Writerly Spackle

Yesterday I tackled the first of several projects I’ve planned before moving into my new place. My grandmother gave me an ornate mirror years ago, and the genius that was me at twenty-five decided it’d be a good idea to paint it silver. Yeah. The glass broke while it was in storage, so before having it replaced, I decided to repaint it.

With wire brush in hand, I opened the garage door to let in the 80 degree air (!!) then went to work. For as much as I’ve dreaded this project, it went much faster than I expected, and within an hour I’d scraped off the old paint, cleaned it up with a can of condensed air (I could teach the people at Real Simple a thing or two), and sprayed it with two coats of white semi-glass paint. (Yes I used a wire brush AND spray paint and lived to tell about it.)

Now I just need to get a new, stronger middle and it will be all set.

Bet you can guess what this reminds me of, eh?

That’s right… writing! Or more accurately, editing. Sometimes a project can feel so daunting that it seems nothing short of a wire brush, a can of spray paint, and a jumbo-sized tub of spackle will fix it. But you have to start someplace. With the mirror I started by dragging the sawhorses to the center of the garage and propping the frame on top (saving a new document). Then I went to work with the wire brush, going round and round until I’d removed several layers of paint (delete! delete! delete!). Then I had a stiff drink (well, water), before shaking the can of paint (exercise to prevent writers’ butt) and laying it on thick. Well okay, maybe you should skip that part.

Looking at a project as a whole can become so overwhelming that you’ll never start, but if you take it step by step you’ll have a new mirror — er, draft — in no time.

About Melanie Hooyenga

Writer. Designer. Jock. Reader. Wife. Puppy-Mama. SCBWI member since 2015.


  1. Stephen Parrish

    It’s better to write crap than nothing. Just get something down, anything, and 90% of the inertia problem is solved. I’ve also learned that if you quit each work session in mid-sentence the next work session is much easier to start.

  2. With some MDF, batting, ribbon and a favorite fabric, you could turn it into a message board. Or!! Insert a dry-erase board and use it to write down plot notes and such.
    Nice analogy!

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