Arthur Slade (author of Island Doom) inspired me. Okay maybe he shamed me. He posted photos of his treadmill desk and his lonely regular desk in a blog about the benefits of tread writing. They both looked…tidy. I’ve been avoiding my treadmill and my office in general because the clutter in it has multiplied like tribbles. Only not as cute.
I know I should probably appear on a reality tv show where they do an intervention. And I’ve edited enough articles on organizing your home or hiring an organizer that I feel I should be an expert on this topic.
So I thought I’d break it down in manageable steps and I’ll lay them out for you all in case you suffer from overwhelming mess too. (I always thought every writer suffered from this disability till I saw Arthur’s desk. ) Remembering that an organizer charges about $250 an hour and only stays for an hour at a time because most people can’t endure more. Here goes:
Cleaning the office.
Step 1 Take “before” photo. Post it on Facebook, you know you can’t back away from cleaning up then.
Step 2 Pick up all paper and take it to recycling before the truck shows. Even the huge card that says you are the best author in the world. Even the newspaper that has that nice photo of you. Really do you need three copies. And the origami crane, castle, octagon your biggest fan folded for you.
Distraction #1 Jackappoo Mortie decides I must be taking him for a walk since I’m heading outside to the blue box. What can I do? Half an hour later I’m back.
Distraction # 2 Oh, thats where that PLR form is. I really have to update it with my latest novel crush.candy.corpse. Public Lending Rights requires my ISN number. But I have a hard cover and paper edition. I must go on to the website to find out if I need to register both…oh, I missed the May deadline. I make myself a note on my Icalandar to register next February.
Distraction #3 While I’m on the computer I check email, Facebook and Twitter. For good measure I do a google search on crush. candy.corpse in case someone’s said anything nice lately. Someone did, I retweet.
Step 3 Take box of books to the cellar. First I label the box, crush. Will I forget that they’re my books and look in some day for orange pop?
Step 4 Collect all the Lego and put it in a box on another floor of the house.
Distraction # 4 Answer the phone and chat with author friend Estelle Salata (The Happy Journal of Tori Edwards) Make big plans for a writer lunch tomorrow. I deserve it, I’m working very hard today. An hour later I’m back.
Step 5 Sweep desk and floor. Bonus! I find pens and a pencil sharpener.
Distraction #5 I sharpen every pencil I can find and place it in my green jar against the eventuality of never finding that sharpener again.
Distraction #6 Sharpening pencils makes a person hungry! I make a snack. Oh heck it’s close enough to lunch. I enjoy a turkey sandwich. “What?” Mortie barks. “I want turkey too.” I feed the dog.
Step 6 An hour later: Wash desk and floor with vinegar and water. Dry desk. It’s starting to almost look good!
Step 7 Take “after” photo of desk. True the whole office is not perfect yet. You can’t see all the author props piled up on top of the cupboard in this photo. My spare brain, my rubber chicken, three dog stuffies, a snare pole, a tiger and an identicane. Still it may never be this clean again and we must celebrate the steps along the way! The floor looks like floor now too but it’s not what we in the business call a real photo op. Just imagine dark brown parket with a tile missing.
Now the goal of this was to get up on the treadmill and write! Instead (woof, woof) the mail carrier came and I filled out some addendum contracts on my luxuriously clean and spacey desk. It was very nice. Then I walked to the postoffice to mail the contracts and by then I was so exhausted I sat at the dining room table where I almost always write and banged out 1,200 words. Twelve hundred not some paltry one thousand words!