Clutter Blocks My Brain – Or Does It?

 

Susan-Mermaid-avatarNo, this is not a blog about clutter (sort of). I’ve been reading a lot about clutter this month, however – when I’m not reading yummy romance novels, that is (Jamie Beck’s Worth the Wait  – so good!). It *is* the first of the year, though – and resolutions are made (and broken) every New Year. Mine is all about getting my house under control.

I’ve been reading The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, by Marie Kondo, and it is a fascinating read. And the best part of using her tips, is the number of bags that have already left the house. I can almost see myself gliding through a perfectly organized home. *brief pause* Okay, done with that mirage. But…

I remember a moment, years ago, at the beginning of my writing career, when my friend said to her mother, “Susan is one of those neat freaks. We have to pick everything up before we’re done playing.”

“She has a very small house,” her mother answered. “Small houses require a person to be very picky about being neat, or she will be overwhelmed in no time.”

And I patted myself on the back. I was a tidy person! I could clean the house, top to bottom, in a single day (it was a really small house).  I took care of my family that way. And I wrote while my daughter napped. It wasn’t hard at all!

(Fast forward thirty years….)  

Where did that woman go? Who is this aging writer, with Too Much Stuff in her clutches and Too Many Stories in her brain? My children are grown, I have a big(ger) house, and it’s a mess. I recently read an article about how creative people thrive in disorder and I wonder: how? I’m a creative person and, whenever I sit down to write, I find myself contemplating the clutter around me. I mentally shame myself for not leaping to my feet and cleaning it all up. Then, I tell myself, I could write in peace, loving the house I’m living in and having freedom to spin my glorious tales (which would immediately make every bestseller list known, and gain me a gazillion dollars).

 Something tells me my fantasy is a lie. Clutter and brain block are separate problems, and it’s blame-shifting to allow myself to delay writing because I’m bothered by the mess around me. I’m either going to write, or I’m not. (And, even as I write this, the devil on my shoulder whispers that cleaning up just the area in front of my would open the floodgates of creativity.)

Where I write, before stuff crawled began to surround me... !

Where I write, before stuff crawled began to surround me… !

 What do you think? Have you ever been stopped dead by clutter? Or do you thrive in it? Do you enjoy settling down to a pristine, tastefully decorated desk? Do you color code your file folders? Or are you a whirlwind of disorder, obsessed with spinning  your tales and too darned bad if the junk doesn’t get picked up – you have stories to write!

Maybe it’s a fantasy I have, that my house will be perfect one day. Maybe I need to write a story about the house that could be perfect. Wait – I already have that story in progress!

Where do *you* like to write the most, and what atmosphere makes you the most productive?