Wednesday, July 24, 2019

It Started With A Pencil

Last week I wrote how although I was looking for a pencil, I wound up cleaning out a small drawer in my kitchen. I call it the junk drawer. If you didn’t catch that post, you can read it by clicking HERE. 

Since that post, I’ve reorganized my pantry and completed the huge…let me restate that…HUGE job of cleaning and organizing my office. It was as if de-cluttering that one drawer flipped a switch in my brain and set me on fire to take care of other areas of my life.

Now those of you who read my blog because you want to strengthen your own writing, hang in there. Those of you who enjoy a peek into my crazy life, hold on. Here it is. And I think the two go hand in hand.

I like to think (or at least placate myself with this notion) …where was I? Oh yes, I like to think creative people are often surrounded by a mess. Where the artist has spilled paint everywhere, paint brushes, sketches, and canvas strewn about, the writer has a plethora of post-it notes on walls and computer screens, endless reams of paper, countless pens, calendars and planners, and folders filled with story ideas (the equivalent of the artist’s sketches).

It shouldn’t be. I complete most of my writing on the computer yet I collect notepads and paper as if stockpiling for when the government decides to ration such necessities. I can’t pass up a free pen or a pad of sticky notes. 

I can almost understand those stationary store type items surfacing in my office. They are, after all, at least related to the work I do. But while tackling my office this week I found at least three paper napkins with ideas written on them for stories. I have a church bulletin insert with a scene for a past book written on it in the margin of the sermon notes I’d taken. Sorry, pastor, I may have not been fully engaged in the sermon that day. I found books I’ll never read and four canvas bags…with nothing in them.

I found artifacts from writing conferences, a roll of tape missing since Christmas and a sweet note written to me by my granddaughter when I was living in Kosovo. She sent it to me via her mother. It included a “mood ring.”  Nora instructed me to put it on and it would change color according to my attitude. Or as she wrote, my “atutood.”

You think I digress? Not at all. You see, now that I’ve reclaimed my office; now that I’ve appropriately filed the papers I’m keeping, shredded old documents, and filled trash bags with scraps of paper I’ll never need or use, my attitude has changed. I don’t need a ring to tell me that. 

I’m writing unfettered. My daily word count has increased. My next book is moving along swiftly as if the story unfolds itself each morning beneath my fingertips. And here’s the biggie: When I leave the office, I’m done. I don’t have this cloud hanging over me that I should be working. The work for the day is finished. The clear writing environment allows for that to happen. I have no distractions. I have no concerns that I should be doing something else in my office. My office is for writing. And I love it


  1. Decluttering my life in general is needed and definitely includes my writing. I’m a note taker and post-it maker but, the problem is, I can never find them.

    1. I understand! I live this life. It is an ongoing process. Best of luck! What do you write?

  2. I enjoyed your post and applaud you for getting decluttered. I have writer-clutter of my own. I have many canvas tote bags--some contain everything related to a writing class or creativity class. Others contain unfinished writing projects. But I can't find my laptop bag, which I need so I can write at a library or cafe. Guess it's time I started decluttering also!

    1. Welcome to the club! I think this is one of those universal problems...but we are writers...we can solve this by Chapter 25!


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