|Before: My desk “cleaned off” while writing my thesis
|After: My clean desk after thesis
Not gonna lie. I love the way my desk looks today.
There’s something cathartic about cleaning off your space after a project. This past weekend was the first free weekend after graduating from Goddard College.
Though the before picture above doesn’t reflect it, my desk was a jungle of paper,packet responses, and books. There was a space carved out for my computer but not much beyond that.
However, with the limited space, I didn’t feel claustrophobic. It was homey, and amid the chaos there was order, albeit my order but order nonetheless. I knew that behind my computer screen, if I closed the laptop, would be books I had read through the semester, my dictionaries (English and Spanish) thesauri (yes, more than one), and my grammar books. They were there when I needed them and for writing annotations and 20 page critical papers.
But those days are done, at least for now, so why was all that stuff still on my desk? The end of my semester was in December!
Maybe it was because it was comfortable. Writers are like that. We like comfort and routine and ritual, even when that ritual is no longer needed. We feel comfortable with what’s familiar. That twing of nostalgia, however, is an interrupter. Just looking at the books were enough to send me strolling down memory lane–the first book I read during my program, the one I was surprised by, the one that opened up plot possibilities. Then the HUGE pile of papers would be distracting–my last packet response, the first one, the one with the notes I wanted to keep forever. None of it was inspiring, which is what is needed on a desk. All of it were excuses not to write and yet feel like I’m writing.
So I cleaned off my desk and peeled of everything that would distract me. After all, I didn’t need that stuff anymore. I also shelved all my books. ALL OF THEM. Including the reference books. By doing that, I inadvertently followed Stephen King’s advice.
As I sit at my desk, I now feel like I’ve closed a chapter on one project and I’m ready to start another, a fresh start. Now, I get to work on filling my desk with more papers and books for the new works about to be created and that makes me feel great.
So today, on #MotivationMonday, I say to you look at your work area. Are you ready to start a new story or poem? Have you started a new project? Look around. Your surroundings can help you with getting off on the right foot.