Organizing My Life & Writing Life

I have started an interesting new habit of writing in the morning.

If you know me or have followed my blog, you might have figured out that my prime writing time was from 8 pm - 1 am, right after my family goes to sleep.

Maybe I have just become old, but I've found myself in bed at 9 pm this winter. This is not like me. . .at all.

I have tried to write at night, but I've only realized how tired I am and how blank my mind is. I can't pull up any ideas, images, or even basic words. It had become an evening meditation of staring at a blank screen.

But lately, I've found if I get up, grab cereal and coffee, I can write first thing in the morning. And not just journal-write, but write-write. Poems have come. You don't understand, nothing EVER came to me in the morning. I have always considered myself NOT to be a morning person. Most of my poems in Small Knots and in Letters from the Emily Dickinson Room where written after the sun had set. And now, here I am, a William Stafford-up-before-dawn writer.

I think it's important though to realize that sometimes our best times to write become our worst and to be open for change. Just try it out and see what happens.

I've been trying to revise my life this December.

My main goal is to keep the "retreat lifestyle" in my regular life as much as possible. I am kind of proud of myself to say I have done this pretty well. I have stopped going to news websites and feeling as if I must know all that is happening in the world. I have turned off NPR and instead have been listening to music. I have stopped checking Facebook and email as much as I had been and instead spending a lot of my free time with friends, family, pets and books.

I have found *my* work (and my work with others & with Crab Creek Review) gets completed faster because I'm not putting it off. (Amazing how that works.)

My mum got me this book for Christmas--One Year to an Organized Life: From Your Closets to Your Finances, the Week-by-Week Guide to Getting Completely Organized for Good and honestly, I've completely organized the kitchen and pantry (month one) ending up with 3 boxes for Goodwill (including our giant George Foreman grill we never use) and 3 bags of food for the foodbank. I feel a little OCD as I'm totally loving this book.

It's also funny because I just read What French Women Know: About Love, Sex, and Other Matters of the Heart and Mind, which I also really liked, but it is the really the anti-American belief about organizing and just living enjoying daily pleasures and being in the moment.

But maybe I can do both...

I guess because while I know w my writing is not related to whether I have utensils and odd contraptions I never use, but there is a freeing for me.

In Feng Shui, they say that cleaning (or clearing) a home with what you don't need opens a new flow of energy. I think one thing is does is allows you not to worry about "what you have to do" because it's done. Also, it saves energy in finding things as now I actually *know* where things are and am not running around the kitchen digging through every drawer saying, "Where are the scissors?" The scissors that last week were missing so we had to wrap presents with a child's pair from my daughter's room, after cleaning the kitchen it seems we have no less than SIX pairs of scissors. The problem was, they just weren't where they were supposed to be.

So, this Christmas break, my life has been about writing in the morning and making boxes for Goodwill in the afternoon. I think the Christmas-clutter put me over the edge as we had WAY too many decorations as even my husband said, "That gang of wooden snowmen was stressing me out..." And oddly, me too.

It feels like a good time of the year to be doing this-- cleaning up, starting new habits, especially writing habits because isn't that what New Year's is about? A time to start again. Of course, we can restart anytime, but there's a nice feeling when the clock counts down and we can say, "Well, that year is over..." and see the possibilities before us.

What are you clearing out of your life for the new year?

What are you bringing in?


  1. i try to start each new year with a good take down of the closets and all. even more exciting this year because we are going to finally replace are grody carpet in the living room and dining room so i'm thinking i might need to have a winter yard sale.

    what to bring in my life? i've been trying to focus on being more positive.

  2. I am so delighted to see "One Year to an Organized Life" being embraced and used.

    Regina Leeds

  3. Jessie, working to be more positive is always a good thing to bring into your life. I find when I'm not being positive, I write a gratitude list. You'll notice at times when you see a lot of these on my blog, it's because I'm not doing so well! ;-) Happy New Year!

    Regina, your book is excellent! I have moved onto the bedroom. It is exactly what I needed and it's been excellent!

    Thanks for your note!

  4. The past year has been various levels of chaos, more than I'll get into here -- clearing and organizing may need to wait till another year.

    But I wanted to say, I also -- years back -- did a lot of my writing late at night, it wasn't uncommon for me to be up all night long, or anyway till the first birds started jabbering at first light.

    Then sometime in the past ten years or so, I started switching to an earlier body clock. These days I often find it easier to write in the morning -- when I try to write late at night, the same thing happens that you described, my mind fades and wanders, words become uncooperative, and I want to go to sleep.

    Didn't plan it that way, the cycle just seemed to change. It still works.

  5. Lyle,

    Thanks for your note. That's interesting how you changed as well. It is a complete shift for me. Like you, I could meet the sunrise, now I'm up with the birds.

    I hope 2010 is less chaotic for you and offers more peace on all levels.

    Happy New Year and thanks for always taking a moment to leave your thoughts. I always enjoy reading them.



Post a Comment

Always love to hear from you...and the anonymous option is open for those feeling shy.