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Monday, August 20, 2012
12:00 AM | Posted by Maureen | | Edit Post
I subscribe to The Passive Voice and on Saturday, they sent their newsletter summation including a bit on how creativity is stifled by a clean desk.
Great, here I am, working hard to clean clutter out of my life and I see this.
And I think, “Well, f*ck.”
I’ve hired someone to help out! I’m paying out cash for help! And in two days, Mr. Clutter and I are tackling my office, and looking to clean it. And actually get me a desk. Because I truly do need some routine and order in my life, not just with writing but also with my home and yard.
And I do see the correlation.
In the beginning I wrote from chaos and I flourished. As the house grew more cluttered and the yard overgrown…I escaped into writing. And Starbucks. And I’d fantasize about how someday I’d get an espresso machine, pay someone to clean my house, reclaim my yard from the jungle rapidly overcoming…well, everything…and be the writer with the office, full of light and dust-free.
I do have an ambitious imagination.
Years passed…and it really was time to forget the fantasy and get with reality. Writing got tougher, the chaos inside my head growing more difficult to wade through to find the gems. The out-of-control berry vines from my yard pushed through the floorboards into the office and strangled my creativity. (Metaphorically. I don’t really have a thorny berry vine in my office. Really.)
But they are out there…in that mass of greenery. View thru the screen of my future office. There used to be a path…and there is gated garden out there, with a bench and an arch and a greenhouse… Really! (I keep the curtain closed a lot.
Plants don’t like to be ignored. They will grow and thrust themselves into notice. Much like how cats and dogs will climb into laps or start knocking over precious items. Kids will do what kids do to get attention. My house can’t climb into my lap, but it can just get smaller and smaller.
My therapist asked me a few weeks ago what the clutter in my life would say if it had a voice. I thought a moment and answered her. “Why don’t you love us anymore? Why don’t you use us? Dust us? If you don’t want us anymore, let us go!”
Which is what I’m working on.
I wonder how much of this is tangled in my current writer’s snarl. It was inevitable that the clutter and its many voices would intrude. One can only wear blinders for so long before the feeling of claustrophobia intrudes into the creative territory. The house grew smaller, the paths where I once indulged my writer child grew overgrown.
It’s been my experience that the more cluttered my life has become, the more challenged I am to pull the many storylines I have tangled in my head into some sort of…order. So that I can write and not just think about writing.
So, Mr. Clutter was hired.
I am hoping that as the clutter is removed from my home…and then my yard, my head will clear. If I can keep the house and yard clear.
Which is questionable.
I know that writing styles are subject to change. Plotters try pantsing and discover it can work for them. Pantsers start puzzling, finding that writing out of order has its rewards for combating being stuck. Puzzlers suddenly create scenes in order from beginning to end.
Then we shift again and try something different. And some writers never change, find the one way that works for them and it never stops working for them.
We hate those writers.
Even when we wish we were like that. I feel the same way about the effortless house cleaners and perennially organized.
So, the question is this, when I have that desk, that office that isn’t full of assorted boxes and bins of segregated, but not organized, promotional materials, when I can find a clear surface to perch my laptop and see my research materials on a shelf behind me instead of scattered haphazardly around my home…can I keep it that way? Will I need some semblance of chaos about me? What level of mess is acceptable?
I’m a little scared that I’ll get things fixed…and in less than a year, I’ll be whining that it’s back where it was… Sigh. My faith is weak.
Tell me, how much chaos/clear do you need to get your writing done? Is there a correlation between pantsing/puzzling/plotting and the desk/writing area in your home?