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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