Heads up: It's about to get really practical in here.
Why are we going to talk about actual cleaning on a writing blog?
Because, my lionhearted friend, a cluttered physical writing space takes up too much room in our minds.
If, in the midst of our writing, we're dealing with broken tools, pens that don't work, lost papers, and junk-filled drawers... it's going to be really hard to hear all the plot breakthroughs we're listening for.
Tough to be wildly creative if part of our brains are stuck fighting our environment, trying to find the plot bunnies amidst the dust bunnies.
It's so easy to neglect where we're working. After all, our main focus is on just getting our writing in, day after day.
It's totally understandable.
If you're like me, you generally know how to clean. It's just ... it doesn't happen.
Which is why today isn't so much of a "how to" guide. Just a bit of a nudge in a tidier direction.
So let's grab a little bit of time for this today, and dive in!
You can do this in one of three ways:
1) Go BIG.
Pull everything off your desk, out of drawers, off bookshelves. Empty file folders. Make a day of it!
Haul bags of recycled papers out of your office. Purge your shelves of books that you don't need, or don't absolutely love.
Deal with all the old drafts you've printed out and kept hanging around. (If you're feeling up to it, toss them all out. Dance in the space you've just cleared.)
Dust everything! Vacuum! Polish!
And then feel that wonderful sense of wellbeing that comes after a day of cleaning hard.
2) Or, go MEDIUM.
If life is crowded and spring cleaning—while a nice idea—just isn't going to work this week (or this month!) then try this option.
Focus on just one zone in your writing space. Try to pick the area that's been bugging you the most. (You know the one!)
Budget just an hour or two.
Whatever area you decide on, try to get it as decluttered and spruced up as possible.
A little can go a long way, you know? Even if you just have time for that, you'll feel such a huge relief and clarity afterward.
3) And we totally won't judge you if you decide to go MICRO.
I get it. Personally, I'm super low on stamina lately, so if this is the best option, then that's great. No worries at all.
Pick one small thing and clean it up. Tidy it. Declutter it. Or just get rid of it.
And whatever that looks like is fine.
Maybe you just empty out a pencil cup: make sure every pencil in it is sharpened, and every pen actually works. And that you even like all of them. And that you like the pencil cup, too.
And then—ahhhh. Feel that little rush of peace, every time you look at it, every time you reach for a pen.
See what I mean? Even dealing with just a small space can have a big reward.
But no matter what amount of cleaning and clearing you did, bring something lovely into your writing space.
Yes! You know I'm a sucker for this. But take some time and bring some beauty into your writing area.
Maybe it's a small vase of flowers. Or a candle that smells ah-mazing. Or even something that makes you laugh.
Heck, you can go crazy and just re-beautify everything in your writing life. Get allllll the lovely stuff.
On the other hand, it doesn't have to be major: I have an owl mug that holds my Sharpies. It's a sly reference to my work in progress, but it's also just dang cute.
I've also spent an afternoon stamping silly polka dots on all my file folders. (I just used a little paint and the eraser on the end of a regular pencil. Easiest. Craft. Ever.) They still make me smile!
So it can be small. But treat yourself to something lovely in your office.
... There. Isn't that better? Can you feel the extra space in your head? It's almost a physical sensation, isn't it? Crazy how that works.
So here's to a freshened writing zone, and a fresh writing week!
Random-ish side note: Yes. I DID just read Marie Kondo's The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, and yes, it is my new favorite thing, and yes, I now want to overhaul EVERYTHING. Trying to pace myself. We'll see how that goes...