Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Biting, Chewing, Swallowing—Not the Same

Every month I look at projects that seem to have bred on my desk while I wasn’t looking. I’m sure every writer goes through this phenomenon once in a while. I always have big projects, small ones, and ones waiting to be given the light of day.

While trying to come up with a post here today, I took a good look at my eight-foot desk—a really good look. I may have taken on a bit much lately.

Among the piles of debris stacked along two thirds of the right side are the magazines and journals from the past two months that I have yet to read. Yes, I do keep that stapler in plain sight, so that I don’t have to rummage through those piles on a doomed search. I have a vague idea what’s contained in those piles; vague being the operative word. The dragons keep stray projects from deserting.

Really important prelim work for one of the novels I’m writing is piled prominently on the floor next to my chair so that I can grab it at a moment’s notice.

I know; chaos. Right?       

Sorting through everything doesn’t come easy for me; it’s a lot like chewing food. The reason is that I’m not sure what I’m going to need or how soon, which means I can’t quite put it aside yet. Living in Limbo is something that’s been necessary for quite a while. It’s not one of my favorite locales, but it beats living nowhere.

Swallowing digital bits and bytes is much easier. Believe it or not, my computer files are much more organized. I keep thinking about a piece from 60 Minutes done by Andy Rooney. He wanted to know if creative and productive people kept their offices neat and orderly, or if they looked like his—out of control on steroids.

I remember watching him wonder through the halls, taking an informal poll about  offices belonging to his colleagues. With camera dutifully following him, chronicling all that was to be seen, Rooney discovered that his domain was, in many aspects, more organized than several others on the staff. Because he knew how hard each of these men and women worked each day, and the types of schedules they kept, he concluded that people who were very productive and creative, were also messy and preferred it that way.

When I envision some of those offices, I can look at mine and smile. At least my books occupy a bookcase, I have no uneaten food lying around, I know where my extra checks are, and my computer is easy to get to. I have actual clear floor space.
Andy might be surprised at how disappointingly uncluttered my office area really is. Or, I could be kidding myself in a fit of guilt-ridden denial.

Must do something about this--I’ve ordered my actual work, now to tackle the physical side of things.

Until later, peeps. Let’s see, if I get all of that pile into the right-side file cabinet…



  1. Very Good post
    I could very well relate in many areas here
    keep posting
    clutter is a serious issue
    Keep inform
    Thanks for the g+ notification

  2. I admit, it defeats me at least once every two months or so. I've sort of gotten used to it, but I keep trying to keep clutter to a minimum. I'm just not very vigilant about it.

    Thanks for the comment, Phil.

  3. Absolutely brilliant! So like the chaos on my desk. The difference being that you have more will power and determination to order the chaos than I do. Maybe I should take serious inspiration here. Please post a follow up and photo:)

  4. I'll be sure to give it a whirl, Veronica. I have to do something with it before the weekend. We're going away for a couple of days and bringing back a young visitor, who'll stay a short while with us. I have to be more organized by then.

    Otherwise, I'll never be able to get back to work, with another voice in the house.

    Glad to know that mine isn't the only chaos in need of order. I don't feel quite so lonely now. Thanks.

  5. If Chaos be our family you are my long lost sister.
    I have a table behind me with R&D for a book and an end table stacked with “to be edited” writing. Then there are the drafts of poems literally under my feet. My first poetry manuscript is on a shelf next to my computer desk. My lap top and P.C. are often partnered with my smart phone just to keep up with my two blogs, two kids and until recently two dogs. The 4,000 postcards in my collection are growing much faster than I can categorize. This summer might see some relief. I’m hiring my 16-year-old daughter to type for me. When it gets to a frenzied frazzle I shut the whole mess down and go for a long walk by the river. In fact, that’s where I’m headed now.
    Glad I found your blog. Keep up the creative chaos clan alive.

  6. Kris,

    This week has been a major point that stuck in my craw. I took last weekend and went away. Got a solid 7+ hrs. writing done on Saturday. Came home. Monday went okay--sent everything to its destination. That's pretty much been it. Nothing done yesterday except one reblog of a great post over on Claudsy's Blog.

    My world turned on me suddenly and I'm just about to turn on it for the day. Decided that the office isn't the place to be today and am taking today off, too. Maybe by the time I return I'll have two blog posts, some poetry, and at least one partridge for my pear tree.

    So glad you stopped by, Kris. At least now I know I have passengers in my boat. We can have a sing-along when times get tough.

    Have a chaotic and productive rest of the week.