You Can Have A Messy Desk

If you can’t trust a skinny chef, then I don’t trust a writer with a minimal desk with nothing on it but a laptop and some index cards.

The published writers and credited scriptwriters I know all have a degree of their mind laid out on their desk. A corner of clutter, or a pile of books or manuscripts to be read, or particular pencils or pens they like, crowded into an old mug. The desk is another writer’s tool and it is almost sacrosanct with its ordered chaos.

I trawled through images of writer’s desks today, and I am sure many of them were cleaned up for the photos, or the desks of the long dead were staged to look like Jane Austen never had a cup of tea stain on her handwritten pages.

My scriptwriting partner has a desk that is part chaos, part order, just like her brain. Two screens, and another computer for administration, plus index cards stuck to the wall with various scenes written on them in mismatched ink, next to posters of her movies attached to the wall, alongside pictures drawn by her little boy. She also had pens everywhere. And I mean everywhere. I mean, on every flat surface is a vessel filled with pens.  I find it comforting. I think better with a pen in hand.

I write with her, she at her desk. me on the POÄNG armchair which is ridiculously comfortable, my feet up on an an old office chair.  Next to her overflowing bookshelf. We talk, I type, she makes us coffee, and we work through the script.

Lunchtime comes around. She had things for us for lunch, because she’s organised, and I am not. We eat, go back to the work. I type, we talk it through. Then before I go, I sent it to her for the curation.

This is how we work, and it works. Then I come back to my desk, to work or write, or wonder why it’s so cluttered, and should I clean it up.

But cleaning my desk is procrasination and I recognise this fact so I don’t clean it up. I just put it into piles of disordered order, and keep going.

That is really a metaphor for my life. Piles of disorder and still going.

Is that such a bad thing?

I guess what I’m trying to clumsily say is, don’t get caught up in the procrastination. Just keep going. Too many rules in the writing space can mean too few risks are taken on the page.

Be brave. Don’t clean up. Start writing.

*Above is my desk. And yes, that is a back scratcher. A must have tool for those working from home!






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