Our washing machine stopped working this week. It wouldn’t proceed to the spin cycle, which meant water didn’t drain. I tried some rudimentary troubleshooting, which led me to believe it was the washer lid switch. I was pretty sure I could figure out how to replace it. Anything more serious, and I’d have to hire someone.
It actually took more time to scoop water from the tub than to replace the part. At least it should have. The ground wire ran to a screw on the underside of the top of the unit, which meant a tight space at an awkward angle. I tried a variety of wrenches and pliers but couldn’t get the grip I needed.
After 30 minutes of frustration, I ran to the hardware store for the right tool. A ratchet socket wrench for $24. I wasn’t thrilled, because that was more than the replacement part, but I wanted to get the project done. Fortunately, it was the perfect fit.
The screw loosened after a quarter turn.
And I thought, “a 30-minute round trip and twenty-four bucks for a quarter turn?” And then I concluded, “worth it”. I didn’t have to hire someone, and we could use the washing machine right away. With five people in the house and three dogs, it gets regular use, and we already had some piles.
But Mike, this is a writing blog, not a DIY fix-it website. I guess I better connect this story to writing, eh?
If you’ve spent any time writing, you’ve probably had a similar circumstance. You’re looking to rewrite a sentence and one of the words isn’t quite right. You have a decent vocabulary, so you type and rewrite, type and rewrite. Maybe you even have some tips or tools that usually help. Frustration probably sets in. At some point you grab the thesaurus, searching for the word with the exact nuance you need.
Blue is too common; azure and cerulean are too fancy. Aquamarine throws off the flow of the sentence. And there it is! Cobalt!
Looking back, it took you 30 minutes to find that perfect word. And without further ado, that job is done. It seems so simple in hindsight, and maybe you chastise yourself because you think you wasted time.
So what’s the message for writers, Mike? Well, I have two. First, I believe we are a different breed, and 30 minutes to find the perfect word is a perfectly acceptable use of our time. We should relish the victory that other people are incapable of enjoying. Hopefully, this assuages any guilt you have the next time you go through a similar situation!
But speaking of 30 minutes, it also can result in something like this post, which brings me to my second point. The title for this post “Twenty four bucks for a quarter turn” literally came to me as I completed that turn and the post pretty much wrote itself after that. Thirty minutes can result in a single word or five hundred. Both are valuable. Writing is a funny thing, isn’t it?
Good luck with your writing!
Enjoy what you just read? Leave a comment or like the post, and we’ll ensure that you see more like this!
© Michael Wallevand, May 2023