Okay, time for a dose of spring fever. In my household that usually means the kitchen cupboards get a bit of a hammering and the pencils get sharpened, but this year I’ve decided to go a step further. My desk and my filing cabinet are going to receive The Treatment. Very belatedly, I admit. They are so stacked with papers that I am frightened to do more than ruffle the surface pages. Don’t want to cause an avalanche.
My favourite place for ‘filing’ the stuff I am not yet ready to consign to the twilight zone of a drawer is on top of my printer. The cat loves it up their, preens her whiskers with her little snowdrop paws and looks exceedingly pleased with herself as the pile rises steadily up towards the ceiling.
It has got to the stage where I lie awake at night, mentally emptying the wretched cupboards, binning the equivalent of half a forest for recycling, and starting afresh with a landscape of empty surfaces and sparkling drawers. In my mind’s eye I polish each one to within an inch of its life, take a vigorous toothbrush to my keyboard to extract the ginger-biscuit crumbs and the snippets of incriminating Lindt Easter egg, and I even imagine placing on my desk a single bloom in one of those stylish Swedish vases – far away from the cat. A white tulip does it for me.
Decluttered. Destacked. Delighted.
Hah! Now I shall write my book with ease. Because that’s what this is about. The writing. It’s ALWAYS about the writing. About finding ways to make it happen. About deluding oneself with little tricks and clever devices that make the process seem easier. I know one writer who makes copious lists of very single tiny thing in the book. She only feels ready to start her writing day when she has compiled at least one new list to pin on the vast noticeboard that swamps a whole wall of her study. While another author writes her chapters by hand in an A4 book, filling only the lefthand page, leaving the righthand one for notes to herself about characters and plotlines and reminders to check things. When the content of the righthand page exceeds that of the lefthand page, she panics and flees to a darkened room.
We all do it. Find ways to trick our minds into releasing the words that are chained up inside there. So today I shall be on my knees, beeswax and binbags in hand, confident in the fact that tomorrow, at my spanking clean desk, I shall speed through the chapters faster than my cat hoovers up my ginger-biscuit if I am foolish enough to place it even for a moment on the desk.
On the other hand …. I could forget the whole desk thing and dig out the final section of my chocolate Easter egg from the back of the cupboard where I’ve hidden it. Because another wise author swore to me that she had read in a scientific journal that chocolate, like green tea, is perfect for getting the brain synapses sparking or popping or whatever it is they do.
Hmmm, a difficult choice. Spring fever is making me feverish. I shall have to lie down ….