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Friday, July 2, 2010

Getting my House in Order

My sister is really good at organizing and decorating rooms. She is an expert. She has training. But beyond that, or rather, before that, she has natural talent. Connie has this amazing ability to blend practical with creative expression. That just flabbergasts me because I tend to think of those two as oil and water, and personally, I find it difficult to think of those two words in the same day, let alone the same concept!

I am always impressed when I see her work, but the last time I saw her in action, I had an epiphany. You see, she is creative; she breathes and bleeds creative ideas. You can’t look at her without seeing the features of her physical being in the same way that she can’t look at space without seeing a kaleidoscope of colors and images and all that magic. The creative stuff just happens simply because she is who she is. I get that because that’s how writing is for me.

The last time I witnessed her at work, I saw those two parts of her as separate components: the creative juices that lubricate and fuel the engine, her methodical thinking, and the engine that makes her excel in her work. It was like suddenly seeing the red and blue that make purple.

The epiphany I got was that I can do that, too! Hell, no, I can’t choose colors and I can’t arrange my furniture so that is actually usable. I can’t even alphabetize my files. But I can bring my methodical thinking skills to the forefront of my work because the creative stuff is just who I am. It just happens.

So I started thinking that if I consider my career as my house full of rooms – projects – I can tackle each one like Connie does rooms. There is the “kitchen”, the room where I create the products that provide my income, the fuel for living. And then there is the “garage” where I keep my tools. The “family room” is for all those family projects and the “living room” is for personal writing. The “guest room” is where I focus on marketing and promotion to get new clients. And the “bathroom”, well, I have to have a place to eliminate waste and keep myself clean and presentable.

My career has a house but it doesn’t have a “home”, my stuff is everywhere and it isn’t very inviting. Watching Connie work made me realize that I need to first do some basic house cleaning – put things where they belong. Then I need to employ the methodical thinking skills to 1) identify problems; 2) identify how I work and what I really need; 3) purge the junk; 4) brainstorm for solutions; and 5) organize instinctively. Then I need to live in it for a few months and then reevaluate to see what still needs to be changed. (I added that last step because I have a hard time with final conclusions.)

OK. I need to go work in the “kitchen” now for awhile.


  1. I like this idea. Of course, my house is mostly a mess right now, so that might mean everything else is a mess too! Ha! I'm reading a new book about clutter clearing by Mark Brunetz--he talks about the stories we tell ourselves about our stuff--how every thing has a story attached and that story either helps or hinders us. As a journal writer and story teller, I am really getting into what he says. I think his method has the potential to help me clear up my messy ways. I love those light bulb moments!

  2. Yes! So I hope you are journaling about the messes and all the stories. And maybe you can keep the stories and let go of the STUFF! Good luck and keep me posted!