Keep an organized desk.
“No! My creative clutter! If I confine my million pieces of paper to notebooks or folders, or if I force my books onto shelves, or if I know where everything is…why, what kind of writer will I be?!”
A saner one.
Recently, I went to Staples and I bought this giant cube. That’s not really what it is, but it’s what I call it. It’s a square shelf with 3×3 square compartments. I forced my husband to put it together because I was sure I’d end up throwing it off the hill we live on. It is one of the best investments I’ve made in months.
You don’t have to go all out, but figure out places for things. It makes such an awesome difference when it feels like you can breathe again, when there isn’t a mound of receipts or to-do lists or low-carb cookbooks taking up your writing space.
My recommendation: make it a goal of picking up at least one thing every night. One single paperclip. One single sticky note pad. Find a place for it. Then get back to work.
If your desk is a real disaster area, there is another last-ditch idea. Grab a shoe box. Throw it all in. Stick it under the bed. I recommend against continuing this habit, though — if your bed is anything like mine, those boxes are going to disappear. They may even make friends with vagrant pests.
Don’t have time? Make some time.
I also recommend toys. I love having things to pick up and reminisce over when I’m stuck on a piece. Currently, my monitor is bordered by a set of Lord of the Rings figurines. They are both on horseback: the Nazgul and its steed, Gandalf and Shadowfax. They make me think of my father, and that makes me smile.
And don’t call my a hypocrite; I always know where my toys are.