Just finished writing a short scene, and was about to start the next, when I made the mistake of gazing around my inner sanctum. Bad mistake — now I’m distracted by the mess. Over the past few weeks I’ve accomplished new heights of domestic godliness in all rooms except this one. I scrubbed, dusted, organized, vacuumed, and even carpet-cleaned. (Yes, I rented an actual machine.)
Except for the rugs, my industrious spurt did not extend to the office. The cleaning task is a burning imperative at this point. Unfortunately, I’m intimidated by my paper piles. Too many of them, and — I cheated! —
some of them migrated here from other rooms during the Big Clean.
Nothing to do but take my laptop to a coffeehouse, I think. This IS a holiday weekend, after all.
Over the weekend the sun revealed itself, I received several healthy doses of vitamin D, and I bought myself a bouquet of lilies. This morning, I stumbled out of bed and proceeded to write with zero fuss. There must be a correlation.
The writing went well, but rereading the pages just now, I’m unsure how much I’ll keep when I start revisions. Especially a bit of description that might slow down the scene. But that’s okay. During revisions I might cut the description entirely — or cut the surrounding text and move the description to a better spot in the story. Who knows? I don’t — yet.
Thinking about this reminds me of a woman I met at Baker & Spice on Saturday. I noticed her journal when I sat myself down with my bread pudding. She filled the pages with petite script that I could tell was legible. Her words marched in straight lines with no cross-outs, corrections inserted between the lines, or scribbles in the margins.
Along with her tidy handwriting, I also noticed cool pasted-in items such as ticket stubs and postcards. When I commented on this she mentioned that she rarely writes because of writing anxiety, which (if I understood her correctly) prevents her from writing anything down unless it’s perfect.
Me, I’m the opposite. I call myself a verbal vomiter, and my journals are messy like my first drafts. I suppose my tolerance for messiness allows me to be okay with the pages I wrote today. I can let them go for now, because I know I’ll tidy them up later. As a verbal vomiter, I end up with lots of material to work with, that’s for sure.
In fact, I’m basking in the glow of validation. The book I mentioned on the My Current Reading List post, A Perfect Mess, coins the phrase useful mess. Yes!