What I'm reading: Second Chance Pass by Robyn Carr
I've got a giveaway today. Be sure to leave a comment.
Today's the day. Is it the beginning or the end? The house is freshly painted. Most of the inside repairs are finished. The window man hasn't called back, and we still have to find the right hinges for the guest bathroom cabinets, but we've met the goal of having it ready to list. The POD is going away this afternoon.
I started thinking about how much getting the house ready for market is like getting a book ready to sell.
In my case, I'll write the initial manuscript, which will undoubtedly be long, and there will be a lot of precious words that aren't really vital to moving the story forward. Much like the 'before' picture of hubby's office.
When it's finished, it's going to need a lot of editing. Each scene has to be considered. Is it needed? Is it in the right place? Should I save it and put it in my 'cuts' file to be used another time?
The realtor had us remove almost everything personal. My dining room wall that used to display memorabilia from all our travels? Bare. No family pictures. And, of course, no more skulls. Even my silk plants are gone (okay, they were on the dusty side, but they did brighten up the place).
The edits begin, and continue. The process is different for every writer. Just as hubby and I approached the "house editing" differently, one author might try to have a polished chapter before moving onto the next, while another might write straight through from page one to the end without going back. I think in the long run, it takes about the same time from start to finish.
But what happens when you finally have that manuscript as gorgeous as it can be? It needs to find that special buyer. That one editor who's going to fall in love with it, accept that it might have flaws, but be willing to work with it. So, you start sending it out. And then, it's out of your hands. You wait.
Our realtor is the "agent." His job is to find that one buyer who will love our house. So, although our goal has been met, and our house is ready, we're really just beginning the journey.
How will we deal with the pressure of waiting, not being able to do anything? It's kind of like waiting for the mail each day. Will there be a request for a partial? A full? Or a rejection?
And then there's the down-and-dirty reality. Or, should I say, the 'down-and-clean' reality? The house has to be ready to show. Maybe for months and months. No leaving dishes in the sink, or clutter on the counters. Wastebaskets empty.
I'll confess here. When I went to work full time years ago, the contingency was that we hired someone to do the cleaning. Up until now, I've managed to keep that in the budget. However, given our new financial circumstances, I've cut back to every other week. Of course, we've always done the laundry, made beds (although hubby wonders why, since we have to unmake them to get into bed every night), wash dishes, etc. all on our own—but the vacuuming, mopping, and serious cleaning was left for the service. It's been a long time since I did some of those basics myself.
And, just as the technology my characters use in my books has changed, so, apparently, has the housecleaning variety. And, since we figure we're going to have to keep things spiffy on a more frequent basis, I thought I'd try one of those gizmos I'd seen on tv that looked faster and easier than a vacuum cleaner for our wood and tile floors. (Not to mention it took me a while to find the 'on' switch for the vacuum cleaner).
So, after the carpet cleaners left, I had the humbling experience of trying to assemble a Swiffer. No words, just pictures on the box in lieu of instructions. It took me an embarrassingly long time to figure out how to attach the pads to the base unit.
What are the little tricks that keep you from going crazy with having to become neat-freaks? And the bits of magic that make the house irresistible to buyers? I don't think I'm going to be baking cookies every day so the house smells like a bakery. It's hot, and I hate turning on the oven (and besides, using it will get it dirty!)
Any advice? Share a suggestion in the comments section. It can be a hint for making the house look good, or a hint for keeping the marriage intact during the process! I'll give an autographed copy of What's in a Name? to one commenter.