April 26, 2010

Making a start

It's a long weekend here in Australia, and I've been having an at home weekend, puttering around doing things that needed doing (well, apart from hanging out with my awesome crit buddies on Sunday...minus the fabulous Keri who is swanning around in Ohio, getting ready to party at the Romantic Times conference).

One of the things I tackled was clearing out my spare room, which had become pretty much full of junk over the last few years. A task I've been avoiding forever because it seemed like too big a job. But this weekend I reached that point of "enough is enough", girded up my virgo loins, grabbed my handy dandy kitchen timer and attacked.

And here's the thing. It took nowhere near as long as I thought. I still haven't finished completely, I need to sort through two bookcases to identify books to go to the Salvos or somewhere so I have a bit more space but tackling the junk took maybe 2 and half hours. (Trust me, there was plenty of junk!) In fifteen minute spurts so I'm not exhausted at the end of the weekend and I had plenty of time to relax and do other things. I've probably spent far longer over the last few years looking at it and thinking "too hard".

Getting rid of stuff is good for the brain. It gives you space to breathe. And Nike has it right. Just do it is a pretty good motto. Starting something gets rid of the niggling "I should do x or y, or I need to tackle x or clean" thoughts that take up so much space in our heads.

I don't think it's a coincidence that Saturday night, after I'd finished, a shiny new book idea popped into my head. Sure, I don't have time for it right now but new ideas are always a good thing. Space is a good thing for writers. It's easier to be creative when you're not worrying about everything else you "should" be doing.

So that's my wisdom for the weekend. Getting started always makes you feel better and you can tackle anything (even something huge like writing a book) in fifteen minute bursts and it will get done. You don't have to kill yourself putting in twelve hour days (well, maybe sometimes on a deadline you do..but even then if you're in the regular habit, you shouldn't have to do so much to meet a deadline), it doesn't have to be perfect straight away, you just have to make the effort to start and keep going. Maybe not particularly earth shattering (particularly if you've ever listened/read any Flylady stuff) but well worth remembering when writing or anything else seems overwhelming. Just do it.

Hopefully I'll remember all this if I have to disappear into the depths of the revision cave over the next few weeks!


Jo said...

Nice to see the cleaning bug has moved to your house too!! I think we may need to do the 15 min spurt thing for your garden one afternoon too! xx

Mel said...

I think the garden needs quite a few lots of 15 mins : )

but I might take you up on the offer!

Keziah Hill said...

I was inspired to clean up the spare room when I was about to have visitors staying overnight and I couldn't actually get into the room. And like you, when I started it, it didn't take very long at all.

Mel said...

Yay! Clutter begone! Now we just have to keep them clean ; )

Barbara O'Neal said...

Hooray for you!

I love decluttering, too. If my office or my sink are messy, I can't get my work done, and if I get lost in deadline and my house starts to fall apart, my brain falls apart, too.

Mel said...

I can tolerate a certain amount of mess but am trying to not let it get to that level to avoid the mad virgo cleaning binges that inevitably follow!