Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Writing amid the Chaos

Some people thrive in the orderly, I thrive in chaos. When I'm in the throes of a book, my office looks like a tornado ravaged the room. My desktop is piled high with various layers of papers, anything from bills to research info to school stuff for my kids. And believe it or not I do have a catalog in my brain that tells me where any given paper that I am looking for is within the layers. I have books, The Synonym Finder, A Dictionary, The Plot Doctor and various other research books that pertain to what ever subject I'm writing about, stacked around, either on the desk top or on the floor with in grabbing distance. Pens and pencils lie haphazardly on the desktop for easy use, as do scissors and highlighters. A phone is close by and the printer is an arm's length away. Right now I have a tub of Trader Joe's Animal Crackers sitting next to the printer (in case I get the munchies) and a cup of tea. On my lap is my daughter's little dog named Simba. He likes to put his head on the keyboard as I type.
Behind me, I have a book case stuffed with books, some research and reference, some writing how to books, and lots of fun fiction. I also have a tall filing cabinet the top of which houses a pretty vase with my beautiful roses from Rose City Romance Writers, the chapter gives a rose every time an author sells a book. On the floor infront of the closet are tubs full of stuff, more books, things for reader baskets, papers that I don't need right now but may one day and a ton of notebooks full of story ideas. At my feet is a CD player; again that chaos thing, I can't work in silence.I will confess that between deadlines, I do clean my office so that the chaos can be rebuilt with the next book. And so my life as a writer goes.
I'm knee deep in a book that will be a December 2009 release titled Chasing Shadows- so as you probably have guessed my office is in shambles.
This month I have a Classics release. This is a reissue of my first two books in one volumne. I love the cover. Steeple Hill does such a great job with the art work on our covers (see the cover above).


Vince said...

Hi Terri:

Your work area sounds like the one I maintained when I worked in an advertising department. One day the president walked in and saw my desk and said: “A cluttered desk is a sign of cluttered mind.”

Knowing the president took great pride in having nothing on his desk top, I said, “And what would an empty desk be a sign of?”

He just shook his head and left. I just know he was thinking that creative people were just hopeless.

Since then science has discovered “Chaos theory” and “fuzzy math”

We are winning!


Terri Reed said...

Good comeback. Thanks for the laugh! Yes, we creative types are winners.
Take care.

Cheryl Wyatt said...

Terri, these images of all that stuff stacked around you is hilarious. That is so cool that you can work around chaos and clutter.

I am just the opposite. I am SO distracted by clutter that I have to normally take ten minutes a day per room to clear the clutter and straighten. It's like it's watching me, taunting me, distracting me with whispers, "Pick me up. Put me away. Someone might drop in. I have a place. Put me in my place." and all that clutter glares at me until I finally get up, obliterated it.

Then I can sit down and concentrate. LOL!

I love how each writer is different..but boy do I wish I was more like you in the sense of your great ability to write amid chaos.

I loved this post.


Vince said...

Hi Terri:

I like to think of clutter as ‘encrypted neatness’.

God gave man the gift of ‘pattern recognition’ and clutter gives us an opportunity to use that gift. If my wife comes into my office and moves even one item, I know it immediately.

But, it really makes no difference. It’s what’s on the printed page that counts.

I really like this topic. Thanks.


LuAnn said...

My work area always looks like a tornado hit. I try to clean it up once in a while but it just gets out of hand again. Right now, I have five different stacks of notes, papers, photos, etc., on my desk, plus some standing up in my writing stand. Then, there are four more stacks on the floor around me. If anyone else walked into this room, they would wonder what the heck was wrong with me!