The workmen are long gone and now the exciting part of house renovation begin – decorating and furnishing the interior. This is the fun part. The part where we get to go and choose new furniture, accessories and colour schemes. What would make this part even more fun would be if we could pay for someone to do the decorating for us. Or even find a supposed painter and decorator who would actually like a job instead of shaking his head at my suggestions (which weren’t outlandish by anyone’s standards. I only wanted wallpaper on the walls and cream paint on the woodwork) and trying to force his own suggestions onto me. Needless to say, neither of us parted on friendly terms.
It’s fair to say that both my husband and I hate DIY decorating. Firstly, it’s never straightforward. What you imagine will be a relatively easy job rapidly turns into a massive headache when you discover damp on the stripped walls or half the plaster falls off the wall when you rip off the dated dado rail. And if this wasn’t enough, which frankly it is, decorating is time-consuming and tedious beyond belief. Then there is the added bonus of the fact that I am completely and utterly crap at decorating and find it impossible to do anything without making an almighty mess.
However, even I thought that I could paint the newly plastered walls of our conservatory. Not only were they newly plastered, the room isn’t particularly large and it currently without skirting boards. What could go wrong? Surprisingly enough, nothing. I managed to paint the walls without painting myself or the floors, which is a first. You would probably think I was buoyed up with success and extremely fussy with myself. And, perhaps, I would have been if it hadn’t been so boring.
Three hours I spent painting which wouldn’t have been so bad if I only had to do one coat of paint. But I didn’t. There was also a delineate second and a possible third to contend with. And the other five rooms that needed to be done. All the hours spent and to spend painting spread out in front of my eyes and made me want to throw my paintbrush down (carefully, so as not to make a mess of course) and proclaim that I wanted to live in a dump forever more.
The problem with the bigger picture is that, sometimes, it frightens us into inactivity. The task seems so impossible that there’s no point attempting it in the first place. I find the same thing with writing. I’m comfortable writing short stories and plays. The thought of writing anything longer causes me anxiety. What if I can’t develop a longer plot? What if I can’t write that many words? It worries me that I’ll never finish what I start so what’s the point of starting in the first place?
The answer as I damn well know is to break tasks into manageable small pieces. Today I will paint the walls, tomorrow I will paint them again. Today I will start a longer piece of work, tomorrow I will write another 500 words of it. And so on and so on until I reach the end goal. Small pieces are what’s needed. It’s a pity that I have to keep reminding myself of it.