The Stories I Tell ~ from The Word Cellar

Stories. Anecdotes. A free round of words for everyone!

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Location: Pennsylvania, United States

I love stories. I'm the one at social functions with a dozen new anecdotes. But I worry about hogging the conversation. Sometimes I tell myself that I'll be quiet and let others do the talking. But no matter how hard I try, my stories insist on bursting out! Here I can let my stories (the classics that I tell again and again, as well as new ones that unfold along the way) run free. I'm a professional writer and editor, and sole proprietor of The Word Cellar. I write for a variety of publications and clients on everything from green buildings and nuclear reactors to entrepreneurship and the arts. If you need words written, edited, or enlivened, I can help. Contact me.


Clearing the Mental Clutter

View of Lake Michigan from Navy Pier, Chicago

I tend toward chaos. Without constant attention and diligence, I'm just a messy person. I enjoy well-organized spaces, as long as they feel lived-in. But left unchecked, I create clutter: magazines, newspapers, mail, print-outs, dirty dishes, laundry -- they all pile up so easily.

And that's just the external mess. The internal disorder is so much worse. My mind backlogs with half-formed ideas, I start to forget things, and frustration sets in. As an editor for my clients, I'm extremely detail-oriented, even nitpicky. I can take a muddled manuscript and infuse it with the rosy glow of clarity. But when my mental clutter overflows, it's my own writing that suffers. I may have loads to say, but I struggle to get it out in an orderly -- and interesting -- manner.

One of the ways I combat the messy mind syndrome is by cleaning. My physical environment deeply affects my mood and mindset. So I try to clear my head by clearing a room. Today I spent hours digging out from the embarrassing mess that filled my office. I feel a bit more focused, but I'm still all over the map.

Part of the problem is that I haven't written my morning pages for about a week. Every day when I get up, I try to write three pages in a journal. The writing doesn't have to be good or coherent or interesting. It's a place to let out the chatter. Sometimes I write three pages of boring stream-of-consciousness chatter. And sometimes I hit upon something significant, or even have a small epiphany. The practice of the morning pages is part of The Artist's Way: A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity. And the more I write them, the more clearheaded I am.

Right now, I have so much I want to share with you. Thoughts on community (online and off), my time in Chicago, and what exactly the "real world" is. Please bear with me as I sort through the chaff.

And tell me, what do you do to clear out your mental clutter?

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add to kirtsy | 12:52 AM


Blogger Katherine Gray said...

I absolutely could have written this post! I got my BlogHer post up but it feels...incomplete and unfinished. And a bit...*expected.*

Yet, I have to move on to other things. And get back to writing.

8/03/2007 4:24 AM  
Anonymous Allyson said...

I can't be creative if my external environment is cluttered. I have to clean up between projects if I'm playing with my art stuff; my desk top has to be clear before I can edit photos. I can't start cooking or baking something if the kitchen has a mess from an earlier concoction. And I feel anxious and unproductive if the house is generally messy and untidy. Mentally, I've always had this view of my mind having an "input-output" valve. I have to maintain a balance between the two in order to create or even feel right. If I've been reading a lot, I usually need to take a break for a while and make things. If I've been too artsy/craftsy for days on end, I burn out and want to just read for a while. It's funny, but all that cycling training I was doing counted as output--it really burned through a lot of creative energy! Now that I'm done, I feel like I have these vast reserves again. I don't know if any of this makes sense, it's just a personal mental construct, but seeing it this way helps me stay focused.

8/03/2007 8:11 AM  
Anonymous Lisa said...

You are soooo describing me in this post! It's amazing :-0 I'm very much a "stuff" person and the piles are high and scattered right now. Believe it or not, one of the reasons I'm quitting my full-time job is so I can clean and organize my surroundings....and, thus, hopefully my life.


8/05/2007 8:58 AM  

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