Writing Wins and Woes: Spring Cleaning your Writing Life

760I’m finally finishing off this series. The idea for this just came to me in a haphazard way. I’m a cleaner. It’s spring. Let’s write about what I know best. I clean so much that I dream about cleaning at nights. So really I pretty much clean round the clock. Today, I thought I’d focus on cleaning supplies. Without the proper equipment, you can’t clean well. I could use any old rag and a bucket of water, but crayon marks, scuffs and lots of other nasties just wouldn’t vacate the premises. At our job, we use microfiber cloths and I’ve come to appreciate the importance of microfiber. It tends to attract dirt like a magnet. It’s also very soft and flexible. Cleaners are important, too. You can make your own cleaner. I’ve mentioned that before. It’s actually easy. You just use a mixture of baking soda, lemon juice, water and vinegar. The lemon juice helps to counteract the vinegar smell. But these ingredients all help with odor too. I made glass cleaner from two simple ingredients already, dish detergent and water. Mostly, I tend to buy cleaners now. I like anything that smells good and cleans. Other essential equipment for cleaning is a good mop and bucket. I prefer the mops we have at work but have not really found them very available for private use. We have rectangular microfiber mops and buckets that have mop pads. The pad releases from both ends and is squeezed out in a special bucket then stretches again for cleaning. It is light weight and cleans great. A light weight vacuum with good suction is essential for cleaning; also with attachments. We have vacuums at work without attachments and it is frustrating when you want to clean under desks so I now use a backpack vacuum at work which has a long hose and nozzle for picking up anywhere. Here are some little extras that make cleaning easier: Magic Eraser (great for crayon marks, marker and many other things) green scotch brite pad, rubber gloves.  You don’t really need a lot to clean; just the basic supplies.

Now, how does this relate to writing? The proper supplies are essential for writing. I like to put them into two categories. Old School and New School. If you are old school and I’m in transition, you need pen and paper. I use lots of notebooks. I often write ideas down for stories, novels, and even write the story first in a notebook. I definitely do a lot of my research this way. But New School people don’t touch the pen and paper anymore. They just use their laptops, and a good Word program. I love Word. However, it now costs me a lot to have it and I’ve switched to Open Office. Many people say Open Office is just as good and it’s free. I just find it passable. It erased one of my novels and I will never forgive it for that. Writing books are another resource for writers. I like Ryan Lanz’s The Idea Factory which has about 1000 writing prompts. When I first started writing, I bought some of the Writer’s Market books but it’s easy to look a lot of stuff up o the internet now, and you don’t need them as much. Writing doesn’t require a lot, mostly just a lot of hard work and determination. Just like cleaning. So, I hope you enjoyed this series.

As an added bonus to this edition, I am presenting a little book review for Jane Yate’s new book, Octopus Pirate. I really enjoyed this book, and surprisingly I didn’t think I would. I love Jane’s Garden book, which is a modernization of the Secret Garden. It’s beautifully told. But I’m not a big pirate fan and I find  octopus revolting, but this book snagged me from the beginning. It starts on a sea voyage with a wife almost ready to have a baby who slips overboard. She delivers her baby in the ocean, and dies, but somehow the baby is rescued by an octopus and lives. Sounds quirky but it works. The baby is pushed to shore where a nun who lives on an island with lots of goats and cats, finds the baby and raises him. She names him Coco and he discovers that’s he’s quite an unusual individual. He has unique characteristics that come from the octopus that rescued him. Coco has many adventures, including joining a circus.  The only disappointing factor in the book is that Coco doesn’t actually start his pirating. We’ll have to see the next book for that. So, if you’re interested in a quirky story with splashy characters, try Jane’s book, Octopus Pirate.

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