This is the part of an occasional series of posts about what it’s like to be a professional writer.

I was blessed with a mother who was naturally organized, and ever so slightly this side of a being a neat freak. I, on the other hand, was completely uninterested in, and bored by, cleaning. There was always something to do that was more interesting or fun.

As I’ve matured, I haven’t changed one bit in this regard. I still think cleaning is one of the worst ways to spend my time. Sure, I like having a semi-orderly space in which to live and work, but I’m simply not going to put in the effort to make every surface shine.

Unless I have a looming deadline.

There must be some writers out there for whom every word flows effortlessly, and each completed paragraph is a joy for them to behold; writers who live secure in the knowledge that each manuscript is a masterpiece, and there is nobody on the planet who could have done a better job with the topic.

But if there are writers like that, I haven’t met them yet.

Dorothy Parker famously quipped, “I hate writing, I love having written.” To which I reply, “Word.”

I care about the final product that will be on public display, which can make the process difficult, full of self-doubt and endless internal editing. It doesn’t seem to matter whether the piece is a mystery novel, a poem, a blog post or other content for a client– I expend much worry over whether a phrase is right, whether the word I’ve chosen conveys exactly the right meaning. Add a deadline and the angst increases a thousandfold.

Because this process repeats itself with each creative effort, I try to find ways to avoid, or at least delay, the discomfort.

Which is why my house will sparkle by the end of today.