Writing is easier for me than breathing, sometimes. Not just when dealing with stress, but in general, I can write for hours at a time without thinking, only stopping when I’m distracted by biological functions. Editing, however, is where the writing can really shine. Sometimes, it’s not needed, but most people enjoy “polished stone” writing. Collecting stuff is, similarly, as easy as writing, but organizing, decluttering, and curation? That’s the same as a well-polished essay.
Sentences endless flow through my mind.
Writing, for me, is like catching one of those sentence threads and just letting the rest type itself out. (Editing is similar, except it’s finding a stronger thread.) It’s almost always an automatic, stream-of-conscious process that’s more possession than premeditation, usually, sometimes leading to results that can surprise even me, just like going to a thrift store and finding something nifty. Until recently, my natural inclination was to thrift often, almost like I’ve gotten into the practice of writing daily.
Does that mean I should write less?
Well, let’s explore that analogy. I’ve been going to thrift stores significantly less often over the past few months. Unless you count the 6 or 8 loads I’ve dropped off over the past month. The only time I stopped in, after donating a trunkload of stuff, rather than buy an item that I kinda wanted, I just took a photo and moved on. If I would have bought it a year ago, it wouldn’t have gone into the same area as its collection buddies. It would have ended up somewhere until I got bored with it and put it away randomly.
I can’t live that way anymore.
Not just because of moving residence but because of an overall sense that I just need to be more organized. I spent 10 minutes looking for a hat earlier this week that I had placed on top of a random box of clutter. I’m still not even close to being organized, but I should know exactly where everything is. Maybe it’s being too organized? But what’s the alternative? This is the same for my writing, as well. I have so many drafts for things. Half-written, partially written, or just a sentence or two.
How do I intend to fix this?
Editing is a longer process than writing. With writing, you just dump everything down and get a good spread going. With editing, you have to clean up everything. I think what I’ll start to do, once I’m moved and have reclaimed some of my time, is I’ll just have a dump pile of drafts that don’t make the cut. Maybe they’ll even be text files? That way I can clear the plate and have less of those old drafts from 2016 and in text documents on my computer floating around in my mind.
Good. Now, how about physical clutter?
The table in the photo, theoretically, was my dining room table. It’s nice in that it has two sides that fold out, otherwise it compacts down. Its center area used to hold chairs, but those were flimsy, so my idea was to hold items that could entertain guests. The reality was the table became my junk pile for things I didn’t want to deal with, so when I used it as a dining room table, I had to clear junk off to one side. I’m purging these negative thoughts here so I can be done with it. It’s like catharsis. By bleeding out that dead blood, like those half-written drafts, I can focus on the future rather than linger on the past.
I can still use the table as a dining room table.
I’ll just fold it in and put it away when I’m not using it so the surface area doesn’t tempt me into returning to bad cluttering behavior. I’ll use it, going forward, for one of two purposes. The first will be as its original purpose: to have an eating area that’s clean and neat. The second will be what it has become, and perhaps its destiny: a sorting table. Until I’m fully moved, I’ll dump box after box after container onto the table and use the space to throw out the trash, lump together anything that might need to go somewhere else – office supplies, for example – otherwise everything else will go into these miscellaneous boxes to sort through in more detail later on.
This isn’t the ideal situation, but it’s a start.
By reducing the clutter to boxes, I can work more methodically going forward. I may start to dedicate one hour weekly to opening up a box, spreading things on this sorting table, picking through what I want to keep, sell, or could go into other collections, cataloging what’s in each box, then when that hour is up, put everything back in the box to return order to my living environment. That’s the plan I’ve imagined, anyways. Whether it will work or not has yet to be seen, but similarly to dumping all my drafts online, it’s a way to address the mess to focus on the future.
I’ll still write a minimum of 500 words daily.
I think the trick will be scheduling in more time to do other things as well. I’m over my time limit for writing and editing today, but I’m just about done with this essay, so I’ll quickly wrap it up by explaining what I’ll be doing for the rest of the day, and how in a way, it will help me manage my clutter:
First, scheduling this essay’s publication, I’ll read for 10 minutes. This is my new component to the writing daily thing I’m doing.
Then, I’ll spend maybe one hour sorting through this table of clutter.
Next, I’ll exercise and get ready to go for the day.
I’ve skipped meeting up with my friends, including on the Blah Blah team, for this move. It’s an important thing, but so is digesting the project process. Just like how editing and decluttering are important, so, too, is decompressing from life’s stressors.
|Sources: My personal experiences.|
|Inspirations: While editing yesterday’s essay, I was thinking about the editing bay and how when I send things along for critique, I have to get into that mindset of accepting criticism. Just like with decluttering, where you have to get into the mindset of cleaning up. The analogy came together.|
|Related: Other Moving Zeal essays.|
|Photo: My sorting table. I was thinking of having a second photo with the table cleared off, and it took the better part of a week to actually clear off completely, but I’m proud to say that I’ve actually been able to clear off the table a few times between December 22nd and January 6th when I’ve edited in the photo. As of right now, it’s full of stuff I’ll fill in another miscellaneous box, but that should just be about one or two hours of work before that chunk gets packed away, and each of these chunks involve learning the process to avoid leaving clutter on the sorting table longer than it needs to be. Ideally, I should clear it off nightly. There shouldn’t be excuses…|
|Written On: December 22nd [1 hour]|
|Last Edited: First draft; final draft|