Let’s just agree … writers (like other creatives) tend to be disorganized. Somewhat messy. Maybe a lot.
We often allow clutter to surround us. Are you writing? Creating something? Do a 360 and take a look around.
The price we pay is a breaking of our focus. This leads to procrastination and under-achieving.
“When your environment is cluttered, the chaos restricts your ability to focus … Clutter makes you distracted and unable to process information as well as you do in an uncluttered, organized, and serene environment” (Erin Doland summarizing the results of a Princeton University Neuroscience Institute study)
Our mistake is that we accept it: “It’s my inner artist that makes me this way”
Honesty is always the best personal policy of course. I admit … I struggle with this.
A mess is a form of the “RESISTANCE” that Steven Pressfield has dealt with. It’s self-sabotage. Good writing is resisted. But if we’re authentic, we’ll acknowledge that most of our resistance is self-activated. We somehow bring it upon ourselves.
Clutter is a stress-inducer. And stress is a creativity-killer.
Albert Einstein said there are 3 rules of work: “Out of clutter find simplicity; From discord find harmony; In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity.”
Jeff Goins says there is a clear relationship between our mess and our message:
- Bringing your message or story to others does not begin on the page or on the platform. Frankly, it begins in your personal world. At home. The study. The desk. The kitchen. The computer. Be ruthless with horizontal surfaces! Goins says the “relationship between clutter and creativity is inverse, the more you have of the former, the less you have of the latter.”
- We even need to work on de-cluttering our writing! Work within boundaries. Do more with less. Establish deadlines and stick with them. In writing, say more with less words. Attention is at a premium. Those with “the fewest, most important words win.”
Ideas to move on …
Consider simple action steps from Jeff Goins:
- Limit your distractions. Shut down your email, phone, and social media tools for blocks of time. Force yourself to focus on one thing at a time.
- Regain control of your inbox. Clean up your email, getting it down to a manageable amount. Zero, if you can.
- Clean up your desk. Pitch stuff you haven’t used in months. Your workspace is important.
- Throw away magazines and newspapers you have no intention of reading.
- Find a relatively clean space to create. This is different for everyone. But your writing space should not induce stress. Even sub-consciously.
Find any horizontal surface. Hit it hard for 10 or 15 minutes. Clear it. Keep it clear. And then move out from that space into your personal environment.
Resolve that you will not give up the “ground” you take. Kill your mess before it kills your art.
Q4U: Are you grappling with clutter and disorganization? You’re not alone. What small step(s) can you take right away to initiate good momentum?
More: See how clutter increases stress, steals focus, fuels procrastination, costs you time and money, and keeps you from living in the present … 7 Ways Clutter Is Ruining Your Life (via Fast Company).
Questions? Want to get in touch about your project?