Getting Your House in Order

Whistle While You Mop by CarbonNYC, Flickr

It’s a dirty job, but somebody’s got to do it.

Tuesday Tips & How-to’s begins today, but before diving into the Write Great Fiction Series as planned, I want to bring up the all-important task of preparing your work space, mainly because that’s what I’ve been doing this past month. It’s an integral part of the writing process for me.
My house had always suffered from the usual writer’s disarray — the messiness of post-it notes littering the monitor, piles of files and books on the floor, a forgotten half-hamburger under a napkin — but it was an orderly mess and somehow, I always knew where everything was. It didn’t inhibit my creativity, and I was comfortable with it. The study quickly became my sanctuary, partly because of the solitude, but mostly because facing a blank screen several hours a day finally brought me to my knees.
When Mom first arrived, it wasn’t too difficult to find a balance between my writing and her welfare. Sitting in the study with the door open, I would stop my work to answer the occasional question, at the time not as frequent as they soon became. 
 But the wall between us proved to be more than she could handle. After awhile, she would ask questions or need assistance every five minutes, and even with the others sitting in the same room, she wanted me to provide the answers. Naturally, it was fine with me — I learned that she felt alone without me beside her — so I’d come out to the living room to sit. Although I was only ten steps away in the other room, out of sight, out of mind; she needed to reassure herself that I hadn’t left.
Guess what? Constant interruption is not the way to get a manuscript written…my Epic Scrit was not coming to fruition. I knew the situation with Mom would only worsen, so I had to adapt. And adapt I did.
On September 26, I ordered a Lenovo E530 Thinkpad, which arrived on October 15. Yesss! This was a major part in getting my house in order, for it allowed me to sit in the living room with Mom and work.  Perhaps it’s not perfectly conducive to writing, but it’s a solution optimum for our situation. You see, I’ve learned that if I’m where she can see me, everything is right with the world. The questions dwindle, her needs lessen. I love gazing up from the screen to catch her…simply watching me. There is so much love on her face and ease and contentment in her heart. Just what the doctor ordered for both of us.
Next, I installed Scrivener on my computer. Although I’ve barely scratched the surface of this program, I can’t recommend it enough. A shout out to Roxanne at Mindful Banter for turning me on to it! In my opinion, it’s much better than Word, as it is specifically designed for a writer’s needs and with it, my office travels wherever I go. The virtual corkboard keeps me organized, and post-it notes are a thing of the past. Well, almost. I don’t know if I’ll ever be post-it free. But it includes so much good stuff, I had to watch the introductory tutorial twice…just to understand the basics. More advanced tutorials are on the website, and there’s a 30-day trial period — just in time for the NaNoWriMo, in case you’re interested. If you wish to purchase it after the trial, the $40.00 price tag is more than affordable, and it also imports Word documents, for those who are curious about current WIP’s.
Getting my house in order by implementing elements that make writing easier is only one hurdle to jump…there are thousands more ahead. But oh, what a relief to get that one behind me. It has allowed me to write this article while sitting in the showroom of the Chevrolet Dealership — something I’ve been unable to do before. I’m finally starting to feel like a real writer! Two simple acts of preparation and voila! This house is cleeeeaaaannnn.
Now…where’s the nearest coffee shop?
Peace,
ML

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6 thoughts on “Getting Your House in Order

  1. I haven't checked the software out yet, but it's on my to-do list. Thanks for the review and recommendation of it. I'm so glad you can go portable now. I know your situation is unique and being able to spend time with your mom is the priority. You are so tender with her! Happy NaNo-ing (look what we writers can do to words, or acronyms for that matter!).

  2. LOL! Every time I hear NaNo, I think of Mork and Mindy. I'm thrilled with my new portability, and this afternoon I've sat here in the living room, uninterrupted, with Mom by my side. Had I been in the study, there would have been something every minute.She's napping now…my presence keeps her calm…and I stay calmer that way, too.

  3. I'm not officially Nano-ing, but I will writing. I've used a free trial of Scriviner and never did really take the time to learn the program. I hope you like it, though. Be sure and keep us posted about our progress!

  4. Hey Ink! Yes, I swear by Scrivener now. I've learned how to do all the stuff I could do on Word, and there's still much more that Word can't do. Now that I have it, I keep seeing it touted on so many other writer's blogs, too. I'm definitely buying it after the trial is over.

  5. Great post on getting your workspace in order. This has been on my to-do list for… okay, I won't say how long. But at the moment it is totally out of hand. I'm moving getting my space in order to the top of the list. Truth is, I work better in a well-ordered space and it only takes a few minutes to make that happen. Thanks for the reminder!

  6. I have to have a clean area, otherwise I just can't get my thoughts together. Clean space, clean mind. From the large amount of writing you do, your place must really be spic and span. Who are you kidding? :o)

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