Editing is like toilet cleaning

I have been working hard to finish another editing pass so I can share my manuscript with beta readers at the end of the month.

As I work, the commonalities between editing a manuscript and scrubbing the crapper become ever more obvious.

  1. You put it off until you can no longer tolerate the stench.

  2. To get it done, you have to roll up your sleeves and hold your nose.

  3. Good tools are helpful (for toilets; for editing)

  4. You have to not be afraid to confront your s**t.

  5. When you’re finished, everything is sparkly clean and you don’t mind letting someone else see it.

  6. Children will not do it without massive bribery and/or unending nagging.

Aren’t you lucky–you get not one but TWO toilet bowl pictures!

What parallels do you see between life and art? Do you put off editing? How frequently do you clean your toilet? Do share!

A hat tip to Carrie Rubin, who does “ew” in her blog so much better than I could ever hope to (see “Scaring Your Doctor from A to Z” and various posts with “offal” in the title).

8 thoughts on “Editing is like toilet cleaning

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  1. I’m an editor so I probably don’t count. I mean, put it in front of me and I edit. Promise myself I’m not going to change anything on this read-through, but I still do.

    Still, I like your analogy.


  2. LOL. You did a wonderful job with this analogy. 😉 I would add sometimes it take a few flushes to get those stubborn stains out.


  3. Brilliant post, Audrey, and the analogy resonates with me too! I hate cleaning toilets, and I hate editing even more. Actually, what I hate is the thought of editing, and starting. Usually, once I’m into I start to enjoy it.

    That’s not the same with the bog, though! 🙂


  4. Thanks so much for the mention, Audrey! Always a pleasant surprise to stumble upon. And yes, I do write a fair amount of “Ew” in my posts. Guess we have to be known for something. 😉

    I loved your analogy–very clever–but I think I’m the odd woman out. I actually don’t mind editing. In fact, sometimes I think the first draft is the most difficult. It’s like I’m possessed, and I can’t get it out fast enough. And then I get frustrated because I want it Right. Now. But with editing, I can sit back, crack my knuckles, and try to tidy things up. The creative challenge has been met–now it’s time to organize and clean. However, once I’ve been through the manuscript a million times, then the stench returns, and I dread it like I used to dread cleaning the toilet at Wendy’s many years ago. So I guess I go from stench to clean to stench again…


    1. Stench to clean to stench again… that just about sums up the cycle of life, doesn’t it?

      Reading your response made me realize that I love the most whatever part of the writing job I’m not currently doing. (When creating, editing is my favorite part; when editing, creating seems ever so much more fun.)


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