This week I tidied my desk. The photo depicts the tidy version. Honestly.
“Is that an annual event?” asked my friend Bea.
“Of course,” I replied, “whether it needs it or not.”
It was a relief to discover that there was still a desk under the morass of paper, notebooks, sticky notes, manuscripts, tax office correspondence, business cards, paper clips, CDs, data sticks, receipts and unidentifiable wires and jack plugs scattered all over its surface. It is no wonder that my thinking has lacked focus. My desk has been a disaster zone.
The rather flimsy excuse for this state of affairs is that I’m spinning so many plates I haven’t got time to make sure my desk is clear as well! Such is my life as a freelance work-from-home Mum that I use my desk as a holding area for a whole host of stuff that I mean to get back to later after cooking dinner, or taking my daughter to her drama club, or hefting in the laundry. The reality is that often I’m so jaded by the time I sit down I just rest my elbows on top of the junk and gaze glassily at Facebook. The net result being that I don’t write. Which sometimes means I don’t get paid, and sometimes, more seriously, that I begin to question my capabilities.
Astoundingly however, having sifted through all the junk and ruthlessly chucked some of it and re-cycled other of it, I saw before me a desk space upon which there was nothing but a computer monitor, keyboard, phone, spiral bound pad and pencil. It was the most seductive thing I’ve seen in a long time. I could not wait to sit at it; I even leaped out of bed the morning after, as soon as the alarm went off, desperate to make sure that it hadn’t all been a crazy dream, or that the desk goblins hadn’t returned overnight to wreak havoc. Suddenly I felt energised and in control, ready to take on all my telephone interviews and tap out all my articles with super quick efficiency.
And what delighted me even more was that thousands of words appeared for my latest writing project. Liberated from the oppressive piles of paper and junk, they wormed their way up my unconstrained elbows, along my ergonomically well-supported forearms, through my fevered, fast-typing fingers, and onto the screen.
I’m gradually getting the message. Being in nature and having a tidy desk are two vital staples for me to get down to write and feel productive. I’m sure there are other ingredients for this particular cake. What are yours?