What If I Know My Apartment Is Not Up To.Code How To Unclutter Your Mess: Getting Organized Will Help Your Writing

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How To Unclutter Your Mess: Getting Organized Will Help Your Writing

I love books, but I hate clutter. Book and paper clutter is the bane of my existence, my pride and joy. Since my living room is big, I have six tall bookshelves where the books are neatly stacked and alphabetical (NOT!), plus I have boxes full of more books. The problem is that I have absolutely nowhere to put them. I already have two tall bookshelves full of books in my bedroom. I love to read, especially about the Victorian era. I am a historian after all. Not everyone likes to read, but most writers do. In talking with other writers, I’ve found that the clutter of books and papers, and disorganization in general, often cause serious problems in the writing process. This article will look at some common problems and ways to make the writing process easier for you and hopefully me!

As for me, I am surrounded by a literary blanket of books, all within easy reach. It’s like a neurological disorder. If a book is too far away, my eyes start to twitch and become dazzled! There is never too much knowledge to consume. The problem is that this mess keeps eating up my workspace like a Pac-Man with a belly full of power pellets munching on blue ghosts. Unfortunately, my workplace is losing this game.

Jeez… my apartment is starting to look like a library with a heart attack, arteries clogged with papers, books and bookshelves. So how do I go on a book diet without sacrificing my literary inspiration? What kind of health care can I have my apartment undergo? This must affect my ability to write because every time I try to work I have to navigate the Cape of Hope in a mess of books!

Sometimes I wonder why I’m still saving boxes of books that were delivered to me months ago. Maybe I’m subconsciously planning to move when the books take over my apartment and finally consume all of my remaining living space. GAME OVER. Now I can see the conversation with my realtor:

Realtor (confused expression): But ma’am, you already have an apartment. Expensive in New York. Pray tell me, what need two?

Me: For my books.

Realtor (confused expression): Are you coming again?

Me: My books multiply like rabbits on Viagra. They spread like a virus. I think they plan to take over the world.

Realtor (with a confused look on his face as he slowly crawls back towards the door): Um…Kay? Just thought, I have another appointment to show a house in Jersey, better get going. I don’t think the other candidate has a growing army of books out to enslave the planet. I think it might be a code violation in New York or something.

Me: Hey, leave your card, I’m going to need more flats soon, these books are going fast. They are insatiable. This is incredible. I think they have their own account with Amazon so they can buy more of themselves or something. Maybe it’s better if I don’t give them my new address, eh?

Unless you want to endure a scene like this, or as in my case, many scenes like it, it’s best for you, your roommates, and perhaps the known Universe to simply keep the mess of books under control. Try to box and store books that you have read more than once. Thrift stores also buy old books, and you can always sell them on Ebay. You may be surprised to find that you can get a pretty penny for your old books, and it frees up work. Writing is cathartic, but it’s hard to do if you don’t have a good place to sit and work. It’s hard enough to write as it is, any additional distractions can kill your efforts, and the ever-increasing volume of books consuming your workspace is sure to distract you.

The biggest key to successful writing lies in organization, period. Having clear, concise notes, an outline, and good research that you can easily access and read is half the battle won. However, you need to find your research to use it.

As for me, I am very grateful for my post-it notes. They are also life-saving and space-saving. They are scattered across my desk and tray table, reminding me of what to do or where I left off. They help you concentrate. It helps with writing if you find a system, like my post-it notes, to help you focus on the task at hand.

Wait a minute, where was I??? Oh yeah, this post-it note says I talked about the importance of using notes to keep track of where you are in your writing. See. It works.

Sometimes my desk looks like a landing pad for post-it notes. I struggle daily with the burden of navigating through the mess of paperwork, as I am constantly writing. Sometimes my bills get stuck in the mess. Only under the threat of delayed prosecution do I dare try to find them. Bill collectors don’t like the “my paper clutter ate my bill” excuse. Not even a little bit.

So now my living room and dining room have become my office and my writing space, since no one visits them anymore. Maybe they do and they get lost in the shuffle, I’m not sure. Anyway, I’ll leave the mess where it is. Still, my son occasionally walks by and always adds his two cents: “Hey mom, when are you going to organize this mess?” I reply: “It’s tidy and don’t touch anything. I know exactly where everything is…” I promise myself that I will clean it once.

Does this have a familiar ring to it? It’s unbelievable how organized a person can be in the midst of so much chaos, right? I have the option of cleaning up the mess, or as a last resort I can always try this by building a new one above my living room. I keep adding floors as my clutter grows. Of course, that can be expensive, unless you’re related to William F. Lamb, who designed and built the Empire State Building. But that’s impractical, isn’t it, and doesn’t help my writing one bit. Instead, it’s best to incorporate cleaning as a precursor to writing. Every time I sit down to write, I first clean for 15 or 20 minutes. This not only gives me free space for my work, but also gets the blood and brain pumping. A clear mind and an alert body make for a great writing experience.

Well, well. The biggest thing is when it’s time to clear the space, organize your notes and get down to business. Sometimes the hardest part is getting started, writing the first words. It is best to write a few sentences about what you see in front of you or about anything that is on your mind. You can make a game from scratch, for example trying to describe an apple without descriptive words such as detailing its size, texture, or color. Something like “Eve’s delight and Adam’s tap are sitting comfortably in my fruit bowl, so delicious and so ripe that I eat them to the hilt.” You can try any exercise that works to get you started. Once you get going, ditch the openers and start the writing itself. When you write and when you finish writing, there is nothing more satisfying. I like to describe the dangerous wall of books and what they do as they creep closer and closer to me. Whatever works!

Speaking of which, the books finally completely surrounded me and my pets, ominously approaching. I think they are ready to attack. The phone is ringing (probably some bill collectors pissed off about a bill buried in the mail dump on my desk). Forget writing. Forget about work. Forget about organizing. I’m going back to bed.

Maybe I’m just reading a book. Now that you know how to organize yourself and are ready to write, maybe you’ll write a great book that I can read someday! Good luck and good writing.

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