07-21-18 Patricia Sargeant

Friday, April 20, 2012

Laissez-Faire Cleaner Right Here

I used to be a clothes-piling, trash-tossing, Laissez-Faire Cleaner who subconsciously preferred having clutter around...to the extent all I cared about was clearing a pathway from the door to my bed, in my bedroom. That was when I was a kid, of course. Not now...

Okay, so there's always going to be a little kid in me somewhere, but it just happens that I've matured. Through years of messiness and unorganized havoc that I thought was organized, writing has gotten me into the habit of paying attention to my surrounding environments--whether they be my room, my home or my car.

A cleaner version of any and all those things do, indeed, make a difference in other aspects of our lives. I know that from experience, since I now consider myself a *Reformed* Laissez-Faire Cleaner;)

The more clutter you have around you, the more your eyes have to work at taking in the sight. The more you have to move your body or arm or leg (or whatever else) around it. The more your overall energy-level is affected (which can be related to our creative flows and the inability to express them, sometimes).

By avoiding tidiness all we do is transfer work to ourselves internally--whether it be in the form of ailments like eye-sores, headaches, or feeling like your brain is the egg in that anti-drug add from the eighties, or less obvious things, like loss of focus, or distracting thoughts such as, "Oh, so that's where that is. I better put it back."

With the development of my unquenchable desire to work at my best (cuz that's what happens when you become an adult, right?), and by becoming friends with neat-freaks, I've learned the value of keeping my "stuff" at bay.

When I find my writing has become stagnant or repetitive, when I find my mind scrambles a little more than normal, when I start using the mess as an excuse to get up from the computer... That's when I realize my surroundings are affecting my work.

Our profession is 97% mental (don't ask me where that number came from, just know I had the adage about pro athletes in mind!). Tidiness prevents us mental-creators from being distracted by things we've placed in our own paths. Sometimes the easiest solution is clearing the way for ourselves.

What about you? Do you notice a difference in your writing when you have, let's say, a tidy desk rather than one filled with clutter...or draped with clothes...or has accumulated waaayyy too many cups of coffee/water/soda/leftover Pina Coladas/Kool-Aid? Were you ever a Laissez-Faire Cleaner like me? Let me know!


Margaret Tanner said...

Hi Courtney,

I do find I work better in a clean and tidy room. Not an easy thing to achieve for some-one who doesn't like housework, though.



Paty Jager said...

Courtney, I agree. A tidy space helps me work better. I think all the books stacked on my desk right now is why I'm having problems writing blogs. Thanks for the nudge, I'm going to clean my desk!

Judith Ashley said...

Even as a teenager, I've needed a modicum of order to function so I've never been a Laissez-Faire Cleaner in the public areas of the house. At one point the basement was a pit but then The Universe, in its wisdom, infiltrated my basement with a major mold invasion. EVERYTHING came out - high school newspapers (I was the editor), college term papers, letters, cards, clothes I'd never wear again but loved. You get the picture.

Now even the basement is in order.In order does not mean neat and tidy but less spotlessly clean. With a teenager in the house there are days I put on my blinders because our relationship is more important than the clothes on the bathroom floor being picked up.

My office isn't that big and with other projects than writing taking up space, I've created a system that works for me most of the time. When I feel overwhelmed with stacks and paper, I know it's time to get in and organize, reorganize, purge, whatever it takes to restore order.

Big thing yesterday was making sure all my files were purged of any 2011 tax paperwork and that all of it was taken the area in the basement where I store my files.

More space today is a good thing.

Sarah Raplee said...

I'm lucky in that clutter doesn't bother me. As long as it's relatively clean, none-germy clutter, it doesn't keep me from being productive.

This is another of those 'process'-related characteristics that varies widely; there's no one-size-fits-all solution. The trick is to figure out what works best for you. Sounds like you've done that, Courtney!