A writer’s clutter, mental and otherwise …

January 11, 2009

Like so many people, I am an information junkie.  On a normal day I read dozens of news feeds, news articles, and click on another dozen or more links.  I’m constantly saving quotes, pictures, and little curious items that amuse me into EverNote or DevonThink, or using [toread] to save a web page for later viewing, or sending a link to myself via email.  Some of this stuff ends up on the Annex.

Even when I’m ‘not’ writing, I call myself a writer.   It makes me feel better, I guess.  While I wrote and submitted several pieces last year, I also keep a journal.  That journal might be considered the novel of my life.  Last year, my journal had 87,000 words.  The previous year, it was close to 90,000.

Writers tend to live in clutter most of the time – not all of us, but most of us, I think.  Here are some not-too-bad examples.  On desks and floors and shelves are stacks of books, magazines, folders and paper.  The stacks may have had or still retain some inner organization, but the stacks are periodically knocked or kicked into disarray.  How organized can they be?  We’re kidding ourselves!

We have a difficult time putting things back in their place, too, at least putting them back as an extended practice.  After an office purge, sometimes by someone else, we may be inspired to do so for a week or two, maybe even a month or more.  But one day we suddenly realize what a mess our office has become and think, jesus how did it get this way?

We accumulate snippets of conversation in notebooks, overheard remarks, and indecipherable handwritten notes written in the dark on bits of paper at 4 AM,  from dreams we’ve had,  or from a sudden burst of what we think of as inspiration that usually turns into chicken scratch in pen or pencil.

Writers are inherently information junkies and we keep a lot of junk.

Don’t tell us we’re sloppy.  We have an addiction, like alcohol or nicotine.   Feel sorry for us.   Send us money.

You think it’s bad out here?  Just imagine what the inside of our heads look like.


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