Within days of finishing the rough draft of a book, I always rearrange my office. I’m not sure if it’s a seasonal thing and only coincidental, or a ritual I’ve fallen into like putting lighter covers on the beds in spring, or cleaning the silver before Thanksgiving.
I totally rearrange my office at the beginning of each spring and fall. Two books a year. That’s my norm. While I rearrange, and work myself into a two or three day frenzy of cleaning, window washing, and dusting of skirting boards, it seems I’m also doing some heavy thinking about the next book to be written. Meanwhile, the rough draft does a simmer. I enter the discovery stage of the new project, and then I put that aside to do a rewrite of the rough draft. It’s a plan that has worked well for me for quite a few years.
Back to my office rearrangements, the sun hits on the front windows in the hot desert summer months. I’m subjected to writing with the blinds closed for at least half of the day. If I put the desk against the cooler interior wall my back is to the entrance, and that’s bad feng shui. Who wants to draw negativity into the writing place? Not me! So, I follow the shade. Generally, during the summer the desk is nearest the window that opens onto the path that leads to the front door. It stays shady until late afternoon. And that aspect is considered positive. In the winter months I position the desk in front of the middle window overlooking the street. Again, that is another positive position, and I capture the warmth of the winter sun.
Something strange happened this year. My current book is still a work in progress. Still! This book refuses to be finished. The writing of it keeps getting interrupted. Somedays I feel like I’m drowning in edits, galleys, promo and marketing of other books, and life. Part of me hates this book. But when I do get a small amount of writing time and go back to the manuscript, I end up loving it again. This is the longest time I’ve ever taken to finish a rough draft. By my calculations, this one should have been finished in rough draft at the beginning of spring.
Would you believe, right on schedule, I rearranged my office at the beginning of October? However, everything felt wrong, even though I had finally been able to get my head above water and could see that I had a six week window to get some work done. I could not settle into the writing at all. I couldn’t figure out if this meant I should scrap the fifty thousand words written and start something new, or continue on with the WIP. This weekend, I put the desk back into the summer position. The rule, a new one just imposed, is that it must remain like that until the damn book is finished. Guess who is writing again?
What about you? Do you have seasonal rituals that surround housework, like spring cleaning, pre-holiday cleaning? If you’re a writer, does the arrangement of your office always have to remain the same? Do you like to rearrange the furniture just to shake things up a bit?