sink. I go out to get the morning paper, I walk around the block. I go to fix lunch, I load some dishes in the washer. You can do it!

  3. Thanks Stephen and Dane--woke up this morning to blue skies--dog is definitely going to the river today! House cleaning can wait.

  4. Samantha Smith
    That's not an actual picture of your office, is it? Sometimes I have to tell myself no email until chores are done. The computer is such a time suck!!

    1. No! not my real office--if it was I might have to light a match! Things haven't gotten quite that bad yet...and yes, computer does tend to hold one in its grip...

  5. Heavy duty housework is good therapy. Gives the mind a rest and leaves you with concrete but shortlived achievement. Having said that your reference to dust: For instance there is dust on every available surface, including baseboards, tables, and window ledges. put me in mind Quentin Crisp once said - along the lines of 'once you have dust why disturb it? No one will notice another layer.'

    1. Hey, I like that! Just another layer...and yes, housework can be very therapeutic, like going for a run (which I never do)...Thanks for the comment, Mike.