, , , ,

Rachel KenleyThe title got you, admit it.

Stick with me for the next two blog posts and I promise you’ll understand.

This past weekend I planned to do a good amount of work on my newest manuscript as well as some writing business work, when the need for home improvement reared its ugly head.  A leaky toilet unexpectedly took priority over everything else.

I hate home improvement projects.  I feel completely out of my depth.  They take way too much time and have the potential for pain and disaster. And they tend to be very messy. The only thing worse is the money it can cost to hire someone to do the work for me.hi - tools

Fortunately, my dear friend M loves home improvement projects and is really good at them.  Her attitude?  “No problem.  This will be fun.”

When you think about branding, marketing, publicity, and developing a book launch for your newest release which is your response – is it like mine?  Or like M’s? Dread or excitement?

Most people I know look at the business side of writing the same way I thought of fixing a toilet – with a combination of reluctance, resistance, repulsion. Yes?

M pointed out that my response to the situation was because of my lack of knowledge on how to get through the process successfully. If I knew what to do, I would feel differently.

I was still (a little more than) reluctant, but I knew that she was right.  I was stepping into a completely unknown skill set and the outcome was very important to me – and my family.

Are you starting to see the connection?

Even though she knew how to proceed, we started from the very beginning.  We needed:

  1. Knowledge
  2. Gather Tools
  3. Put into Action
  4. Testing
  5. Results
  6. Next steps if necessary

youtubeFor knowledge – we went to YouTube, a serious treasure trove of experts on how to do something. We watched two different videos:  one short video on how to replace the wax seal under the toilet which connects it to the sewer pipes, and one longer one where the plumber removed the old and reinstalled a new toilet.  While watching the videos I made a list of the tools used that we needed to get.

It didn’t look too difficult.

M reminded me we were watching professionals who had been doing this for years (possibly decades) and done it hundreds if not thousands of times.  We would be able to do it, but it would not be even remotely as fast or smooth.

She was very right.

Once I felt comfortable with my new knowledge base we went to gather tools.  Some M had at her home (remember – she likes home improvement) and for some we went to Home Depot.  It was a quick and focused trip.  Why?  Because we knew what we needed and why.  We weren’t distracted by other products or other projects. (Admit it – you know exactly what that’s like). The cost and time were minimal.

After another stop (I’m having some car troubles too – can you believe it) and grabbing some lunch, we headed back to my home to put the knowledge and tools together in action.

We cleared out the bathroom and got to work disconnecting the toilet from the water line, emptying it of water, and releasing it from the floor (that was actually the toughest part – old screws needed a hacksaw!). After that we took up the old wax and the old screws, put down the new wax ring and screws, lined up the toilet with the screws (heavy, but do-able) and put the toilet back into place. (Bet you never thought to see images like this on this blog!!)waxring

For the record – the professional plumber’s video we saw?  He took less time to change out and replace the whole unit than we did just to replace the wax ring.

We reconnected the water to the toilet and got ready to test our results.

NOPE!  As soon as the water was turned back on there was a clear leak in the connection line which was probably contributing to the overall problem to begin with.  We turned the water off, and our next step was another trip to Home Depot for new tube for this section.

This we had to do twice – turns out these pieces are not standard and while we could fit the end into the toilet, it didn’t fit the wall nozzle.

What mistake did we make?

tubeWe forgot that we needed additional knowledge.  When we added a step to our process, we should have watched a video about this step specifically to learn what we needed.  Because we didn’t – we cost ourselves some time.

Back to testing and results and VOILA!  It worked.

I cannot tell you how great it felt to do this successfully.  The cost for parts was around $20.  I have knowledge I can use again and confidence and pride I can certainly use over and over.

So.. would you like to know how this is related to your writing business and income?

Join me here on January 18th and I’ll tell you.