How Important Is It?

Wednesday, February 20, 2019
Not my office. No actual person is that neat, y'all.
I have something to tell you but first I need to ask you not to throw paper clips or pens or a tape dispenser at me. I just feel like you’re going to want to throw something office-related at me and even though that stuff can’t come through the wide, wide web, I’m pretty sure I’ll feel the vibes. So take a few calming breaths…ready?

I have two offices.

I know.


If it makes you feel any better, I used to share an office with Mister Man and that was awful. We practically had to work in shifts, just to keep the peace. And then one of the Junior Halls finally moved out and I confiscated the desk and three bookcases in that room and used that space as an office. And then Mister Man up and died and so his office was empty. I didn’t like hanging out in there at first, but you know, it’s a really nice office and way bigger than the upstairs office. So yeah, I got over the heebie jeebies and I sorta moved his stuff out and now, I’m happily ensconced in the spacious office with the big desk.

But I didn’t move all my writing stuff down to my nice, big office. Basically, I brought my laptop. And as I’m ‘fessing up here, you might as well know that it wasn’t long before I sorta abandoned Precious the Laptop to the upstairs office and started using Mister Man’s sparkly new laptop.

I know.

I KNOW. It really is an embarrassment of riches (and after Precious has been so good to me!). But the point is, recently I decided to clean out the upstairs office and make that a bedroom again (because remember the whole bed thing?). So, I thought, I’ll just move anything important down to the big office. And here is where that title question comes in because every time I opened a drawer or tackled a book shelf or pulled out a binder, I asked myself, “How important is this?”

Honestly, that question floats around in my brain when it comes to just about anything in my life these days, but I suppose that literally, I said things like, “Why in the world did I make hard copies of every single thing I ever wrote?” (P.S. That’s where the binders came in. And P.P.S. There is A LOT of bad writing in those binders. Now all that bad writing has been transferred to an itty bitty flash drive.) Or “Look at all these boxes of different business cards! Did I ever actually give out my business card? (Well, yes, but more often, I forgot my cards. Or I changed up info so often that cards were outdated.)

That’s just the tip of the office iceberg; I’m still cleaning up and tossing out. And as I go, I’m constantly berating myself. Why did I waste so much time on stuff that wasn’t important? Because after every hour of clean-up, there’s very little that ends up in the nice, big office.

And you know what else? I don’t always work in the nice, big office. Turns out, when it comes to the important things in a writing career, all you really need is a bit of time, a good idea, and the discipline to write. (And a reliable laptop and wi-fi. We’re not barbarians, people.)

~Cathy C. Hall


Joanne said...

Cathy, I loved this...both for the message and the style. Thanks for reminding us to ask that question: Is this important? And how important is it? I think I'll schedule another office cleaning here, with those questions top of mind.

Linda O'Connell said...

When I read your posts I feel like we're sipping sweet tea in your kitchen. Good ideas and discipline don't always coincide, but I force myself to scratch an idea or write a line or two. Mainly because I have come to understand that I cannot remember what it was unless it's written down.

Cathy C. Hall said...

J. Glenn, glad you enjoyed it! And P.S. I also ask that question when I'm sprucing up the inbox on my laptop. I figure if I didn't bother to read an email after three months, it must not be very important to me! :-)

Hahahhaa, you made me laugh, Linda, about the good ideas! What I should have said is any old idea will do if you're disciplined enough to work at it. Though if I'm being honest, some ideas should be tossed from the get go!

And yes, it's the same for me, writing down ideas. Lots of notes to myself. And I have come to understand that one word is not going to be enough to jar my memory. So not so much notes as long paragraphs! :-)

Pat Wahler said...

I do think there's something to the adage about the bigger the purse the more things are stuffed into it. Same with an office! :-)

Margo Dill said...

I love the caption of your photo. I was about to think maybe you weren't a real writer. :) Glad to hear your office is NOT that tidy.

Rose Ann Sinay said...

Being a bit of a pack rat, it's difficult to keep my office uncluttered. I've actually written from a comfy chair where I can see into my tidy room. It relaxes me more than being in it! Thanks for reminding us--it's about the writing not where we write!

Debra Mayhew said...

This made me laugh because number one, your voice is so authentically, wonderfully you that it doesn't feel like I'm reading. It feels like I'm listening to you tell a funny story. And second, I laughed because I saw myself this. You wanna talk about binders? We have two GIANT binders downstairs that are filled with notes I wrote to Nathanael in high school. (Talk about bad writing. Ugh.) But I do like to save a hard copy of everything too. I know I shouldn't, and hopefully when some of the junior Mayhews move out (sniff!) I will find myself following your lead and tossing what's not important. And I have the feeling that's going to be a LOT.

Sioux Roslawski said...

Cathy--I'm glad that office that's pictured is not yours, because it doesn't seem to have the same heart and soul I imagine your actual office has.

Yes, if I said, "I can't write until I have a true office," I'd never write. Just like Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young sang, "Love the one you're with," we have to write in the place we have. It might be on the couch or at the kitchen table... as long as we write.

Cathy C. Hall said...

Pat, I've never heard that, but it's SO true!

And Margo, no, I'm not that neat or organized. As I'm typing this, I'm looking at a dead plant on the desk and thinking I should do something about it--but knowing full well that's not gonna happen anytime soon. :-)

And Rose Ann, I know what you mean! I can remember going into one of my kid's elementary classrooms and wondering how in the world the kids could concentrate--there was stuff EVERYWHERE!

Was thinking about you just the other day, Deb! TWO binders of letters?! I took everything I got from Mister Man and made a copy of it. It fit on one piece of paper. :-)

And yes, exactly, Sioux!

Lisa Ricard Claro said...

This was great! I read it and it was your voice (yes, literally YOUR VOICE, not just your author voice) I heard in my head. Loved this. And that question---how important is it?---is in and of itself an important question. The problem, of course, is answering it!

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