Okay, so you got your Book of Secrets started. You wrote your story and identified themes and stuck spots. You probably then, got a little stuck. (Like I have been, now that I sent off my latest novel.)

This is the time to purge clutter.

Clutter weighs us down. It distracts. It smothers. Whenever you are on a creative roll, clutter calls out from the corners, “Here I am. You can't really focus until you deal with me.” Clutter is the spawn all those unfinished projects, abandoned hobbies, and good intentions gone lazy that we accumulate in life.

Clutter is a problem. Dealing with it is never pleasant. It means facing up to all of the above, and often our Shadow (from Jungian psychology) takes up residence among our clutter: that gift from an old boyfriend that we harbor secret thoughts about. That Stairmaster that we took about 15 steps on before we decided to embrace love handles after all. That expensive juicer (like WAY expensive) we bought for when we were going add more nutrition to our lives. Etc, etc.

Hoarder alert. Clutter has a way of spawning more and stifling creativity.

This week, pick a clutter zone. Could be as small as the “everything” drawer in your kitchen, or as big as your bedroom closet. Take all your angst, stuckness, frustration with being creatively blocked, and ruthlessly get rid of everything you haven't used or worn in a year.

Everything you're having trouble letting go of, put in a box and label, CLUTTER. Put it in the secondary clutter spot (at our house, it's the garage) where clutter makes one last stand before it leaves the house. Stack the boxes in the Almost Out the Door area. If you don't need the item and get it out, you won't remember what's in the box.

In six months you deliver the box, unopened, to your favorite charity.

DO NOT plan to have a garage sale or put things up on E-Bay instead of dealing with them- in fact I think those two intentions often make clutter a permanent part of your life, because who EVER wants to do those things? Instead, try this box method and let me know how it goes. And if you MUST, plan to open the boxes in six months and have a garage sale with whatever is in them, on the day you open them. Period. End of story.

After you deal with your zone, sit down and check in with yourself. See if there isn't a major amount of psychic and psychological creativity freed up.

This weekend I'm tackling my poky writing corner, with plans to relocate it to the hardly-used guest room. That will be my reward for tackling the dusty piles of old manuscripts, nameless binders, teetering piles of newspaper and magazine articles and stacks of old software CDs that have rendered my writing area a stifling mess. I'll let you know how many boxes I generate.

Give it a shot. You've got nothing but useless crap to lose.

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