Clear the Clutter

Writers have quirks just like everyone else in this world.  We may think ours are a little more eccentric than others.  Some of us might even go so far as to say we are crazy.  Personally, I think everyone on this earth is a little touched in some way shape or form.  It is what makes us unique and normal.  Or at least that’s what I tell myself so I can avoid seeing a therapist.  LOL!

My craziness about clutter all started when I went to college.  I found it incredibly difficult to keep up with clearing out the clutter during those very busy and sleep deprived years.  It had gotten so bad at one point that I started using my word processor (YES I’M DATING MYSELF) as a paper weight.  Writing was the furthest thing from my mind and my desk clearly showed that.

I tried to make feeble attempts back then to clear the clutter but they were hack jobs at best.  The mail always seemed to creep back into a mounting heap, the old bill stubs seemed to leak from my word processor, and my books from my classes always seemed to occupy the bed more than myself.  It was an awful feeling to come home from work at 10 pm and realize that you had no place to crash because your bed was invaded by the book snatchers.  Not that I could sleep right when I got home, but it was still an exhausting feeling.

My mid to late twenties weren’t much better.  Those days and nights bled together as I tried to shed the credit card blood money I used during the college years.  I honestly don’t remember any specific days during that decade in my life.  No particular birthday celebration (except maybe two in my early twenties) comes to mind due to the sleep deprivation.  It was a very busy time in my life.  I worked through most of it.  I did have some fun times in my twenties– don’t get wrong.  I met my husband during blur.  It was later part of my twenties and it was at a bar we both worked at and frequented.  Yeah, again I’M DATING MYSELF, because who goes to a bar these days.  LOL!  The thing is, during that time I still couldn’t escape using my writing area as a storage space.

It wasn’t until I was in my thirties that things started to change.  I was feeling empty and alone, even with my loving family by my side.  I couldn’t at first quite grasp the hole. I knew I had writing in my heart because the feeling of emptiness was just all too overwhelming.  I knew I had missed my friend, my feeling of completeness, but I wasn’t sure how I could reconnect.  It had been so long and I figured I’d be at a loss for words– in the literal sense.

During the Christmas of my 32nd birthday, my inlaws had given us what I felt was a gold mine, a brand new computer tower.  At the time it was state of the art and equipped with Word.  I remember touching the keyboard in awe of its greatness and wondering if this not-so-tech savvy gal could handle the newness.  My husband was in his glory, of course.  It was a new toy for him to tinker with.  During that week we bought a cheap computer desk to house this all-too awesome tower.

At first I was afraid of the tower.  I dusted it quickly without really touching it.  I didn’t know what to think of it since it shininess gleamed too much in my presence.  I thought if I touched it I could break it and rob it of the greatness it had.  After all, my word processor met its demise.  It lost its fingers after a while due to abuse.  I wouldn’t be so cruel, the dismemberment happened on my husband’s watch, but it still met its demise.  He was sorry it did and he wasn’t at fault.  It was vulnerable.  I didn’t want the same fate for THE TOWER.

One night though, and it was an ordinary night, my husband coax me into using the computer.  He said that there was no way I could break it.  If I got to a point of no return he told me to leave it and he’d fix it in the morning.

That night was magical.  I started light and made an email address.  After that I became brave and opened Word.  I found myself pouring my heart out to an old friend.  I was quick with judgement on myself.  I didn’t open up fully.  I held back.  We all do.  But then I did something weird.  I saved the piece for a later time– something I hadn’t done in years.  And then, the next day, I actually opened the file and I wrote some more.

It was at that time that my writing evolved from something I did as a hobby to something that is me.  From that point on I’ve had my good days AND bad ones, but no matter what, I try to remember that my desk is a work space and I try to keep it clutter-free so I can think.  I’ve had TOO many days where my desk reflects my mind and I CAN’T have that because I’m afraid my friend will leave again.  And if she does, God help me, because I won’t be able to help myself.

If you want your writing friend to stay, I suggest to Clear the Clutter too.  Your space reflects how you feel.  If you feel icky– fine– that’s okay.  But don’t expect to be able to write until you clear it.  It’s taken me a long time to realize that.  I help EVERYONE but myself AND MY WRITING has suffered because of that.  Don’t let my mistakes be your own.


Amanda Kimberley


By kimberleylb

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