One of my favorite authors, Deborah Raney, told her Facebook followers how she does her best “thinking/plotting/brainstorming” while she does her household chores. She’ll stop in the middle of something to race to her computer and write that word she’d been trying to think of or add in a “great line of dialogue.”
I remember that. I remember being doubly productive when I was at my busiest. And I also remember riding a wave and ignoring the house entirely. I made sure we were properly fed and our clothes were clean. I’d remember to shower–most of the time. But the house? It could wait.
However, during those times when there were no waves to ride and the writing seas were calm, nothing could kick me into gear faster than cleaning the rungs on the dining room table. Probably because I hated cleaning the rungs on the dining room table and would do anything to get out of it. But it’s true. Menial tasks allow your mind to wander. Personally, mine wanders better if I don’t have even music as a distraction. When I hear music, I want to sing along, and my brain becomes flooded with lyrics instead of plot development. So I can promise you audiobooks are out. No point listening to someone else’s successful novel while I’m trying to write my own.
These days, for reasons already explained in this blog, I haven’t been writing much at all. I’ve been editing clients’ manuscripts, which has proven to be my solace during hard times, but I haven’t been able to write. And since I haven’t been writing, I haven’t been keeping the house as clean as I once did. Okay, admittedly, finding a clean house at my address was hit and miss at best, but at least there were times when the whole house was clean all at once.
You would think that now I’d have the cleanest house in the neighborhood. I really do have a lot of time on my hands, and housecleaning would be a better use of that time. Canning season is sporadic this year, and it’ll be a while before jelly fruits come ripe, so I ought to be doing something worthwhile, don’t you think? Something besides reading and gaining weight while I wait for one of my two patients to need me.
But now, I’ve rediscovered music and audiobooks, and I’m thoroughly enjoying myself, at least in that realm. I play with the idea of writing full time again. And it’ll happen. I think. God willing. And once it does, I’ll happily spend time cleaning the rungs on the dining room table while I try to think of that word that keeps eluding me or that plot twist I need to develop.
Or maybe I ought to start cleaning house first, then trying to write. If cleanliness really is next to writerliness, I wonder if it matters which order they come in. Hmmm . . .