I don’t like cleaning. I really don’t. I can think of about a million things I’d rather do than dust and scrub and sweep. However, I do like a clean house, so, until I start selling loads and loads of books and can afford to hire a cleaner, for now the job falls (mostly) to me.
Today I had a free day, a rare beast at this time of year. And I chose, among other things, to do some cleaning. I know, right?! Have I gone mad?? But it was rather specific cleaning. I decided that it was time to tackle the piles of paper taking on rather alarming proportions on my desk. In fact, they had expanded to the windowsill and even the floor, and it was all feeling a bit crowded and cluttered in my tiny study. I know I’ve written previously about the chaotic way I take notes and manage my plans, but every so often I do like to get things in order, otherwise I think my family might find me one day buried under a fluttering piles of paper scraps and sticky notes, whimpering softly. So I moved everything out of the study and started to sort through it.
And what did I find?
A couple of short story notes, a page of Ambeth ideas, some scribbles about Silver and Black. An email from a friend that I’d missed, some drawings from my daughter plus a poem she’d written about me (the best!), three notebooks, some empty file sleeves (now put to use holding those story ideas), a couple of photographs, and some reference notes about publications looking for short stories. I also found dust and picture hooks and pens and sharpeners, a nail file and some (clean) tissues. Papers that should have gone in the bin ages ago, plus more papers that needed to be filed. A reminder to do my taxes, an invitation needing a reply, and a couple of receipts.
So I filed and sorted and threw away, and now I have a desk much cleaner and clearer than before, a nice space in which to get back to work. I’ve been trying to sort out my next Ambeth book and am hoping this will create the space for me to do so, both physically and mentally.
Which leads to the one sort of cleaning I don’t mind doing. Meditation. For me it’s the mental equivalent of clearing out my desk. I realise it’s not for everyone – it’s just something that happens to work for me. I miss it when I don’t do it, and I feel calmer when I do. Even just a few minutes each day makes a difference. I find when I sit and let thoughts tumble through my mind I can then decide, in a space of calmness, whether to keep them, file them, or let them go. And then, once things are clear and sorted, I’m free to focus elsewhere.
It’s evening now. I wasn’t planning on writing a blog post, yet here I am, sitting at my nice clean desk, words appearing on the page. I think, despite my aversion, doing a little cleaning can sometimes be a good thing.
Happy weekend, everyone!
Plus check out my latest release, A Thousand Rooms, now available on Amazon.