Do you write in a clutter-free space? Does your office area look like a tornado blew threw there? Whatever your style, it is important to keep the goal of a finished project in mind.
My office is in chaos – again. After finishing my course thesis on the parallels between Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man and Dostoevsky’s Notes from Underground last spring, I spent a Saturday clearing the disarray of books, critical essays, notepads and Post-its with my jotted thoughts and references, my highlighted and dog-eared MLA Handbook and dictionary, half-empty water bottles, bags of kale chips and chocolate covered almonds, and uncapped pens and highlighters scattered on the desk and floor of my den. For weeks this project had consumed me as I worked to create an organized essay from a jumble of notes and fragmented ideas by the midnight deadline.
Within a month the clutter was back and has remained to this day, a manifestation of my perpetual scrambling to meet the ongoing deadlines for several guest blog spots, a newspaper column, my MFA thesis, PhD applications, and the Graduate Record Examination schedule. I’m familiar with the muddle of my surroundings and in my mind and am oddly calmed by it. Scribbles on scraps of paper, napkins, envelopes, receipts, sticky notes, and index cards are once again ubiquitous, tacked to my bulletin board and adhered to my computer monitors, reminding me to add a transition, description, or a bit of dialogue to some work-in-progress. Books, writing magazines, and drafts of my columns, stories, essays, and novel chapters, defaced with nearly illegible edits and suggestions (mine and others’), litter the floor in shambolic piles that seem incongruous with my reputed compulsion toward extreme tidiness. It appears this is how I create. Even without the looming deadlines, disorder is part of my process. Click here to read more.
Kelly and Nancy