Monday, February 20, 2012

Just Keep Painting

In the last week and a half, we've had pneumonia, strep and RSV in our house. Tis the season. I lucked out and didn't get sick, but after sitting with my seven month old on my chest for two days straight, I had cabin fever so strong, I thought The Muppets were going to enter my house and sing about it

But... I couldn't leave... Mostly because I have three children and three different diseases.

I'm not sure how that happened... Some people are just lucky.

Right before they got sick we bought four gallons of paint. We decided to switch the kids rooms around, and then decided to do it in as much of an expensive way as is possible. While the kids were sick, it was just sitting my garage... a project that needed doing, a change in the house, and a way out of my cabin fever, without getting everyone I saw infected with not one, not two, but three diseases.


So last Tuesday, (Valentines Day), I decided to paint the kid's rooms. Because nothing says romance like paint fumes.

Sorry, honey.

Anyway, this is the color that I chose to paint my seven month old's room. It's called tide water, by The Martha. It looked blue, when I chose it.

 I got the baby safely asleep in the middle of my bed, put on Tangled for my four-year-old daughter, and then poured the paint. Still looked blue.

After I swiped the first roll of the roller, I looked back to check out the color. And instead of the awesome blue color you see on the right of you screen, it was green. Not just green, but an olive green.

That was not what I wanted. Not even a little bit.

I painted an entire wall, and then stood back and checked it out, and still, olive green. I thought, "Well... maybe it will dry differently." We recently painted the back splash in our kitchen red. It started the pinkest shade of magenta in the world, but it magically dried the right color. Paint does magic tricks while it dries.

 I decided to give it a bit of time, see what happened.

 I kept painting. After I had three walls painted I stood back, and checked out the wall that had dried.Still not blue. It was a darker olive green.


Because paint is expensive, (and I'm many times do I have to say it?) and because olive green is better for a boy's room then the bright purple that was there before it, I kept painting.  Sad though, because what I wanted wasn't happening.

But then something awesome happened. After I cut in and completely removed every trace of the purple, I stood back, and it was exactly the color I wanted. Blue...ish green.

 See, the color wasn't one hundred percent green... it was just green compared to the purple.

What does this have to do with writing?

See, I've been working on getting Hatched ready to self-publish, (at least I had been before remodeling the house, and dealing with my sweet sick kids,) and truth be told, I've been getting frustrated with it. No matter what I did, it turned out green. Not bad, just not what I wanted, not what I envisioned it would be.

But I learned something from painting... though this could just be the paint fumes talking... you can't know what color something is, until it's dry, and finished. Also, comparing your unfinished work to something that has been done for a while, is a bad thing. It'll only make your story look unfinished, because... surprisingly... it IS unfinished.

Moral of the story... finish. Keep going. Just keep painting. When you get that last word painted in, you can step back, and it'll be what you want.

And if it isn't, then you aren't finished yet.


  1. That's a great story, Sheena. Truthfully, that color doesn't look blue on *my* screen, but it does look REALLY pretty :)

    I'm sorry your family has been so sick! Hope everyone feels better soon and that you stay healthy.

    A lot of my writing projects have seemed like a mess until the last edits, when everything seemed to sort of come together. There's no way to know unless you stick it out. I can't wait to read Hatched :)

  2. Wow. There must be some very bad germs here on the Prosers. I think we're all dealing with major sicknesses right now. We should fumigate the entire blog and put ourselves in quarantine--with some chocolate covered cinnamon bears, a big comfy blanket and Netflix. :)

  3. LOL, Melanie, this has been a pretty crazy winter for us. Must be a lot of strong bugs going around.

    Sheena, love this post. Great story and analogy. You never know how anything will turn out until your done.

    Hope everyone gets better soon. :)

  4. Good advice, and a metaphor that appeals to my totally out of control color obsession. However, as someone who has been a boy for quite some time now, I must say I would prefer purple to olive green. Purple and say, forest green would probably be about an even matchup, and of course my real preference is for blue and/or white and/or grey aesthetically but yeah, purple over olive thanks.

  5. Sorry to hear about your sickly household Sheena. I will take a bunch of the sample swatches of paint and then stick them together so I know what it will look like on the wall. From the sample you posted, I would have thought "GREEN."

    I'm dealing with the similar sentiments with my current WIP. I'm a perfectionist, and I'm going on draft 4.5 now. I just keep finding things wrong with it. My publisher has given me a deadline, so I'm hoping it will force me to just suck it up and hand it over to the editor.

    Please lose the word verification/captcha. Not necessary these days, and it's almost impossible to read.

  6. Wow, it's so funny how I respond to these posts in my head and then forget to write them down here!
    Anyway, I love that color. And I love the analogy. It's so true: sometimes you just have to give it a little time to see what's really there.


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