Writing is more than just sitting at your computer and typing; that much is clear to all. But what many people don’t know and is hard for writers to explain is that it requires special conditions just like any other creative job. Even though creative mess is a term we all use when trying to explain the clutter around our house or desk, sooner or later it eats our ideas and spreads to our minds. Let’s try to change that with these ten reasons why organizing your space will help your writing.
1. Fix what’s broken
Imagine you are locked in the idea. You’ve been going over it in your mind, figuring out the best way to approach it, and every time you start writing, the desk wobbles. It’s been doing that for a while and you’ve been planning to fix it but just never got the time. And there, at that moment, you start being annoyed with the desk and yourself, and that thought you wanted to write down is either lost or clouded by your annoyance. So don’t wait any longer to call a repairman. There’s writing to be done!
2. Clothes belong in closets
You look around and notice that your home is hijacked by your clothes. Clean or dirty, they are everywhere, and you start feeling suffocated, as though all those clothes are covering your ideas. So get up, take that laundry basket in one hand and start shoving in dirty clothes with the other. Every piece you clear out is one idea set free in your mind.
3. Gather your notes
Writers often scribble something. Of course computers replace that writing process, but some habits die hard and writing down on paper what pops into your head, at least for most, remains. After a while, your notes are all over your desk, and you can’t even tell which one is which. Searching through stacks of paper for the idea you need is like looking for a needle in a haystack. Take some time to review and organize those notes—it will be like reviewing and organizing your thoughts.
4. Dust and vacuum
Dust and dirt are on this list because they’re just bad. Crumbs here, a handprint there—those are all the signs that your living conditions have turned from messy to unhealthy. So, the minute you hit a wall, start vacuuming and dusting. Soon enough that wall is going to crumble one writer’s block at a time, and it’ll be as if you’ve just dusted your mind.
5. Change the curtains and covers
One of the perfect ways to refresh a space is by changing the curtains and covers on the sitting furniture. Choose bright colours, but not too vivacious or in a shade you’re not that fond of. Reviving the appearance of your writing space will broaden your perception and it will be as though your brain has taken a breath of fresh, mountain air.
6. Let the sunshine in
Sunlight is considered to be the cure for many troubles of the mind, and it’s the same when it comes to writing. It will certainly broaden the space and set a brighter mood, not only for writing but also for just sitting there and thinking.
7. Take a look at your furniture
After a while, your home is overpacked with furniture, and you only really notice it when lost in thought about something you’re writing and you start stumbling on your furniture just like in silent black and white comedies. One of the solutions for decluttering your furniture is by placing it in storage until you finish your writing. If you have more time on your hands, select the ones you need and the rest either donate or sell. Walking around the room and thinking is proven to be good for creativity, and now you’ll have enough space to stretch out your back and thoughts.
8. Replace the light bulbs
Just like working on the computer is not good in the complete dark, neither is working in a bright room. That is easily solvable by replacing the light bulbs with full spectrum ones that emulate sunlight. If you can’t change the bulbs, consider turning the bright lights off and using lamps instead. It will not only reduce eyestrain but also provide a relaxing writing environment.
9. Open the windows
Letting the fresh air in from time to time will boost your energy and revive your spirit. Stale air inside your home can make you sleepy and tired due to the pollutants, like carbon dioxide that we all exhale while breathing.
10. Limit the distractions
Not all writers work at their desk; some feel more comfortable in the kitchen or living room, for example. Every space has its own distractions that can prevent you from thinking clearly when you look up from your computer. Whatever the obstacle may be, take care of it. If the dishes are dirty, wash them; if there are cup stains on the coffee table, clean them. Don’t let anything that can be taken care of in a few minutes be a distraction. Remember that you control your writing conditions, not the other way around.
Writing, like any other job, requires focus and dedication. If your mind wanders to the stack of magazines on the table, smiley faces you left to yourself in the dust, rain stains on your windows—sooner or later you’ll notice that you’re wasting time reminding yourself to declutter the mess. Until science comes up with a machine that writes our thoughts down directly into the word processor program, you’ll have to organize your home in order to clear the way for your writing.
Helen Bradford is a business and interior design enthusiast who currently works part-time as a consultant for Supercheap Self Storage Solutions in Newcastle. She spends her spare time doing fitness, traveling, and writing.