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Guerrilla grouting and writing

End of week 5, emergency remodel.

In February, our upstairs bathroom sprung a leak that dripped down the wall and through the ceiling downstairs. We wanted to replace the bathroom and kitchen floors anyway, so we hired our contractor friend.

We live in a 100-year-old house and, as these projects tend to go, one thing led to another and our two-week job is now almost into week six.

I appreciate our contractor because I’m about as handy with a hammer as an elephant is with a paint brush (excepting those amazing elephant artists). I do have an awesome pink hammer but the most action it’s seen is when I accidentally dropped it on my foot when I brought it home from the hardware store.

Since my contractor will be gone for the next week, I volunteered to do whatever needed to be done in order to keep the momentum going. I want my house back. I want my life back. And I have a deadline because of an event in May. So–my job this weekend is to grout the shower tiles and finish grouting the floors.

Me? Grout? Never done it in my life. But I’m motivated. And I remember how much fun I had finger painting as a child.

So, what does this have to do with writing? Recently, I’ve also been learning to write in a new genre. I’ve written poetry, memoir, and essays, but this is my first foray into writing fantasy. My plan of attack has been a bit like my plan for learning to grout.

My learning curve in grouting went something like this today:

1. Learn from the experts. I had two guys give me verbal lessons in grouting. I absorbed what they said, asked questions, and then wrote it all down afterwards. Similar to my process when I take a writing workshop.

2. Expand on what I’ve learned. Tonight, I’ll be watching some YouTube videos on grouting to actually see how it’s done. I’m highly visual but I also know if I can learn something with more than one sense, I will learn faster and better. Same with learning about writing. I learn through attending workshops (listening) and by reading books on writing (seeing).

3. Just do it. My hands-on training comes tomorrow when I dive in (unsupervised) and just do it. The best way to learn anything is by doing it. I’ll start small to build my confidence just like I do when I’m learning something new in writing. I don’t sit down and write a book or even outline a book in one day. I write a word at a time. The important thing is to start and stay at it until it’s done.

4. Have a good attitude. Am I afraid to grout? Yes. What if I screw up? What if I ruin it all? But I won’t allow myself those thoughts as I dive in tomorrow. I’m making a game of it. I’ll pretend I’m some great artist in ancient Rome creating something out of nothing. Hey, if you need to take on a different persona to get the job done, then go for it! What if I imagined myself as a great fantasy writer while I was writing my next book?

An old Chinese saying comes to mind, “To become a master, assume the traits of a master.” Or, to become a grouter/writer, assume the traits of a grouter/writer.

I’ll keep you informed of my grouting/writing journey. I may even share pictures (of the grouting…pictures of me writing may put you to sleep). Have you ever done something unrelated to writing that turned out to remind you of writing?

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