Am I the only writer who's turned her home office into an emergency-cleaning storage closet?
I have this nice little room in our five-bedroom house, set aside for my writing and scrapbooking. How often do I go into it? A couple times a day ... but it's either to huck something in if it's in the way somewhere else, or to wade in, tightrope-walker-style, to get something out.
This is not easy to do. In my hasty visits, I've managed to stack the floor with papers I keep meaning to go through, stacks of books I keep meaning to read (or at least shelve), stacks of magazines and sacks of outgrown clothes waiting to go to the thrift store. Stray Christmas decorations I haven't been able to fit into the closet. A whole box of rough drafts of chapters from my first, unfinished book (which should never see the light of day anyway!).
Whose fault is this? Mine. Shame, shame, shame.
A few years ago my husband and I spent a whole week cleaning out the room together, putting up shelves to support my burgeoning supply of books. Then came, and I started stashing things in there "temporarily" for those quick company clean-ups. Later, my husband's aunt passed away, leaving behind some family keepsakes that we don't quite know what to do with, but don't quite have the heart to throw away. Soon those boxes were joined by those other boxes and stacks mentioned above. If I didn't know better, I'd suspect the stuff was breeding when I wasn't looking.
I'm not sure if this says more about the priority I've given to my writing, or my borderline(?!) obsessive-compulsive packrat tendencies. But I do know that tons of women would give anything for a home large enough, and a husband accommodating enough, to provide her with a space of her own.
If there's a moral to this -- and I'd better have one -- it's that we need to take our work seriously if we expect anyone else to. This includes clearing out the necessary time to accomplish our writing goals, as Fran McNabb discussed on this blog Tuesday. It also means finding the necessary space to work in. For some of us, that might be a table at Starbucks ... a nice bench outside in good weather ... even a comfy chair or table in the heart of the house, if that works out with the Muse. And if we have a coveted office, we'd better maintain it, by golly, or clear the space for someone else who needs it!
Sierra Donovan is the author of LOVE ON THE AIR and MEG'S CONFESSION, both available from Avalon books. Her website is sierradonovan.com.