Creating order from chaos

The purpose of this post is two-fold. First to show off my new bookshelf, which I made – myself – (from a flat-pack). Finally all my Agatha Christie books are out of their box and on display!


I must keep reminding myself that this does not mean I now have the space to buy new books. I’m just barely managing to find space for the books I already have!!

Secondly – whilst making space for this new bookcase, I’ve been thinking a lot about ‘order’ and ‘organisation’.  I can’t help but wonder…

Is my disorganisation a symptom of my creative nature?

I’m not by nature a neat and tidy person. Some groups on Facebook charitably call it ‘hanging things up on a “floordrobe”‘, but the truth is I’m just a bit of a slob. I’m not saying I thrive on chaos, but I’m usually happiest when I have several things on the boil at one time. Not only several writing projects, but several different craft projects, and reading multiple books at once… It’s a bad habit I inherited from my father – I dabble in things, and flit between them rather than focusing on one thing for a long period of time. Sometimes, with everything else I’m doing, making sure something mundane like housework gets done is not exactly a priority.

This is not ideal and I’m working on it, I swear! I write endless ‘to-do’ lists (and sometimes cross things off them!) I have a whiteboard on which I write reminders of competition and publication deadlines, topics I want to blog about, and other important things I have to do…

I was encouraged recently when I started reading John Curran’s analysis of Agatha Christie’s Secret Notebooks. It turns out that Mrs Christie (who my regular readers will know is one of my literary idols) also dabbled in chaos… Her notebooks have none of the order and method that was so prized by her best-known character, Hercule Poirot. Instead it seems that she would just open the nearest book to the first blank page and begin to write, regardless of what else appeared on the page before (or the page after!) In her Autobiography she wrote:

Of course, all the practical details are still to be worked out, and the people have to creep slowly into my consciousness, but I jot down my splendid idea in an exercise book. So far so good – but what I invariably do is lose the exercise book. I usually have about half a dozen on hand, and I used to make notes in them of ideas that had struck me, or about some poison or drug, or a clever bit of swindling that I had read about in the paper. Of course if I had kept all these things neatly sorted and filed and labelled, it would save me a lot of trouble.

She went on to note that very often by the time she found the notebook again, she would not remember what she originally meant by the notes written within (not surprising given how illegible her handwriting was!) but that usually it stimulated her to write something different instead.

This gives me hope, that maybe my lack of organisation is not going to hold me back as a writer…but it won’t stop me trying to improve.

Categories: Books, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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One thought on “Creating order from chaos

  1. Pingback: Book Review: Agatha Christie’s Secret Notebooks | Musings of an aspiring scribbler

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