Messiness: Sin or Salvation?

Just as Susan learned not to pay attention to the “pieces,” she learned to make her messiness work for, rather than against her. She works better with a messy desk, so she lets her desk be messy.

Keeping order takes so much time and energy for her that she’d get almost nothing done, if she demanded that she was “ready” and her space “neat” before she began. Instead, she has notes on the backs of envelopes and scrawled on magazines stacked around her as she begins to write. And she has learned not to worry about missing a piece of paper here or there. She has learned to tell herself, “If it’s gone, it probably wasn’t that important. If it was important, the paper it was written on doesn’t matter. The idea is stored somewhere in my head, even if I don’t know where now. It will come to me when I need it.” And most of the time it does. Or, she can look it up again later.

Before she begins working, Susan has too uncertain an idea of what will turn out to be important to bother fussing about a missing “bit” or two. She can’t outline. The work will flow, if she lets it. And worrying about order or neatness or missing bits when one works this way is always a sure waste of time.