I've been saving up a whole stack of dirty dishes just for her.
On to writing.
I haven't had much time for it. However, last weekend I did get in some activity. I found three markets that wanted stuff I have. One of those markets seemed like the place for me to submit a little romance short story titled "The Affair." "The Affair" was about 6100 words. The contest dictated a limit of 4,000 words.
I managed to cut it enough. It wasn't easy.
I went through it three times. The first time was easy. I do tend to over-write and put in sentences that are unnecessary—the same information is given elsewhere, usually a few sentences later. So the first time through I reduced the story to about 5100 words. There is no doubt that the story was better and more readable without those unnecessary thousand words.
The second reading got it down to 4600. And finally the third edit got it down to 3950. I don't know if the final version is better that the 5100-word version. I don't think it's as satisfying from the author's point of view, but I can hope the editor/judges like it.
As a writer, that is something you really need to learn to do: cut; slice and dice; chop, shave, and any other synonyms.
"When your story is ready for rewrite, cut it to the bone. Get rid of every ounce of excess fat. This is going to hurt; revising a story down to the bare essentials is always a little like murdering children, but it must be done."
-Stephen King, in Writer's Digest
Here's one more King quote: "If you don't have time to read, you don't have the time (or the tools) to write. Simple as that."I have not yet read it, but King's book On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft has received plenty of good reviews.