Friday, October 14, 2011

Clearing the Clutter

My Books

One of the TV shows I watch with both horror and fascination is Hoarders. The horror is that I could, some day, find myself buried beneath ‘stuff’, lost like that family in the corn maze. The fascination comes from my train-wreck mentality. I simply cannot not watch. I don’t really fear becoming a hoarder, but I do get overwhelmed by clutter. You know, the stuff that gets moved from its shelf to the dining table, from the closet to end up draped over a chair.

What does this have to do with writing? I love to use metaphor in my writing. And as I look around my apartment and am overwhelmed by the growing clutter, the feeling resonates with where I am in my writing just now. I have four manuscripts racing toward some invisible finish line. At any given time, there are at least seven characters hanging out in my living room, telling their stories to one another and to me. It’s like one of those parties you go to where you can find a new conversation just by moving over a few feet. A cacophony of voices clamoring to be heard.

Still, I manage to write, but I find I have to keep clearing away the clutter. I’ve always enjoyed the fact that I never have writer’s block. I can always write something, and I’m usually writing a couple of books at the same time. I will admit, however, that tackling four projects at once may be a bit ambitious. Okay, okay. It’s insane. My works-in-progress file is becoming an over-crowded closet in which I can never find the one thing for which I am searching.

So, what am I going to do about this dilemma? First thing in the morning, I’m tidying up the apartment. With the physical distraction of all that out-of-place stuff gone, I’m going to focus on driving one manuscript toward the finish line.

Linda Rettstatt
2010 Author of the Year – Champagne Books
2012 EPIC eBook Award Finalist – Love, Sam

Coming in December, 2011 – Reinventing Christmas – a sweet contemporary romance


Anonymous said...

I use to work on about four, max was post cancer treatment where I had all those ideas floating and started working/finishing six. Culled back to 3 now. More than that becomes counter production, IMO. A joint friend, who's name I won't mention, has us both beat currently working eight.

Michael Davis (
Author of the Year, (2008 and 2009)

Linda Kage said...

Thank goodness I'm not the only one that works on multiple WIPs at once. I can't even count the number of characters clamoring around in my head. It's probably why I'm so diestracted all the time in real life.

I'm lucky in real life; I have one of those super anal Mr. Clean husbands who doesn't let me hoard much of anything. If things start to get to messy around my place, he goes into Nazi Clean mode and makes everyone put in their fair share. He turns into quite the irritating butthead, but I'm grateful for it once the house is cleaner again.

Rhobin said...

I watch Hoarders, occasionally only, with abject fascination bordering on horror. What dismal situation humans can place themselves. I expect everyone who reads you post will have a character visiting some hoarder's nest.
I had an art instructor once say that whenever ideas were not formulating he procrastinated and rejuvenated by putting his studio in order. I think writers often work that way, too, but I think a minimum of basic order helps the mind function.

Linda Rettstatt said...

I've had this insane idea that I need to take a day and 'clean out' my laptop--everything short of reformatting the hard drive. And maybe that's not such a bad idea. I started using flash drives and now have about six of them with much of the same files stored on each. OMG! I'm a flash drive hoarder!

Julie Eberhart Painter said...

I give myself that I'm a flash drive hoarder. One never knows when a story will become timely. I recently sold one to a new magazine, Coctails, out in Jan. The story was written in an hour and a half in 1998. It won an award, then died on the vine. It's undergone many minor morphs, but now it will be written in stone.

Not liking clutter, I must keep my work space neat, organized and updated. My mind is cluttered enough.

January Bain said...

I love the sense of tranquity that comes from being organized. That sense that all is right with my world feeds my muse.