August 8, 2010

Getting Rid of the Clutter

Hi, everyone. It’s been a while since I’ve posted here on The Walrus and the Carpenter blog. If you read my Christian inspiration blog or follow me on Facebook or Twitter, you know that I’ve been recuperating from surgery. Finally, I’m back to a normal schedule, and I’m tackling all the clutter that’s accumulated in the past few months.

Clutter distracts me from writing. I like my workspace clean and my bookshelves covered. That’s right, muslin curtains hang in front of my bookshelves because looking at the spines of all those books is too darn distracting. Any sort of physical clutter switches my brain from writing to the things I have to do. Some writers thrive in a chaotic environment. I prefer to keep clutter to a bare minimum. This week’s mission was sorting through a stack of papers that I'd piled near my workspace and putting away several boxes of book samples that arrived while I was sick.

Then there’s emotional clutter, all the unresolved mental stuff rattling around in my head. I had cancer. It’s gone now, but still my brain is swimming with thoughts of that and whether I’ll remain cancer free. Medical bills cause emotional clutter as does finding work and focusing on things in my life that I want to change. Phone calls, email messages and snail mail all contribute to emotional clutter. I can’t throw a cover over it, but I've found that it helps to change my writing venue. I like to get in my car and drive to a quiet place to write. (Read more about my quest to find the perfect place here.) I’ve been working on a book about my experience with uterine cancer, and so far, most of what I’ve written has happened at the lakefront and not in my home office.

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about Albert Einstein’s Three Rules of Work. He said, “Out of clutter find simplicity; From discord find harmony; In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity.” I’m hanging onto those words as I emerge from the clutter of the past several months. It’s been a rough road, but I’m moving forward with the help of simplicity, harmony and the hope of new opportunities.

I’d love to know how you deal with the physical and emotional clutter in your life. How does it affect your writing? Leave a comment and let me know.


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quietspirit said...

I'm glad to know you're better. This thing about clutter is one of my short falls. I have those good intentions but you know what they say about them.
Emotional clutter and mental clutter sometimes allows me to write. I found myself writing in a spiral bound notebook when I went through a period of deep depression. Writing helps me gain perspective over a troublesome issue.

Jean Fischer said...

Hi, Quietspirit.

Thanks for your comment. I react differently to emotional clutter. I tend to shut down, and that keeps me from being creative. I wish I could be more like you and use writing to help me through the rough spots.


Susan Panzica - EternityCafe said...

Sorry to hear about your medical journey, but glad to hear you're on the mend.

Clutter is one of my biggest obstacles in life. I often say that if I were to write an autobiography, it would be titled "Fear of Filing". Wierdly, part of my problem is perfectionism. Unless something is perfect, I see it as a temporary mess. One unfiled paper can send me into a clutter tailspin.

To combat emotional clutter, I've taken to carrying a small memo pad with me and jotting the flighty thoughts that float in my head. Getting onto paper seems to relieve the morass in my brain.

btw- I ordered your latest book. My niece is named Sydney and often vacations on the Outer Banks.

Blessings to you. May you heal quickly and fully.

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Jean -

I'd like less clutter. I'm quite sure someone sneaks into my house during the night and dumps papers on my desk. Surely, it's not moi. :)

I've learned to write in less than ideal circumstances, but hopefully I'll win the battle against junk.


Jean Fischer said...

Susan P. I share your perfectionist problem. Like you, if I see anything is out of place it's clutter. And thanks so much for ordering "Sydney's Outer Banks Blast." I hope your niece enjoys it.

Susan R. Watch out for that Clutter Fairy!