Do you need mess to be creative? Is a tidy mind an uncreative one?
It’s a bit like the old writer’s division between those who plot meticulously, ’plotters’ And those who write as it comes, by the seat of their pants, called ’pantsers.’
Most writers fall into one or the other of those categories. Most plotter s squirm at the thought of not having a plan. While more pantsers claim a plan would stifle their creativity.
Equally, I think most people naturally fall into one of two camps on the tidiness and clutter front.
Confession time I’ve always been a bit of a hoarder, old photos, certificates, special clothes, books, so many books, and more prosaic items like pens, and notebooks and glass jars.
Recently I read a book* which not only explored how to deal with your clutter but also what your clutter meant to you. What was your clutter trying to tell you?
One of the insights which shook me was that clutter was not just physical the stuff that you can see, but also mental. Mind clutter includes those random thoughts, of fear, procrastination and even thinking about your clutter.
Delving deeper the reasons for our hoarding make more sense. Those things from the past, the old photos, certificates, or yearbooks They all speak of past achievements and reflect our fears that we won’t achieve more.
Old clothes, some are precious memories, no one is suggesting you get rid of your wedding dress! But others may make you feel bad when you look at how slim you were way back then. We are past the era of make do and mend you know you won’t ever wear them again, but they are taking up mental as well as physical space.
Then there are the clothes that you bought that you have never worn, because you bought on a whim, maybe they are aspirational clothes for a life you don’t lead. They too are clutter, no matter how much they cost.
Paperwork, I am sure that it multiplies in dark corners and for a writer, paperwork can easily accumulate. As I speak I have three shelves filled with random paperwork. Some I know are notes from workshops I attended. Others are multiple hard copies of stories that I have re-drafted or edited. Just looking at it overwhelms me. I know why I don’t want to clear it what if I discard a gem? What if there is a brilliant idea there and I trash it?
But I have no idea what is there and if I need anything I spend ages trying to find it. So, there it is, this month I am making a commitment to tackle my paper mountain, one shelf at a time. Shred, file or simply toss.
Your turn now what does your clutter mean to you? Safety blanket, comfort, mess?
Disclaimer I do not know the author, I have not been paid to endorse the book it is simply my opinion.
*Note the book that I read that made a lot of sense was What Your Clutter is Trying to Tell You by Kerri L Richardson.