Laundry defeats me. Granted with a full house I have a ton to do, but you’d think I’d be used to that by now. No such luck. No matter how prepared I think I am it sneaks up on my anyway. And then, there I am under the avalanche. . .again.
Then the piles begin.
My dining room is not a dining room anymore, but laundry central. And the table? The command center. A very pretty folding station, sure, but still. . .
Thank God for big tables and gorgeous wainscoting. Otherwise, it would feel like exactly what it is. . .a trench. A glorified battle station where I fight the good fight, but never win.
Who here can relate? If you can’t, raise your hand. . .so I can shoot you!
Nah, seriously. My weapon’s holstered, no need to worry because I have a point. . .really I do. And here it is. . .
All that laundry--and the fact it hardly ever gets put away in its proper place--got me thinking about clutter. Not just the kind in our homes, but also the kind that takes over our heads. All that noise, chatter. . .the relentless blah, blah, blah we writers subject ourselves to on a regular basis. For the most part, mine’s relentlessly positive. The cheerleading type of rah, rah, rah that gets me up every morning at 5 a.m. to bang out the words that will eventually come together and form a novel. The ‘Go me, you can do it!’ kind of stuff.
But, every once in a while I find myself slipping and the “blues” role in, like fog on a once crisp landscape. It obscures the view, makes me lose my way and the positive chatter becomes something else entirely. And then the question comes. . .the why the hell do I do this to myself everyday? that a writer hates to hear. When that grabs hold, I’ll admit it takes an all battle stations alert to combat that voice. My little soldiers scramble to repeal the attack, and sometimes it takes them a day or two (maybe even a week) to beat back the invading force.
For me, it all comes down to house cleaning. . .the mental kind. If I can keep the dust bunnies and the cobwebs to a minimum inside my head, the enemy (all that writers angst) can’t accumulated enough ammunition for the Shock and Awe campaign I wage with myself every once in a while. And that means taking inventory. . .understanding who I am and what I need. Knowing when it’s time to push ahead, slow down, indulge in a good book or movie or a day with a friend without guilt. When you give yourself what you need by acknowledging a weakness--and turn to face it head-on--it loses the power to persuade. In other words, it can’t take you by surprise. And that’s what an ambush is all about, isn’t it?
So, here’s a question for you. How do you keep the “uglys” away? Chocolate? Exercise? Mental sand bags? We all have a method that works for us. Maybe by sharing ours, we can help each other stay focused while running the road in the great, big crazy world we call publishing.