Will it work? Find out as I try!

Just when my friends and family thought I couldn’t get any crazier for signing on to write 7 picture books in 7 days for National Picture Book Writing Week, I have decided to embark on yet another crazy quest: to de-clutter my home in one week.

It all started when I was at the library last week and saw the book, Unclutter Your Life in One Week, on the “New and Exciting” shelf.  “Yeah, right,” I thought, and rolled my eyes.  Somehow though, the book snuck home with me and I starting turning the idea over in my head.

I have never been a neat-nick, nor do I really want to be.  I’ve always wanted to have the kind of home that was cozy and comfortable, where people can sink in and not feel afraid to set a glass down or track in a footprint.  Lately though, I’ve been thinking quite a bit about how our surroundings affect our psyches as well as our productivity.  It all started when I organized my writing space and was forced to admit that it made in difference both in output and in how I felt about my work.  I’ve also noticed that I do feel better when the house is neat(er).  When chores and clutter start to pile up, it distracts me not only from my writing but also from enjoying my family.  I’ve discovered it takes more energy than I want to expend being annoyed or overwhelmed by cluttered spaces everywhere.

The problem is finding the time to fix it.  It seems so insurmountable.  I think that is why the title of the book drew me in.  If I could really get a handle on the clutter just by dedicating one week of my life, wouldn’t it be worth it to try?  Also, what a better way to segue into NaPiBoWriWee than to remove as many of the physical distractions as possible?  So, I’ve decided to give it a whirl.  I’ll will blog about the experience, including before and after shots when it’s not too embarrassing.  We’ll see if this can really be done.

The real work starts on Monday, but the author, Erin Rooney Doland, goes right for the jugular by asking you to deal with sentimental clutter the weekend before.  That means old photos, letters, cards, bridesmaid dresses, and stuffed animals given to you by your high school boyfriend.  I guess if I can survive that, the rest of the week should be a breeze.  I am going to spend a lot of time this weekend organizing my pictures by time period.  There is a local company that will clean and scan photos and create nice DVDs that can be used both as a slide show and as a way to access and print photos later.  Can you imagine?  I might be able to part with boxes upon boxes of original photos that are collecting dust in the basement.

If you are interested in more information on this process, check out Erin’s website.  It’s a virtual gold mine (land mine?) of information.  For now, I’m focusing only on the process outlined in the book in a (probably feeble) attempt to maintain manageability.  I am both afraid and excited – an emotional cocktail that’s becoming more familiar these days…

Categories: Authors, Books, Unclutter your life in a week · Tags: , , ,

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A few days ago I read this post over at Writing Roads, which suggests that you should “dress” for work even if you work from home.  Just because you can be in your pajamas all day doesn’t mean you should.  Why?  Among other reasons, the article asserts that you can’t really take your work (including writing) seriously if you come to it looking, and probably smelling, like a homeless person.

I thought about that post for a long time because I am guilty as charged.  There are days when I find myself showering at 5:00 only to put on another pair of pajamas afterward.  Clean ones at least!  I realize this may not be sending the universe the correct message about how serious I am about this writing business.  But I must say I love being comfy.  What are the benefits of working from home if not to wear pants with an elastic waistband?  Likewise, I’m not entirely convinced that strapping ‘the girls’ into a push-up bra just to be home alone all day is going to dramatically increase my chances of success with my writing.  And yet…

I may not be ready to do away with the slouchy clothes, but I did tackle a similar problem – my workspace.  Or lack thereof.  I have a perfectly serviceable desk in the family room, but it was so cluttered, inside and out and even on the floor, that until recently I spent most of my writing time on the sofa in the living room with my feet propped up on an ottoman.  Probably more conducive to napping than writing.  So in the spirit of that article, I set about clearing the desk and creating a, dare I say, ‘sacred’ space for writing (pic below).  I must admit I feel way more official now.  I have a nice view out the window.  I have all of my favorite books on writing in front of me for inspiration.  I  have my tools of the trade – dictionary, thesaurus, style guides, etc. – at my fingertips at all times.  Most importantly, I have created a way to separate myself from ‘the house’ at large.  Having a dedicated (and pleasant) work space really does help with productivity.

In fact, I’m so impressed by how much of a difference my desk makes that I am contemplating a compromise on the wardrobe front.  I think leggings and shirts with built-in shelf bras might be a happy medium…

For my fellow work-at-homers, what’s your take on being ‘dressed’ and in a dedicated space for work?  For selfish reasons, I’d love to hear success stories from people who are religious about working in their pajamas! 🙂

Categories: Writing · Tags: ,

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