Cleanliness is Next to Writerliness

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 . . .

About Linda W. Yezak

Author/Freelance Editor/Speaker (writing and editing topics).
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7 Responses to Cleanliness is Next to Writerliness

  1. Linda, I’ve missed you!
    I’m sorry you’re having a trying time with family members needing to be cared for on a daily basis, but you seem to be holding up well and taking this time of not writing in stride and letting God guide you.
    I’ve not written since early 2017 and like you, have no idea when or if the Lord will open that door again. I miss it, but I want what He wants for my life.
    I think of you often – every time I see the sweet little armadillo I won in that drawing you did. I’ll keep you and your family in my prayers.
    Hugs and Blessings,


  2. ceciliamariepulliam says:

    I have discovered with my last birthday that I don’t have the same energy I had a year ago. Now I have to take sit down breaks between physical tasks. So unlike me! I’m now using organizing apps to keep from performing marathons that leave me exhausted. The scheduling app actually spaces out my tasks farther than I’m inclined to do, which is smarter. Writing is now one of my sit down breaks. I get to write for an hour before I get up and tackle my next physical task. 🙂 Rather than doing less, I find I’m getting as much done as back when I had seemingly unlimited energy. Back when I could clean the whole house before noon, then write, paint, run errands, work in the yard, ,exercise, and cook, all before dinner.

    Stress is tiring. It’s natural for your energy levels (and creativity) to decrease. Once things settle out, I’m sure The Muse will be whispering in your ear again. We are looking forward to your next endeavor, whenever that happens. God bless you. Hugs!


    • Can’t believe I missed this. So sorry to be only now responding.

      I love the idea of organizing apps. Right now, everything is timed around going to Mom’s to take care of her. Now that I have someone to cover for me in the evenings, I have most afternoons to work in, but you’re right. Stress is amazingly tiring. I have to fight the “don’t-wannas” on a daily basis just to do the basic stuff. Sigh.

      Anyway, God bless you too, sweet Ceci. Hugs backatcha!


      • No worries! Glad to know I’m not the only one who misses things. 😉 Besides, you have a lot on your mind (and To Do List) so you have a very good reason to miss a few things. Replying isn’t as important as taking care of your family (and you, when you can.) God bless and hold you close as you navigate these rough waters. Hugs!


  3. Catherine Snyder says:

    I have been missing you and Billy.
    I sat on the same pew as you both for the last year . I tried calling but I did t have the right number. Always loved talking with you both .
    I saw your post about Billy. Praying for you and hope to see you soon.


    • Catherine,

      It’s been a rough year, but I think we’re coming to the end of it. As soon as Billy gets his appetite back and builds up his strength again, we plan to return. We miss everyone and the fellowship.

      Thank you for checking on us.



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