A few weeks ago as I was scrubbing my walls and getting our home ready to sell, I had an epiphany. One that clicked for me in correlation to my writing that I’d never quite seen before, but that made a lot of sense to me.
I’m calling it the “Cleaning House for Inspiration Method.”
- Decluttering (“You haven’t played with that toy in forever” stage) – Kill your darlings, check for overused words, and filter out areas in your story that are not moving the characters forward. It’s necessary so you’re not packing more into the rental van than what you need. No use wasting space on something that’s not really important to your story. Holding on to everything will only make it difficult to unpack later. Make it easy on yourself the first time around and throw unnecessary pieces out.
- Deep Cleaning (Magic Eraser Stage) – It’s painful. Really not fun, but you have to put in the work and polish those tough areas so they shine. It’s easy to want to skim past it and pretend that the grimy edges don’t need help, but if you don’t fix it now, someone will notice later. You want your best work presented.
- Showings (“Please buy my house so I can move on” stage) -You work so hard in hopes that someone will love your work as much as you do. Some people won’t receive your story well. Some will like it, but aren’t completely sold. And, then your book, one day, will find a buyer. This takes time and a great amount of persistence to keep going no matter what the feedback is, and the end goal is to sell your book—to find that one person that absolutely is delighted in your story. The important thing to remember is that the right people will fall in love with it and that’s worth waiting for. Keep showing it!
- Packing (Seasonal Items Stage) – Sometimes, you need to put your work away for a bit and move onto something else if it’s no longer benefitting you or moving you forward in the areas you desire in your writing. Bringing that piece of work out at a different time in your life where you have a fresh perspective may be exactly what your story needs.
- Moving Day (New Zone Stage) – Letting go of something that you cherish and have built memories with, is so difficult. There is that fear element of the unknown. Of starting over again. Now what? The beginning, however, is when magic takes hold. New opportunities present themselves because you’re viewing your surroundings for the first time in a new space. One that’s unfamiliar, yet thrilling and exciting. A new adventure ready to be explored, just waiting for you to arrive.
No matter what stage you’re in, remember to bring your inspiration, perseverance, hard work, willingness to learn and let go, commitment, faith, and belief in yourself that you’ve got what it takes to clean house and be ready to go on moving day!
Lauri Schoenfeld’s first love is her little clan of three silly kidlets and her wonderful hubby, Andy. Writing is a close second. She began writing poems at the age of nine, and her love for literature and music developed into composing thirty songs. In 2014 her short story, Christmas Treasure, was featured in an anthology called, Angels from their Realms of Story. Her favorite genre to write is anything dark, psychological, and suspenseful, but she enjoys expanding her horizons and dipping her feet in other genres as well. Lauri teaches summer writing classes for kids and mentors teens throughout the year. She’s a Child Abuse and Scoliosis Survivor. Lauri runs a group for teen girls with Scoliosis called, The S Squad. Their motto is Strength, Support and Self Confidence. She’s been known to dance around the house with a spoon as her microphone and sneak toppings from the ice cream bar. Lauri’s taken online classes at the Institute of Children’s Literature and was the President of the League of Utah Writers, Oquirrh Chapter for two years. She’s a member of Crime Writers and International Thriller Writers.