Monday, October 1, 2007

Poet is a Verb: Re-Structure

After leaving my old job on Friday, I felt like I needed to reorganize. I was feeling cluttered and disorganized, both physically and mentally. One place it was showing was my writing desk. So, as a way to honor my writing practice, I restructured my writing space.

What does this have to do with writing? I was feeling that my writing desk was a good metaphor for my writing life lately.

When I would come home from work, I would pile random crap on top of my desk. Junk mail and work files mingled with drafts of poems and my journals. Papers were precariously balanced on top of each other, until I couldn't find anything.

This was how I approached my writing. I would think of poems to write, then set them aside. I would bury them beneath thoughts of work and the responsibilities from my job that carried over to my home life. I would lose the impetus and the inspiration to write, because it was drowning beneath all of my other responsibilities.

As I was cleaning today, I was throwing away everything that had to do with that old life. All of my old lesson plans, notes from students, and graded papers got shoveled into a bag and dumped into the recycling bin. Then, I found filing systems for the non-writing things that I needed: condo association board documents, loose recipes I wanted to try, tax forms, and of course a lot of random crap. (You never know when you may need post-it notes, for instance, which is why I have 6 pads in various shapes and colors.) I segregated all of these things to the right side of my desk.

Then, I organized my art supplies and writing tools. I found several copies of my manuscript that have my editing notes written upon it, drafts of poems that I had been meaning to revise, and several half started journals. These things got segregated to the left side of my desk. Lastly, I got a nifty tiered filing system, so that I can organize my book reviewing notes and the drafts of poems in need of revision. These remain on my desk, where I can see them every day.

Now, my writing space is free and uncluttered and I feel a little bit lighter. All of my writing tools, at least the physical ones, are easy to locate and accessible. Plus, I've given myself a little peace of my mind and a clean space of my own.

* * *

My new job gives me every other Monday off, which allows me to have a day entirely to myself. I plan to devote a part of each of these Mondays to my writing practice, so that I can put in some time towards creation. I will be cataloguing my efforts here, as a renewed attempt at my Poet=Verb feature.


Jo said...

As soon as I read a clean space of my own I knew where that link was going LOL, one of my favourite reads! I am beginning to feel unusual in that I write on the computer, not on paper.....I haven't done that for years, but it seems lots of you still do. And my folders are a messy disgrace, I need to do a sort out too. It looks great and whenever I come here I will visualise you there!

Jessica said...

Of course I had to bring up Virginia - she's a favorite in our household. I remember reading that essay/book when I was about 20 and thinking, "of course! Now I know what that bookstore I like is named after." ;)

I do still write on paper, in journals for my poetry, which has pluses and minuses. I like the tactile feeling of writing -- the pen moving across the page. But once I have a draft, I need to see it on the computer screen, cleanly typed. The downside is that when I write, there's a lot of paper and excess junk rolling around, in crumpled up & crossed out drafts and notes written on envelopes. It makes me, someone who is naturally disorganized, even more so.