Clutter and creativity

The impact of our environment on our mood can be both profound and subtle at the same time. Clutter nips away the free flowing form of creative though, nagging at our muse. How does this affect us as writers?

Sometimes what’s going on the outside mirrors what’s going on in the inside. I tend to think in brainstorm fashion, too often letting thoughts explode outward into thoughts which splits into more thoughts and so on and so forth. This wreaks havoc with plots.

We also allow clutter and distractions to take away from the central focus of writing. While striving towards a more organized office, I found many of the same tips touch upon the same helpful information for the cluttered mind.

A messy desk, disorganized files and folders, and the myriad items creating havoc in our work spaces only lends to choke the creative flow. I can’t tell you how many times I can’t find the file I did research on just last week, or where that little piece of paper went to.

Everything must have its place. This means every item have their own specific place,  often set in an ‘area’ assigned for a specific function. Once you’ve established an item’s place, its amazingly simple to clean and stay organized.

Writing requires a certain degree of organizing with plots, character biographies, and basic planning. I often write out chapter-by-chapter outlines, providing me some guidelines to write with while I weave a story. Without plotting, the story meanders with every stay idea that pops into my head. An outline keeps me going along a path towards my destination.

Do you need it? Do you want it? Does it make you money? This phrase, my niece used when clearing out the house of clutter, asking each family member those questions before removing the item(s).

This works for writing as well, where you ask yourself does your story need it? Are the words and description necessary to moving the story along? Do you really want it in the story? How important are those words to the story?

Does your writing make you money? I ask this question separate because a number of writers I know give their writing away too often. Eager to see their stuff in print, they opt for self-publishing or simply giving it away to anthologies or magazines just so they can say they are ‘published’.

Don’t cut your writing short! If you find other people read your stuff, like it, and ask for more, your stuff has value. Although I’ve given some writing away, blogs for instance and fanfiction, the free stuff offers me insight with feedback. Now I also recognize the value of making money from writing.

Cut the clutter. Most published authors mention the power of editing your work. Clutter in writing includes useless adjectives, overused metaphors, and lengthy descriptions.

There’s something to be said for how you write can be organized the same way, placing words as they are needed. Editing cuts the useless clutter marring up the manuscript, while sometimes wording properly can make a paragraph into something sleek and efficient. Ideas packed into streamlined fashion more than make up for cluttered blithering.

Tips I’ve found along the journey-

Tips to Cut the Clutter this article packs tips that really strike me as profound- only because I’m guilty of them.

Writing Simply but Effectively includes more useful tips on cleaning up your writing.


2 Replies to “Clutter and creativity”

  1. I definitely think that there is a lot of value in uncluttering your space. I think that having a clean space helps you to have a clear mind which is a great starting point for creative writing. I also think that there’s something about the actual process of going through clutter, straightening things up and getting rid of what you don’t need that somehow has the power to simultaneously clear up what’s going on in your mind so that you can articulate yourself better on the page. Congrats on the new shelving!


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