Friday, February 13, 2009

Purging

By Kristine John

I made the decision early on in the moving process that I would carefully purge everything that we were moving.
I further vowed that not only would I purge as I packed, but also I would purge as I unpacked.

I've now been in my home for two weeks (hallelujah!), and there are still a myriad of boxes to be unpacked.
Yesterday, as I was moving the boxes in my bedroom for the 3rd time (once to organize them after the movers, once for painting, and again to the outer walls so we could walk easily into the room), I had the thought, "Why don't I rip all of these boxes open, dump everything into a pile and just be done "unpacking"?"
The thought was tempting.
It would be a great feeling to have every box unpacked.
However, I know that I would shuffle portions of that huge pile off into recessed corners, closet tops and hidden areas of my home, and I don't want to live in disorder again.

I have without hesitating, thrown away (or marked for give-away) 2 trash bags (and sometimes more) from each room that I have unpacked.
It feels so good to keep only what I love and what is special to me and my family.
It has already been a positive enough experience, that despite the fleeting thoughts, I am still committed to unpacking in a way that is orderly and measured, in a way that will result in the end result that I truly desire.

I thought of how this relates to writing, and quickly saw a number of parallels.
1) Purging from our drafts is critical. Sometimes it takes a fresh eye to see what needs to be thrown out, but final copy is always better when some of the excess has been purged.
2) Sometimes, in a desire to be finished, we dump unwanted things into our writing and commit to look at it later, leaving us slogging through junk in the end.
3) By keeping the end goal in mind, we can make it through the frustrating and difficult times and maintain the level of writing we want.

Writing is a process.
We all know that.
Keep that in mind as you focus on your next work in progress, and embrace the parts of the process that ultimately bring you to your desired result.

3 comments:

  1. Great analogy, Kristine! I am getting prepared to move...and trying to get started on my book project at the same time. I am finding piles and piles of info...unorganized...some pertinent to my project...some just "stuff" I thought I might use someday...sigh...I need an objective 3rd party to help me let go of some of it! Thanks for the positive words!

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  2. How right you are. There is a world of difference between a well-edited manuscript and one where too many favorite passages have been saved because there was no heart in "purging."

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  3. It's amazing how much we can give up in our writing when we turn an objective eye to it. I sometimes smile to myself when I read a line in a book that doesn't really fit but obviously the author loved it.

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