I have never had a clean desk.
My desks were blank surfaces. I used them to stack things that were floating about my room looking for a spot to live. I thought at one time that maybe desks were supposed to be used to do work on, but I afterwards have realized this is not the case.
Then my mom gave me a really beautiful desk.
This desk was actually going to be used, said I. I was only going to keep special, inspiring things in it, papers, special nicknacks, notebooks, pens, and some papers–that’s ALL.
That was a nice thought. This is what actually happened. I ask you to imagine me at my desk, notebook sitting in front of me, pen in hand, poised, ready, then–“oh, what’s this paper? I forgot this was in here. Hmmm, maybe I should doodle instead. This is thick paper. No, I’m going to write. Hmm…now I’m just overwhelmed. Maybe I’ll just take this notebook outside…in the grass…with the sun…and the bugs…I can do that. I wonder what Mama and Hannah are talking about downstairs…they sure are talking loudly. No. I am going to write…I’m going to write…maybe I’ll do it later…when I feel like it.”
The most important thing about art is to work. Nothing else matters except sitting down every day and trying.
I was inspired. I immediately began thinking up ideas. I was going to start that day. I decided to pick my most unproductive time of the day and hit writing hard then. That time for me was 3:00 pm. Then, I thought of my desk. I thought of how depressing it was. My whole life I had thought the mess was supposed to be inspiring me–it never did. I thought a full desk meant a full brain–now I realized it meant a messy brain.
So I took everything out of my desk. Now I have a notebook, my favorite pen (Named Caliban), Little Dorrit, a poker hand, and a tiny plastic pig. Perhaps the pig isn’t really necessary only, well, his name is Herbert, and he looks like he’s howling for me.
A messy desk does not do anything to help anyone.
There are two types of people:
- Those who organize their mind and then their surroundings
- Those who organize their surroundings and then their mind
To clarify, both types need orderly surroundings (Who doesn’t?), but for the latter type, it is vital. I’ve begun to realize that if I am going to be productive I MUST have a clean space to work in. This is because I am very easily distracted. I don’t have time to be distracted. It is either be distracted or productive–it can’t be both.
I have been so happy this week. I have been happy because I have been creating. I have been facing the fear of creating. I have discovered that if I just keep doing it, it gets better as I go along. For the first time ever, my desk is clean. Clean! And I will just have to hope that it stays that way.