This past weekend, I methodically took out all the larger objects out of the garage (car, recycling container, trash container, paint cans, etc.), lifted the brush broom, and started sweeping.
Because I think about writing and editing all the time, as I cleaned, I thought, “huh, this is a lot like editing.” I especially noticed this after I had cleared away the layer of dust and potting soil I spilled months ago (I’m clumsy). I used the brush broom to push out the errant particles, then I repeated it, making the cement progressively smoother. It reminded me of each refinement pass I make as I edit my own work (or the work of others).
When it was all done, I stood proudly, holding my broom in one hand, and wiping sweat from my brow.
Just as I felt better clearing out the months of guck, I always feel better about choosing the right words and placing them in the best place on a page.
Like cleaning, the refinement process can be exacting, time-consuming, and arduous, but the end result is always worth it.
How about you? What strange analogies can you make between your daily life and your work?