Revamping the Organized Clutter

I really need a day to turn off everything and just get organized again. Revamp my organized clutter. The clutter is taking over. I can see the dust bunnies peeking out from under my desk, waiting to make a grab for my toes. As messy as things are they are beginning to forget their place and lose their shyness. I’ve even got an old fashioned cobweb hanging down in one corner of the ceiling. When I run the ceiling fan I can see the cobweb blowing around. I keep meaning to get the broom and sweep it away, I just haven’t gotten that far yet.

I have a little filing cabinet. But it’s become a stash for things I need to sort through rather than a filing system for the things I need. I feel guilty. I feel like a hoarder in training. I feel like I’m going to find things I thought I had lost if I ever get this mountain sorted out and gone from the floor beside me.

I don’t know how people (some people) manage to stay tidy, organized and focused. It’s a skill I lack. I’m still trying to conquer the daily struggle to be self disciplined. I guess it’s part of that too. I need a fire sale, except I’m afraid I have too much to lose that I actually should be using. If all my ducks were in a row I’d be so much better, more effective, better organized and smarter too. My ducks just keep wandering around as if they will find a pond of water if they just keep looking.

I have enough common sense left to know the only way to tackle this is to actually get up to my elbows in it. To bring a garbage bag for expired coupons and other things past their due date. To pull out my file for clip art and snip those out from the morass. To type out the web sites that sounded interesting and see how many of them really are. To find anything personal, financial or legal in the stack of paper and put it aside before I dump the rest into the recycling box. There aren’t a lot of short cuts in tidying up your own clutter. Ignoring it for long periods of time just doesn’t work.

So much of this stuff is all part of some idea I had at some time. I get a lot of ideas. People who write (creative types in general) tend to get an onslaught of ideas or a trickle of inspiration. The problem is not to get yourself lost in the clutter that seems to build up so easily.

Inventing a New Idea

  • “How do you get new ideas?”
  • “What if you run out of ideas?”

These are questions writers and other creative people like inventors, entrepreneurs and advertising types fret over now and then. It’s all good while it’s going OK and you have ideas and yet more thoughts for ideas in the background and jotted down in your notebooks (of some kind). What happens when you hit a dry spell, find yourself in a dry rut without an oasis of an idea?

Look outside yourself. That’s how you get started. Inside our own heads we just have our own brains. We recycle a lot of the same information, moving it around into different patterns, combinations and coming up with results we can use. Everyone gets to a dead end now and then. It only makes sense that the human brain, even a greatly creative one, will find itself needing more input, outside of itself.

Try talking to someone. Family, friends, complete strangers, it doesn’t really matter (avoid the ax murderer types). Find someone who disagrees with you about an issue. Don’t argue your point too hotly. Listen instead. Find the truth in their version of things. What makes it sound logical and right to them. If you stop to listen you will find that outside input. If you just keep talking you will only hear yourself. You already know what you think.

Try reading something, at random. Don’t look for something you already know about. Don’t look for something you you were already interested in. Find something new to you and learn about it. Pick up a magazine about small engine repair if the closest you’ve come to repair is changing the battery in your watch. Pick up the newspaper, fold the pages back and read something that would usually seem boring to you in the financial or political pages. Take out the dictionary and begin a word safari: track down a word completely new to you that has some kind of bizarre meaning and dig deeper to find the history of the word and how it was used in it’s past.

Try taking yourself away. Go somewhere you haven’t been before. Not a place you wanted to go but didn’t have time, nothing so practical or planned. Seek out a new experience and a new location. Take your own journey through time and space. You might try urban or rural exploration. Or you could go to the local museum if you have never been the museum or art gallery type before. Go to watch people set up model trains or fly paper airplanes, there are all kinds of unusual hobbyists who would not mind an audience and someone with enthusiasm to learn more. If you don’t like shopping go to a boutique and take a look at designer shoes, baby clothes or something else you would never have an interest in on any ordinary day.

Good luck and best wishes. At the very least you will not have a dull time of it.

A Year Has Passed Since I Wrote My Note

A song is stuck in my head this morning. I don’t even know which group it comes from or the correct title. The only lines circulating in my mind are about a message in a bottle and “a year has passed since I wrote my note”.

If you were on a deserted island and decided to write a note and throw it into the ocean in a tightly corked bottle, what would the note say? You have enough paper and ink to write more than just the location you assume you are in. Who would you address the note to? What would you say to whoever picked it up out of the ocean or from the beach somewhere?

If a year passed, would you still have hope someone would find your note?

Three Things to do This Month

Three Things to do This Month:

  1. Have a hot shower with your favourite scented body soap. Take time to pamper yourself, right down to trimming your toenails.
  2. Write a real letter to someone you love. A letter that takes up two full pages, is written on real paper and requires a stamp to get delivered.
  3. Go through your clothes closet. Pull out anything you haven’t worn in the past year and recycle it. Try not to get soft-hearted about too many things – think of that poor support pole in your closet having to hold up all that stuff.

Homemakers magazine does this each month. I think it’s a great idea. Their current one (from the February/March issue) is Three Things to do This Winter: Walk in snowshoes. Take zinc for your immune system. Knit a pair of funky socks.

Write your own Three Things to do list.

1,000 Comments Challenge

Can you leave 1,000 comments this month? Though the button says leave me comments it is actually myself who will be leaving the comments, 1,000 of them over the month of March.

Sign up on the blog, Harriet and Friends.

The only downside is keeping track of how many comments you make. If you know of a way to track them leave a note in the comments here. I can’t think of anything at the moment, other than the old fashioned taking a tally as you go along. I spent the day (a lot of it) looking for some kind of plugin or widget to track/ tally comments. But nothing was what I wanted. A couple that would have been good, did not work when I tried them out. So I am doing it by keeping tally on a piece of paper, hoping I don’t lose that in the clutter on my desk.

Happy commenting. Thank you to all those who come through to comment here as well.

Five Things you can do When Life Overwhelms You

If you’re having a bad day, week, month even, it’s hard to sit down and focus on writing. Projects which you know are coming up, deadlines creep right along and you just get more and more behind by the moment. It drags on your spirit and takes your creativity with it. But, here are five things you can do that help me. I hope they will do the same for you.

  1. Get one thing done. Make at least one task your focus and accomplish it, completely. You will feel better to have done at least one thing each day. Don’t slip and let it be something silly or too simple. You need that feeling of accomplishing something each day and you won’t get it from just putting away one book when there are twenty piled up and needing to be put away.
  2. Go outside. Take a good long walk, make your muscles, your body work. Use up some physical energy to help get your mental energy back in line. Not only will you feel better but when you’re walking you will get all kinds of ideas, bring along a notebook and pen. You might even bring along a camera, see what little things you notice along the way, once you look outside yourself.
  3. Have a hot, steamy shower. Use the really good conditioner on your hair, the one that needs 5 minutes to soak in and leaves your hair looking like a million bucks all day. Use a scrub brush on your skin, exfoliate and clean away all the negative energy and smuck that’s been building up around you. Clean your body so that you can dry off from the shower and feel fresh. Get yourself a great new shower body wash, like pink grapefruit or mint scented. How can you not feel better with such great smells enveloping you!
  4. Go out for coffee (or tea). Take lots of blank paper (plain, not lined) and pens, pencil crayons, or wax crayons if you have them. Get a great latte or flavoured coffee, whatever kind of coffee smells great when you walk in that door. Take out your pens and paper, begin with a doodle. Draw anything, start with some shapes if you can’t get into it. Add feet, hands and a face to the shapes you drew. Stick on a hat. How about some accessories: a purse, a book, a garden hoe, a coffee cup, a laptop, a frying pan, anything that pops into your head. Now do another one. Draw at least until you finish your coffee. Jot down any ideas you get as you work, all the little things that come into your mind while you’re creating characters from the shapes you drew.
  5. Take stock of what you have to do. Make a real list of everything you have to do, all the projects, the deadlines and everything from your day to day responsibilities – including family commitments, your job/ career and any freelancing you are doing. Don’t forget housework and all that fun stuff too. Now check your list, add anything you forgot when you started. When you are sure you have a full list read it over. Don’t let yourself feel trapped, intimidated or stressed from this mountain in front of you. You’re about to make it smaller, more manageable. How many things on that list are important things which you really, sincerely must do? How many things are day to day versus once a week, monthy or something which you can procrastinate on until your to-do list isn’t so full? Maybe most important of all, consider how many of the things on your list (which are not vital like taking care of children) are not giving you anything back for the time and energy you put into them? Cross off things which you have committed to do but are not appreciated or giving you something back in return. Don’t get stuck in the trap of doing things which really only drain you. Anything you cross off your list in this way you should also cross out of your life. This is a great way to lighten your to-do list and give yourself the break you’ve been wishing for.

I do not claim to be any kind of professional to help someone with depression or any kind of issues you are having. But, being someone who does get feeling trapped, overwhelmed and pretty discouraged at times I know the things that help me. This is my own list, things that do work for me. If you have things that work for you add them to the comments. We can all use more ideas to help us keep going, be productive and feel we are still a part of things, still have worth and more to contribute to the world (even if only our neighbourhood of it).

Bookmark Collectors Virtual Convention

Do you have a bookmark collection? Do you use bookmarks at all or do you just turn down a corner of the page you are reading and close the book on it (the dog-earred method)? I like having a bookmark. I do buy one now and then. But, being shoved into my purse, moved from backpack to purse and then forgotten on the nightstand awhile, a bookmark tends to take some abuse and get lost. Most of the time I use the folded corner to mark the page I’m reading. But, I really like the idea of having a bookmark collection. Now, I just need to find whatever stragglers are left.

Bookmark Collectors Virtual Convention: Bookmarks have been in existence for as long as there have been books, and for the bookmark collector their meaning goes beyond their mundane purpose of marking a position within a book. Made out of materials that vary from paper to precious gems, they are pieces of art, souvenirs, craft samplers, time capsules, and cultural flotsam. Although their prices vary from free to thousands of dollars, collectors ascribe value based on personal meaning, judgment of beauty, and fit within a series.

The convention is planned for February 20 – 21st at 8:AM, PST.

Clustering, Can it Work for You?

On a clean sheet of paper write a word in the middle. Pick anything that comes to your mind: corn, window, lazy, broom, children… or a topic which you need to write about.

Circle the word in the middle. Now begin writing down other words, phrases which connect to the first word in some way. Write them down circling your original word like a spiderweb pattern. Each new word will have it’s own spin-off word, more than one as you start filling the page with ideas circling around your original word.

I skimmed a book I found in a thrift store where this was called clustering. To me it seems a different pattern to brainstorming.

When you get to the edges of your sheet of paper you could have gone from corn to outer space. You will have a lot of ideas to work with. Whatever your original word/ topic using this clustering plan you will have found connections to ideas you would not have come up with had you just made notes or a quick draft written on the topic. If nothing else, you will feel better connected to the topic and focused on writing about it.

Can You Write This Profile?

Mindful Meandering has Profile Stress: 

Putting together our adoption profile was very intense and extremely stressful. How on earth do you adequately capture on paper the essence of why a woman should choose you to raise her child?? How do you come across as likable?

There is a hard profile to write, this makes writing a profile for yourself on a dating site look simple. What would you write about yourself in an adoption profile? (Assuming you were in that situation, of course). It would be really hard just to start, to feel safe in being sincere about your wishes to adopt versus sounding like you were a selling yourself like a used car salesperson.