I've always been one of those people who has said that I have a hard time working when my house is a mess. Which is true. Yet there are plenty of times, probably more often than not, when I am plugging away at my writing while my house falls down around my ears, and my children are living off of cereal and digging their clothes out of laundry baskets. (In my defense, the laundry is at least clean...most of the time) :D
So, if my house is a mess, yet I'm still managing to work, then how can I say that I have a hard time being creative when my house is such a disgrace?
Well, I noticed something today. No matter how hard I seem to be working, when my house is a mess, I'm usually not really accomplishing anything writing-wise either. I have gone months without making any real progress. Yeah, my files are open all day and I even look at them from time to time. But no matter how long I sit at my computer, I'm not actually doing anything. And my house has been in a constant state of YUCK for months too.
Yet for the last few days, I have been amazingly productive. It's like something snapped and I just started DOING SOMETHING. My first picture book is FINISHED. I'm not doing any major promotion until we've done some final quality checks, but for the most part, it's done. My non-fiction proposal, the one I've been dragging my butt on for months? DONE. By the time this post goes live, it should be in my agent's hands. Or...at least hanging out the door and waving goodbye :D
My next picture book project? Started...and the rest is outlined. My ever-patient novel? Completely edited, annotated and outlined, and impatiently chomping at the bit for me to focus all my energy on it so I can finish it and send it to my critters for one last round.
At the same time, I have been in an absolute TIZZY trying to get my house pulled together. I can't stand it right now. I've spent hours getting caught up on all my laundry, cleaning and rearranging furniture, organizing and tossing stuff out. There is stuff EVERYWHERE and my dog is shedding so badly I have to sweep the floor 12 times a day just to keep up with it. AND I'M DOING IT. I'm cleaning, washing, folding, sweeping...I've even cleaned out the litter box and folded AND PUT AWAY the laundry.
Because I just can't stand to do anything else.
So, my conclusion? Yeah, I might be able to eek some work out while my house is a total destruction zone. But in order to be truly productive? In order for my Creative World to reach its full potential? I apparently need to have my Real World in line.
Which I kind of find to be a cosmic joke. The universe's way of torturing me. Because now that I'm being ultra-productive and want to do nothing but bury myself in my writing, I'm spending a great deal of time focusing on beating my Real World into shape. Every second I spend sweeping or folding or washing, I'm thinking of my projects and how badly I want to be working on them. And every time I sit down to work, I notice something else that I simply must take care of before I dive back in to my writing.
Yet somehow, I'm accomplishing it all. I have no illusions that this will continue. But man! I love it when these little spurts hit me. For a few brief moments, everything in my life is working. Projects are getting done, house is clean, kids are clean and clothed, and all is right in both my worlds. These moments don't last long, but I try to enjoy them while they are here :)
How about you? Can you focus on work when things are a mess? Are you more productive when everything else is in order? And do you ever find yourself on this ultra-productive kicks where suddenly everything is getting taken care of? How long do they last? I'm already bracing myself for the fall :D