Clearing the Mental Clutter

I have a clutter problem lately. I'm not talking about the problem of physical clutter (though I've always struggled with that one as well) but the host of worrisome thoughs that crowd in when I try to rest or write. This clutter problem affects not only my writing, but my health, so I'm making a pact with myself to deal with it proactively.

Current Denizens of the Realm of Worry:
1. Son graduating next week. Gifts to be wrapped, house to be cleaned in anticipation of the visit of the relation who notices and comments upon each dust mote.
2. Bills due. Gotta pay 'em. (Boo!) Run to bank to deposit forgotten check. (Yea!)
3. Where the heck is that economic stimulus check already?
4. Brand new deadline with scary target date and careening plot.

Notice how the writing-related challenge comes at the end of the list? That's what worry does for me. It shuffles what I love (but still have to treat as a job) to the bottom of the deck. The other stuff still has to be dealt with, but I can't even give the story and characters mental real estate if I don't do something about the everyday penny-ante issues that are cluttering my mind.

The Action Plan
1. Start the day with a twenty-to-thirty-minute walk. While walking, plan, prioritize, and think about the next scene to be written.
2. Write a blog post, which for me functions as a morning journal. Today, I'm making mine work for me, since I'm writing down the clutter so I won't have to carry it around inside my skull. Making a list of reasons I can't possibly write trivializes them.
3. Eat sensibly. Cut down on caffeine and refined sugar. Watch the highly-processes carbs, too. And eat three meals a day instead of grabbing whatever and getting gunk on the keyboard.
4. Ask for and accept help where possible. Enlist husband and kiddo to run errands and help with household clean-up.
5. Check off some of the list items each day, but keep daily writing a high priority (except on graduation day!)
6. Work on the stuff I can control. Hand over to the universe the things I can't.
7. If overwhelmed at any point, take five minutes to play with dogs and dole out tummy rubs. It's hard to be stressed in the presence of wagging tails.

There now. I feel so much better.

Anyone else have tricks to share for clearing the mental clutter? I could use to add some to my arsenal.


Joni Rodgers said…
Gofightwin, Colleen!

An intense week all the way around. You've got a good strategy. Good dogs. A good man. It's doable.
Thanks! Meeting you for coffee and sane reality (as opposed to Colleen's Neuroses) talk is one of my very favorite stress busters.
Bonnie Vanak said…
Congrats on your son's graduation, Colleen! I say go celebrate and don't pay the bills, lol.

And big congrats on the new deadlines, woo hoo!

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