How to get your shit together

Following a seemingly endless period of low ups and deep downs, I found that my writing took a back seat for a while. 

I didn’t want it to but everything was so hectic and stressful in my life that I couldn’t hear my writing voice.  It had started with the death of my Grandmother and the grieving felt never-ending.

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I made the heart-breaking decision to step away from writing.  However, as writers we never truly step away from writing, do we?

So I continued to scribble down notes, play around with random ideas that came into my head and once in a blue moon type a scene. This was barely writing in my eyes and I felt it.

But the decision was made in order for me to get my shit together. I had found myself drowning with everything life was throwing at me.

Clear the path

So I took some time to figure out what the hell I needed to do. The first was a big purge, of my house, of my to-do list, of crap and stress I had been wallowing in, of where my life was going…

Sorting your house is great because it’s often a physical representation of your psyche and had gone from ‘organised but busy’ to ‘cluttered and crazy’ (and full of cats….).

By getting rid of things, I was actually letting go of issues at the same time. I released myself from bonds I had been trapped in. For example, years ago I had signed up for two courses – one in book-keeping and one in acupuncture… don’t ask me why!

I had hit a hard patch and never started them but they lingered, forever on my massive to-do list. Something I needed to “find time” for.

It was actually funny how much time I needed to find for random shit I no longer cared about. The purge made me face that and I got rid of all the stuff.

I have no interested in either of those things anymore and I certainly didn’t need book-keeping for my business… because it’s been running for 3 years and I’m doing fine!

Does this sound familiar?

Are you feeling overwhelmed?  Take a step back and look at what you have – decide if you are taking on too much.  Look at either letting things go or putting them on the back-burner for a while.

Sometimes all this extra crap really saps the time and energy you should be putting into your novel. Get rid of anything no longer serving you, no longer interesting to you.  Give yourself back that time.  Trying to fit everything in means it’s always in your mind, taking up space that should be used for stories and plotlines.

Organise OrganizeSimplify

As a mild hoarder (not a crazy, keeping-garbage-can’t-get-in-the-door hoarder) I found I had trapped a lot of thoughts and memories in things.

I had to let some of it go.  It was agony but when I got into the swing of it, I felt 100 times better and I’ve just kept going.

I’ve reduced down my photos, starting to keep only electronic copies (backed up!) as well as checking them and deleting ones that aren’t that great rather than keeping all of them.

I reduced my book collection of books I don’t think I’ll read and ones that I won’t read again (and I made money selling them! Wooh!)

We even ended up getting selling large pieces of furniture that we weren’t really using, which has totally transformed the house.

This was especially effective in my Quiet Room because I now feel much more comfortable being up here again.

I hadn’t realised just how uncomfortable I had made my Quiet Room.  This was the one place I used to disappear to in order to write.

No fidgeting cats, not phones for family members to pester me, no noise except what I wanted… it was great.  Not sure when I messed that up and made it a screaming room of hell…. but I had.

A great book

One big help was The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up.  This book was bought for me by my partner who saw I was struggling.  As someone who struggled to part with things, I was shocked at how much this book really did change my life.

I went from a mild hoarder to heading towards minimalism.  It exposed issues I’d had, made me focus on changes and I became excited to make the change and clear out all the physical items that gave me such relief once they were gone.

If you haven’t already read it, I highly recommend this book to anyone who wants to reclaim their space and time and organise their home.

Buy it from Amazon.co.uk

Buy it from Amazon.com

View what is left

What I was left with were things I still wanted to do and did not want to give up. Writing is the main one, then my online shop and my part-time degree… these three are what I wanted to focus on.

Having cut down the list from like 52 to 3 was quite freeing. 🙂

But I wanted to make them all work – do better with my business, schedule and work better on my degree and complete and plug my writing.

So I’ve had to spend more time (yes this is not always a quick process) figuring out what I want with these three and then to plan it.

This has allowed me to become more organised again, to see all the chaff that blocks my view and cut it away.

It’s not 100% done yet but I am so much closer than I was… as you can probably tell since this blog is now updated regularly!!

I even have a nice compact list of To Dos for each of the three on my shiny dry erase board! These are also not vague To Dos like I used to write but clear succinct To Dos.

Make a plan

If you want to move ahead with your writing, get any shit in your life sorted, organised and corralled so that it won’t interfere too much (and try not to make this organising too long…and you can still be writing at the same time!)

The more organised you are outside of your writing, the better you will find the writing… don’t get me wrong a little chaos is great… we creative types live in chaos. But you need a little breathing space. Too much chaos can choke you.

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I hope you found this useful. If you like my tutorials why not follow my blog. I upload new posts on Fridays at 18:30  GMT (mostly)

If you have ideas for tutorials or want to ask me a question, drop me a comment. 🙂

Happy writing

Ari

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2 thoughts on “How to get your shit together

  1. Pingback: What I have learnt about being a writer | Ari Meghlen – Writer | Blogger | Bad card player

  2. Pingback: How to beat procrastination and start writing | Ari Meghlen – Writer | Blogger | Bad card player

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