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Organized Chaos?

“We stayed at home to write, to consolidate out outstretched selves.” Sylvia Plath

This quote which I read in this book, Dancing on the head of a Pen by Robert Benson,[amazon text=Amazon&asin=1400074355] spread through me like wildfire. I work full-time so I don’t have a lot of time during the week. I do write but I save a lot of my planning and heavy stuff for the weekend. Its been a couple of weeks since I’ve had a Saturday to myself.

My plan was to stay at home for the weekend and work on my blog and other writings. I am reading this week at writers group and need to edit. However, this is my office space currently:

2015-03-07 10.07.10

And this:

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Here is another angle:

2015-03-07 10.07.18

I find this an unacceptable place to write. There is no flow, no creativity. I’m not sure how many people need space, not just in time but square footage. I have a decent sized office with lots of shelving but no real horizontal space.

This has become my new goal for this weekend. To create more desk area though I love my antique secretary, I just need more. And less clutter. No one can write with this much clutter.

I’ve done a bit of searching and have found that for the most part, a writer’s desk is sacred space and therefore useless clutter isn’t allowed. Books, works in progress, pens and other paraphernalia but relatively clean spaces. Which means the clutter I am working in currently must go.

I am finding that this process of reducing clutter and planning for better workspace is sparking my creativity. As a matter of fact, this blog post is being written as I sit with my space in process.

My plan for the weekend is to continue on the office and work on edits along with some serious blog planning. If some creative words appear, I will still be here, amid the clutter and mess.

Confession of a Book Hoarder

I have a confession.

I am a book hoarder. No apologies, no excuses. I love books and bookstores. My home library shows just how much.

DSC_0275Recently I’ve reorganized my office space, which includes my library. DSC_0282During that process I discovered a few things about myself. Some I’ve known and some, not so much.

One of the most amazing things I learned was that I had three thesaurus’ and no dictionary on my shelves. I know I can simply use the built-in software in my writing program or I can Google it. Sometimes it is easier and faster to pick up a book and find the word myself. There are both limitations and advantages in both procedures.

Knowing I couldn’t find a dictionary on my shelf, I went to the local bookstore and found one. This is the one I purchased: [amazon text=Amazon&asin=0425228622] The Oxford New Desk Dictionary and Thesaurus. This is a small combined dictionary and thesaurus. More space for other books you know.

Once the reorganization occurred I actually found a small dictionary – it was just on the wrong shelf. The dictionary and thesaurus’ have now made it to the donate pile. It’s not very big.  I seem to have a difficult time letting go of books.

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Another thing I discovered as we have already seen, I have a bad habit of purchasing books more than one. I have found a few duplicates among my collection. The duplicates have also made it to the donate pile.

I have a lot of books and I am okay with that. I don’t intend to change my behavior any time soon. The seduction and promise of bookstores is too much for me to say no to. I will continue to go into bookstores and come out with treasures. Hopefully I will even read some of them.

Writing in Community

typewriter-472849_1280Writing is a solitary pursuit. At least that’s what I’ve always believed. I never realized just how important community could be to the pursuit of a writing life. Not until recently that is.

Over the weekend while attending a writing class at a local arts school and met a fellow writer. We connected through our mutual love of writing and made plans to attend a writing group.

The experience made me realize just how important community is for writers. So much of the word we do is done alone yet there is much growth in meeting and joining in community with other writers. There are lots of ways to do this:

  • Join an online community. Here are a few that I’ve checked out:
  • Find a writing group in your community even if there isn’t one nearby. I drive about an hour each way 2x per month for a group that meets my need for support and feedback. It also gives me a chance to connect to other writers.
    • The Writer magazine has a list of writing groups broken down by genre – http://www.writermag.com/
    • Local Libraries or bookstores often know about writers groups in the area
    • The local college may have their own groups
  • Take a class
    • Local college
    • Arts councils
    • Libraries
    • Local magazines often have advertisements.
  •  Conferences
    • Arts councils
    • Search engines
    • Libraries often have flyers posted for these

Find a friend and meet up once or twice per month – just to talk about writing and maybe even show some work

There are many ways to connect with other writers. If one doesn’t work, try another one. You may find your writing enriched by these connections. The challenge is to be brave and step out of your comfort zone. You will be glad you did.