Happy Friday! We haven’t had a bonus Friday post in a little while, so we wanted to pop-in with a quick look behind-the-scenes at the writing of a recent post, enabled by a natural experiment / minor blog disaster.
We’ve written on the blog before about the benefits and details of running the blog as a collaborative pair. Long story short: it’s awesome. We also have a pretty good system for handling the logistics: setting up our post schedule in advance and often deciding then who will take the lead on the first draft of our collaborative posts, and who will sweep in afterward for revisions, polish, and to punch up the “funniness” as much as possible.
Even when we don’t decide, we can see post drafts in wordpress so we don’t duplicate work. Except in special circumstances…
These circumstances happened in the writing of the recent tiny blogger post about their new hardwood floors. Naomi had 4 hours on an airplane, and decided to use that time to get some post writing done. However, without internet she had to write in Microsoft Word… and so completed a full draft of this post while Sage was simultaneously writing it in wordpress. It wasn’t until that evening in the hotel room that the disaster was discovered.
(“Disaster seems a little extreme for such a minor inefficiency,” you say. Wrong! Remember that we are two busy grown women who just spent an extra hour writing a satirical first-person account of manually installing hardwood floors in a fixer-upper dollhouse.)
However, this disaster created an interesting natural experiment to see how we’d go about writing the exact same post about a project that we had done together. It was pretty amazing to see that we landed on the exact same structure, used a lot of the same words, and made a lot of the same jokes. It also spells out a particularly extreme example of how our usual writing and revision process works.
We enjoyed comparing our posts, and so we thought you might, as well! So here are a few examples of what we each wrote for different parts of the post – and you can compare it to the final, which we made out of our favorite parts of each.
Tiny bloggers back in action! We know it’s been awhile since Naomi and Sage last let us post, not to mention how they treated us when we showed up to their dinner party. We just refuse to believe the donut is past its prime!
Tiny bloggers here! It has been a little while since we’ve posted here, hasn’t it? I bet you thought we all had a falling out after Naomi and Sage kicked us out of their awesome party for bringing lame-2016 donuts to share, but that wasn’t the case. If anything we just felt totally mortified that we weren’t on trend and grateful that they pointed that out to us. After all, if your friends don’t stop spending time with you because you still like types of pastries that are SO-2016, how will you learn?
Funny that we both went right for the donut joke…
Setting the Stage by Describing the “Floors Before”:
Anyway, while they’ve been fooling around with party decorating, we have been hard at work. Today we are excited to share a major project we just finished: we laid new hardwood floors in our whole house! And boy was it needed — the orange-toned floors just weren’t doing it for us, plus Naomi and Sage got paint on them when they painted our house. Sloppy handiwork, ladies! [Editors’ Note: it is hard to get a clean line cutting in when your hand and the paintbrush take up about 50% of the entire room.]
We had removed the wallpaper and painted everything a clean white, but we were missing one tiny element – the floors. They were horrible, and not just because our
sloppy contractorsgenerous friends who helped us paint got splatters everywhere. They were a dark orange wood, and even looked like they had been made from one big board rather than planks like normal floors should be. All in all, not the sophisticated “this is a real house” effect we were going for.
Notice that “orange” and “sloppy” are themes here…
Acclimating the wood floors:
When they arrived we were eager to get started — but of course we knew from every blog ever that we needed to let the wood acclimate, so we let them sit out in Sage’s kitchen first.
We let it acclimate to our house’s environment (i.e., Sage’s kitchen) for a little while. (This was so it wouldn’t expand or contract after installation, and not because Naomi and Sage didn’t get around to helping us install it for a while due to complications like real jobs.)
We went for different jokes on this one.
Trying the saw:
The next step was figuring out how to efficiently trim the rounded ends off each board. Why would they even make them this way? We thought Sage’s miter saw might be the answer, so we hauled some test boards into the basement (I had not yet changed out of my Halloween costume…)
Popsicle sticks make great flooring because they are flat like boards. However, they do have inconveniently curved edges which need to be chopped off before the floor can be laid. We figured we’d save a lot of time on this step by using a giant saw, which is totally safe to operate while wearing a donut costume. (Don’t worry, this was back in 2016, so it was still cool at the time.)
Cutting the floors by hand:
Still, Naomi and Sage had to make it up to us somehow, and it pretty quickly became clear how: using scissors to cut the rounded ends off all 1,000 planks, one by one. We supervised.
The piles of rounded ends kind of looked like wooden fingernail clippings….
Frankly it was pretty boring to watch them, it took literally hours and they just kept whining about how the scissors were giving them blisters.
We tried a few times and then eventually had to give up on the power tools, even though using power tools and talking about using power tools is something that is really important for bloggers to do, so that you know we’re serious.
Unfortunately, we had to finish this project by hand. Specifically, Naomi and Sage’s giant hands. Each end of each stick had to be cut off with scissors. Sometimes the popsicle stick would crack and have to be thrown away or used to cut a smaller end piece. Every time the little end piece would fly around
the neighborhoodSage’s bedroom like a fingernail. Which is what they looked like.
Ah yes, they did look like fingernails…
After Shots and Closing:
We’ll probably make Naomi and Sage re-lay these few planks, but we do also plan to put down rugs and overall we love that the imperfections give it charm and a sense that they’ve been there for ages rather than being brand new. Kind of like buying brand new jeans with holes in them, right?
CLOSING EFFUSIVENESS AND AFTER PHOTOS
As in, Naomi didn’t actually finish the post in her draft and took the lazy way out, planning to try to make Sage write this part later.
We thought it was pretty fun to see the similarities and differences between our drafts! It was also nice reminder also of how collaborating on these posts usually makes them better and funnier than each draft would be on its own.
This disaster was sort of like an explicit, drawn-out version of the process that we go through for editing/revision, so we thought it would be good to share. We hope you enjoyed this little look behind-the-scenes of writing a post!