I’ve taken two weeks off of working on the current WIP in Revision. It has been lovely to read great books, relax with my family, and romp with my friends. But today I faced the first part of my next pass through the WIP. How? How did I face this enormous, gigantic, overwhelming muddle of a mess?
I avoided the task.
I cannot start a new project, or new anything, till I swab my mental decks. And man, my mental decks were super cluttered. I had the following on-going stuff to deal with:
*organize the online coordinator files on the computer and via hard copy
*print out all my online class files for a plotting class I couldn’t participate in this past month with the serious hope they will help me revise this mess
*email thank you notes to my critiquing author and the coordinator of the event
*clear out and file papers
And those were the easy things to do today. I tend to go crazy whenever I gear up for a new challenge. Once I started digging through old papers, I decided to truly haze the closet. My poor writing closet was in very sorry shape. My DH keeps promising to put in shelves for me, but now that he’s in recovery from his hip replacement, I can’t ask him to drill holes. Yet. Meanwhile, I have empty printer paper boxes filled with the contents of three manuscripts, a portable file cabinet with folders older than my fifteen year old daughter, a box of GH entries I judged and must keep till after the GH Ceremony, a wire shelf brimming with envelopes and more, and finally old bags from other conferences I haven’t tossed or repurposed.
With shovel in hand, I hunkered down next to the closet and brutally, cruelly dug all the papers out of the hole. Once the dirty pages piled up to the size of a small hill, I hauled them out to the dumpster. Gone are the old story ideas from 1990. Gone are the toxic email exchanges between me and my mother (negative energy can hide in dark corners–I want LIGHT). Gone are the ancient files with titles like “child’s orthodontist info.” Gone are the multiple drafts of all three MSS I have slaved over. Now there is one MS per sweat and blood and tears of effort.
I also hit the “rejection letters.” I used to tuck them into the boxes with the manuscripts that matched the rejection. Now I have a “TRYING TO BE PUBLISHED” file filled with all the rotten (sorry–I meant to say encouraging words to keep on slogging away at this crazy dream of mine) letters and postcards. I don’t have a suitcase of them, but gosh, I wish I had started paying myself for rejections a long time ago. I’d be able to afford that gorgeous Golden Heart ceremony gown I’ve been eyeing for the National Conference.
Ah, bliss. I have a sense of peace in my heart. I feel like the room is airy and light and happy again. I feel like I am in control (an illusion, but I prefer to believe it will be permanent).
But clearing out the room wasn’t enough. No, now I had to tackle the email INBOX. It’s not quite done yet. It fills up rather quickly and I can’t keep up with all the info. But that’s an ongoing battle and one I tackle on a regular basis. Red Flags help.
Still to do? Oh, the usual myriad of “put off until I can see more than one domino at a time” stuff is waiting for me to address their summons for replies, reading, critiquing, judging, etc. But I have a plan now. I also spent an inordinate amount of time organizing my calendars: computer and wall. Now I have a clear vision of when I can and when I cannot write. This is a good thing.
My calendar is my road map. I do a massive update every quarter. And lo and behold, right before I rip out the guts of my current WIP, I realized I have to update again because it’s almost April. Woohoo!! Now my personal and my professional worlds and all the demands I’ll be meeting are clearly set down. Yay!
(hey, this creative avoidance thing is great for de-cluttering the mind and the house)
A few more mental clutterbugs to sweep off my to-do list exist. I must read my writing friend’s world building history because I am so very curious about it. I must catch up on all my newsletters that the chapter newsletter editors sent this week because I know they have a lot of great information in them. And I must begin judging the contest entries I received over spring break. I can’t wait! Good karma out equals great karma back at me.
And best of all, as I look toward tomorrow I see a sparkling ship. The outer decks are clear and bright. The sun is reflecting off of the bow. I can see the blue waters of creativity swelling in the distance. And I feel a bit of wind billowing my writing sails.
It’s time to set my course and go back out into the ocean of possibilities!