Tag Archives: cleaning house

The Bend in the Road

They say that change is constant. The only constant we have.

They also say that chaos moves to order – and that one day the universe will succumb to entropy.

Entropy: a hypothetical tendency for the universe to attain a state of maximum homogeneity in which all matter is at a uniform temperature.

In my house – my personal tendency towards entropy leads to chaos not uniform order. So much for Cosmology!

Over the course of the last year my writing has changed. In form, structure, and content. I thought I had more control over this than apparently I do – so it took me longer than normal to figure out I wasn’t obeying my first rule of business… Fail Faster!

When something doesn’t work – try something else.

I didn’t get here by myself. It took my best friend – who’d been holding her tongue for months – to say it out loud. “You gotta kill Emma.”

I don’t know if that is really what she said but it is the summation of her intent. And I did it. I killed her. Wrote a nice Emma-ish goodbye on her blog and walked away from the majority of my publishing history. You see, Emma wrote sex, and sex sells. I, well, I write crazy children’s poetry, non-fiction articles, and 3-Day Novels – and I’ve made more as me than I made as Emma – but Emma wrote fiction that sold. We’ll sold for a while.

I need to stop mourning Emma and just get on with it.

Emma is Dead! Long live Emma!

So, what now?

I’ve been asking myself that for days now – and gotten some flack for how I’m dealing with this change. I’m a plan person – I feel uncomfortable without a plan. And not just a “What shall I do today plan?” I need a today plan, project list, all of which fit into a 5 year plan. Emma had one – and now I need one.

  • My writing friends said – just write!
  • My friends said – just write!
  • My Sig-Fig said – Just WRITE!

My best friend said – do what you need to do.

She knows me best.

When change happens, disappointment, or failure physiologists think of fight/flight or avoidance activities – but two woman researchers wondered about that. When things went wrong in the lab their male companions would escape to exercise, home, drink, et al. But they wouldn’t leave. They would stay in the lab and organize, clean and talk. Eventually – after much research – this behavior was labeled Tend & Mend. It is typically a female trait – and really, think about it – incredibly advantageous evolutionarily. You don’t want Moms running off and leaving the source of their stress behind – the screaming child for example.

My working style is messy – I create chaos around me – piles of books, research materials, mail, crap, random cords from peripherals I no longer use

– you get the idea.

I’ve found that when I find myself in a blind alley – or under crazy stress from projects or deadlines – I clean my office. Silly I know – and probably you could label it a form of procrastination (many people I worked with did) or avoidance (really some of my coworkers thought I was mad) but I go though the piles and somehow by organizing my physical space, simplifying the clutter, and throwing away what I no longer need – I clean and air out my own head. Suddenly there is space for the work – the writing – and best of all for the joy.

Now I just started – the desk was the priority since the arrival of my Mac nothing worked well ergonomically – and there is much more to do. I don’t even want to think about the closet – but it has begun and I feel so much better.

I have no idea what is beyond the bend in the road. But I’m starting to feel like I can handle it. I’ll figure this out…and the next thing…and the next.

So hear is a picture of my beautiful new writing environment!

Inspiring, don’t you think? Best of all no more neck pain from looking up at the monitor! Back to the job – I have a short story to get submitted today.

~ Just Tess



Filed under Writing

Day 1 – Singing Cole Porter

Yes, it is a bit later than I usually begin writing for the day – but this is a different day.

I spent last night reading Kat Richardson’s book Poltergeist. A nice Urban Fantasy that takes place in Seattle. Night and morning, I didn’t go to bed until 2:30 am. Then, wouldn’t you know it, I had insomnia. Both the “I can’t get to sleep kind” and then the “I can’t stay awake kind.

So I tried for 8 hours and almost got it although not the bet 8 hours of my sleeping life but they will have to do. Today is a busy day. Today is day one of my planned 4-day focus on re-writing/working my novella.

We shall see how it goes.

So far I’ve picked up the kitchen and my mess in the dining room and moved everything that was scattered all over the floor of my office into the closet. The good thing – there was space – which wasn’t true when I started this project three weeks ago. Granted things are simply in boxes and still need to be looked at and either filed away or tossed but a dent has been made and from here on out it should be easier.   

Okay, that maybe wishful thinking… but there it is.

Time to get more coffee! Would you believe that I did all of the above with only one cup?

So here is the plan.

To marinate in my story for four days until it is something worth sending out my readers/editor and then spend the last part of the week doing minor surgery and clean up for a May 1st deadline.

The story has its moments but needs quite a bit of work. There are only two things outside of my story universe I have to do (sorry Brian celebrating your new job isn’t one of them but congratulations and have fun tonight).

Other than those two things I’m all mine!!!!

If you are dying of curiosity they are a gymnastics meet and seeing a friend who is coming in from out of town.

Wish me luck!

~ Tess

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Filed under Writing