Saturday, April 16, 2011

Creativity vs. Administration

Have you lost the writer's guidelines to the project you are working on? It happens to me all the time. I've printed the guidelines to one of the projects I'm working on three times. I'm sure all three copies are here under one stack or another of magazines or books on my desk or on the table behind me. Please tell me you have a similar problem so I won't feel weird.

Every day when I report to work in here, I say to myself, "First on my "to do" list today is clean up this place. But first I check my e-mail, then downsize it so I can see when the number of unchecked mail goes up. That's a mistake because the number is always going up so I'm always checking to see what the e-mail is. If the number doesn't go up for a while, then I start to sort through the stacks. That's when I see articles and stories I want to read. Reading is where I get creative ideas so that's an important task, right? Minutes turn into hours before I realize that little progress has been made to clean up the place. Please tell me you do this too so I won't feel desperately alone.

When a creative idea comes to mind, I have to write it down--maybe a few words, maybe an outline, maybe a first draft of a story. Then I check my blog traffic. An idea for a new post enters my mind so I feel like I have to go with it. It's easy to get lost in here and forget what's going on around me. The other day my puppy, Maggie, chewed up one of the books I was going to read. That's because there was no more room on my desk or table. The book lay on the floor and Maggie found it quite delicious. Please tell me you have days like this so I won't feel like I'm losing my mind. 

My thoughts always turn to a picture of weight scales, you know, the icon lawyers use. On one side is creativity--measuring the value of my projects, and the reading and research they require. On the other side is administration--measuring cleaning, filing, sorting. The admin side is usually the heaviest but I think to myself, I gotta go with the creativity while it's present and I promise myself after I get the first draft or the next draft done on my project, I'll clean up the place. Today I think I better clean up the place or I'll have to print the guidelines to my project again.

Lord Jesus, I know you never leave me or forsake me, but to tell the truth, I'm embarrassed that You see this place right now. Although I've dedicated this place to You for accomplishing all You have for me to do, I need Your help. Thank  You for not giving up on me and thank You in advance for helping me clean up this place. Amen.


  1. Have you been listening in on me talking to myself??
    Oh, my. You have got me pegged....

    Thanks for sharing and making me feel normal,


  2. Sue, if it makes you feel better, my little office space has waaaaaay more piles of stuff. You are sooooo not alone! ";o)

  3. Thank you Jeanne and Beth. You made my day!!

  4. Sue, thank you for sharing. I try to keep my office organized and clean. Some times this can be difficult. I make myself go into my office at least every other week to dust and vacumn. I keep a file folder with all my loose notes....

  5. Sue, reading your article brought on a sigh of relief. Maybe this hurdle won't keep me from becoming a true writer after all if other writers experience the same frustrations. Thanks for writing it. I can't help but wonder if you were peeking into my office when you wrote it.

  6. Thank you JP for the suggestion about every other week forcing yourself to take time to dust, vacuum and file. :) When I finally clean up the place, I promise myself I'll do what you do. It lasts for a long time, but few assignments and freelance projects come along, praise God! and get me off course.

    Thank you Queenbjan for your comments. I honestly couldn't see your office because of all my stacks. Blessings to both of you.

  7. You are not weird, Sue. I had to clean off my night stand, because books and magazines kept falling off. Spring is a great time to clean the clutter.

    Now if I can only get the clutter from my brain and work.