When I was in school and exam time drew near, my number one form of procrastination was cleaning. At no other time of year was my apartment or house so spotless as during exam weeks–except perhaps when deadlines for thesis were impending. This exercise was not only a form of procrastination, but it was a necessary part of my thought process. Somewhere in my life someone once said that the state of one’s home reflects the state of one’s mind. Given my particular neatnick tendencies, this resonates with considerable verve. I’m not obsessive compulsive, nor am I a true neat freak (I’ve had to give up proclivities in that direction since I married a man nowhere near as neat as myself…priorities, you understand). So part of my cleaning ritual during exams was an effort to put my thoughts in order. If the house was a wreck (and I’m talking orderliness rather than cleanliness…dust doesn’t bother me, much to my mother’s chagrin) then I simply could not think.
I’ve been having a bit of an issue with that today. After printing out an updated outline for Totem and making a “To Do” list for it today, I wasted a considerable chunk of time envisioning a new title for this blog (and thank you to Amy Lee of Evanescence for the lyrics which inspired it), running errands, and walking the dogs. And at last I conceded I needed to shovel out my office. Again. About every three or four weeks this action is warranted. My desk becomes a catch all for bills to be paid, coupons to clip, stuff to be filed, books I’m referencing, my Word Count calendar, stuff for the classes I teach (did I mention I’m a college instructor as one of my day jobs?), not to mention pictures and other nic-nacs. I figure when I can no longer balance a plate of snacks anywhere on it, it’s time to clean. So for the last forty-five minutes, I have been filing, hanging, tossing, clipping, and sorting. I’ve still got two pictures to find a home for (my mother brought them when she last came down), but otherwise, I now have SPACE on my desk. Yippee for that.
This is sort of a physical manifestation of the clearing of clutter Pot and I did with Totem last night. Between the two, I think my brain is now actually ready to work again. Naturally, hubby will be home from work in about ten minutes…ah well. I’ll get some writing in tonight.
What about you, fellow writers? Do you work better when you clear the literal and metaphoric clutter in your home and your WIP?