I searched for a while, but didn’t find the camera he must have installed in my office.
I’m a visual person, with memory problems from a blow to the head. The clutter around me is often the only thing between me and never finishing anything I start. I begin work on one task, get distracted to a second, only to ditch that one and move back to the original. The process of decluttering becomes a huge distraction factor for me.
But I know Jeff’s right. So let me see what I can toss to alleviate some of the background noise in my writing process.
Declutter My Space
Not as hard to do this time around. I’m getting better at making my “memory” notes in a notebook, rather than on thousands of slips of paper, big and little, that end up lost at the moment I need the reference notes about rituals performed on the banks of the Ganges.
Tomorrow the local newspaper is coming to pick up just shy of 400 books I’m releasing back into the world. These boxes of paperbacks and hardbacks represent an average eleven months of my reading habit addiction. I’ll have room to breathe, won’t be tripping over piles of books in every corner. The newspaper holds a huge used book sale every year and uses the proceeds to deliver newspapers to every classroom in the area. We all win.
Declutter My Computer
Did I mention my memory problem?
Just because I can often remember that I read or heard something, somewhere, about a subject I’m interested in, doesn’t mean I can remember where or when in order to find it again. So I save everything. And I do mean anything and everything that I think I will ever want to refer to at some time in the far future. This makes my hard drive bulge at the seams and belch at the most inappropriate times.
I’ve been on a campaign to declutter my hard drive (it’s that or suffer a fatal crash one day). Moving PDFs, audio files, and associated communication for several online courses I’ve taken to an external drive has made a dent in the available space problem. But with me, it’s a matter of “not at my fingertips, not at the edge of my mind.” I hope I don’t forget where I put those files.
Declutter My Mind
You’d think with not being able to remember the important stuff of life, decluttering my mind would be the least of my worries.
Not so. The world is full of so much information, assaulting us every minute with the minutiae of useless nonsense, that there’s always something buzzing around in my mind. Frequently, I have to sit myself down for a stern talking to. “Get your mind back on your WIP. You don’t need to stop and read that article about Ten Ways to Know if You Are a Helicopter Parent. For Pete’s sake, Suzanne… you’re not even a parent. Garbage in, you know!” And that’s before I go to the refrigerator and start mentally composing a shopping list because nothing in there looks good to me right now.
Every day I need to spend time decluttering my mind and refocusing on where the next chapter of my novel will take the characters, or on the editing job waiting on my desk. I try to clear out, or at least compartmentalize, all the junk I don’t need to worry about until I’ve finished my writing for the day. It’s a work in progress. My mind, I mean.
Declutter My Writing
Here’s the big one. Write just enough to tell the story clearly and concisely. Then quit.
Does your declutter list look anything like mine? Leave a comment and we’ll compare lists and techniques.