Saturday, February 24, 2007

Brain Clutter

Do you find you have to have things around you JUST SO before you can comfortably dissertate? I usually dissertate in my bedroom, where the feng sui is best. Today, due to a set of circumstances not worth going into, I'm dissertating downstairs at my dining room table. Before I could even think of writing, I had to change the tablecloth, clean up toys, straighten and de-lint a sofa cover, and generally de-clutter. I even had to wipe off the kitchen counters and sweep the kitchen floor, even though I can't see them from where I'll be sitting. I would be able to see them in my mind's eye.

Some would identify this as an age-old procrastination technique used by undergraduate and graduate students alike, but I really think there's more to it than that--a sort of boundarylessness that exists between the psyche and the outside world. Does this make me an ego-maniac?

There's an ice storm going on that's been raging since last night, and it's supposed to turn into a down-right blizzard this afternoon--12 inches of snow are predicted. This means my husband doesn't have to work today, which means he can watch the kids, which means a writing day for me. Thank you, Mother Nature!


elle said...

this sounds just like me!

Abby said...

Totally. My mother calls this "productive procrastination." I know, in some ways, it's procrastination for me, but in some ways it just allows me to focus. Brain clutter is exactly right.

Suzanne said...

When I sit down at the computer and suddenly 'need' to do a million things, I just write them all down, and then I'm allowed to forget about them.

Or I just go to the coffeeshop, so I can't see the piles of clutter. It's nice to have that option.

liquid distance said...

This brain clutter thing is exactly one of my dissertation's deadly enemies. Even though it is sometimes "productive", as in cleaning around or going out for a swim, it won't let me do the writing. I find suzanne's advice might work but I don't think I could ever finish writing down all the stupid song lyrics that come into my head.