Sunday, January 3, 2016

Clean Up Your Act!

How many times have you hired a cleaning person?

How many times have you hired a cleaning service?

Do you have a weekly cleaning service in place at your home?

Do you have a live-in housekeeper? A cook? A nanny? A dog walker? Someone to mow your lawn? Shovel your snow? Weed your garden?

Do you hire staff when you have a party?

A lot of people hire other people to clean up their messes. It’s always been this way.

Here's A Story
Way back in the seventies, in what was considered cutting-edge times, The Brady Bunch, a fictional TV family, had a housekeeper even though Carole was a stay-at-home mom and Mike was only an architect.

But Alice was there mopping and dusting and cooking while Carole ran around to PTA meetings.

It’s still the same today for many types of (lucky!) people.


Because no one wants to clean up a mess.

Cleaning wastes time.

It’s boring to clean. It takes time away from earning money or playing with the kids. Most people hate cleaning. And so they will find a way to have other people clean at least a few things for them, depending on their budgets.

A Clean Sweep
I have a friend who was laid off from a great job about a year ago. She set to work cleaning other people’s houses in the neighbourhood for extra cash. A year later, she has a multi-woman team, and is making a great living cleaning other people’s houses, and funny enough, pretty much in her own neighbourhood.

It just goes to show you how many people hate to clean! Or at the very least, don’t have time to scrub toilets and bat away cobwebs. They hate cleaning so much they will pay others to do it for them.

There is a rare breed, and I’ve met a few of them over the years, my friend being one of them, who love to clean. They are in their glory cleaning other people’s stuff. So yes, some people love to clean and they will clean for almost anyone, for a price.

The funny thing about house-keeping is that anyone can do it, even little kids, and yet people will pay big bucks for other people to come in and mop the floors or pick up after a party or shovel the snow.

However, we all admit, nothing in the world feels better than walking into a shiny, clean, fresh-smelling home after a long commute.

Cleaning Is an Art
People who clean houses for a living have it down to an art. They work quickly and efficiently, knowing the short-cuts and how to combat specific challenges.

Freelance cleaning people can make $10 to $100 an hour, depending on how fabulous they are at their jobs, the type of house they are cleaning, and the financial means of their client. Some cleaners receive great tips and perks in addition to their fees.

Clean Up That Manuscript
Editing is much like cleaning. 

An editor’s job is to help the writer reach his full potential without losing his voice or intent. An editor’s role is to remove the clutter of developmental or grammatical errors, trim the fat, tighten up the manuscript, which essentially is cleaning up a writer’s work. When an editor has finished the job, the writer is free to keep or discard the editor’s changes and advice.

Most editors have post-secondary degrees and other training. Years in the trenches as a writer and editor brings experience with the process though not necessarily the skill. Some editors specialize only in specific tasks such as developmental editing or copy-editing. Some editors are well suited to offer all levels of editing. 

Freelance Editors
Considering the cost of education and the millions that publishing houses generate, one would think that a freelance editor makes $100s an hour. But, sadly that’s not true for the average freelancer. The current average of set fees posted on the internet against real editing time, not including emails, phone calls, and meetings, would likely fall between $5 to $60 an hour. It depends on the size of the project, level of editing, the level of the author’s writing ability, and the fee.

When it comes to editing, you often get what you pay for. Editing done dirt cheap will likely be competent but things will likely fall through the cracks, as the editor is working quickly. A really high priced editor may or may not deliver the best darned editing ever invented. A fee in the middle from an editor who has been working for a few years will likely guarantee a good job.

And it’s the same with the cleaning services you use in your home. You likely don’t hire the cheapest cleaning lady on the block but you don’t want to shell out big bucks either. So you go with the middle priced candidate and get a decent job, sometimes excellent.

Start the New Year with a Clean Slate
The next time you decide that you don’t want to pay for editing or proofreading, think about how much you shell out on other people cleaning up after you, your kids, and your dog. Isn't that manuscript you poured your blood, sweat, and tears into worth a cleaning as well?

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