Some work best in disorder, with apparent chaos ruling. Some need order, pattern and habit to produce their best. I belong to the ‘clear desk’ brigade. Not from any notion that chaos is generally undesirable or disruptive, but because my memory isn’t good enough to cope with the randomness of a disorganised way of living. I spend too long looking for things if they’re not more or less where they should be and I find odd piles of things in my workspace distracting, since I know they form reminders of required future action.
I don’t have to have a pristine workspace. In fact, I find such an environment decidedly unwelcoming and sterile. But I do need to be in some sort of control and to know what is where, and why.
Over the past few months, I’ve been moving from a bungalow to a house, from a town I’ve lived in for fourteen years to a village I’m growing to love. It’s meant that ties with both place and people have been cut in a physical, if not a virtual, way. The familiarity of surroundings has been disrupted so that much remains unfamiliar at present. This is no bad thing spiritually, but it does interrupt my ability to create. Added to this personal disruption has been, of course, all the practical changes that come with a move to a new home and a new location. It’s meant that I’ve done little real writing for some time.
It may seem strange that I’ve also elected to change my old blog, a fairly successful series of posts that’s gathered 267,671 pageviews as I write this post, for a new and different website here on WordPress. But I like ‘new starts’, and moving home, settling into the place I intend to spend the rest of my life, seems as good a time as any to develop a new internet presence that will eventually better suit my needs and, hopefully those of my readers.
But I’m a writer, not a web developer, not a technical wiz, not a geek. So, this new project has also been something of a distraction from writing, and promises to be so until I can get to grips with the new ways of working.
One of the series of posts I produced fairly regularly on Blogger was a monthly summary of how my time had been spent and what I’d achieved. I record the necessary information using a spreadsheet, and there’s good reason for doing this: it illustrates exactly how the time is used and acts as motivation to set and stick to priorities. February was the first month I’ve been able to continue this idea and the chart accompanying this post is a visual representation of how the time in my study has been spent. Whether I continue to make public this information on a monthly basis is, as yet, uncertain. But I suspect that, human nature being what it is, I’ll continue at least as long as the trend appears to be going the way I wish. I’m a writer, as I said at the beginning of this piece. That means I should spend the majority of my time writing. And that’s both my wish and intention.
Work on the new home is now tailing off towards jobs that can wait until I feel ready to do them. There’s no longer a sense of urgency about alterations and modifications to make the place our own. Most of that basic change has been completed. There are still things that need to be done, of course: we all want to make a new home reflect our personalities, hopes and dreams. But that element is now a longer term desire rather than the initial urgency of ‘moving in’.
Today starts a new month and, in meteorological terms, the new season of Spring here in UK. As I said before, I like new starts and this one promises to bring about real change. I look forward to the coming months and years with hope and joy. My view through the new study window gives me reason for such optimism as I gaze out at a varied world of trees, ever-changing sky, birds, and half hidden homes peeking from the steep sides of the valley that is our new home. And the sun highlights the contours, contrasts the shadows cast by trunk and branch over fields and gardens, homes and the village church. Yes, a place where I feel at home. A place where I will do some inspired writing.