One day I came home and found all the things I’d managed to hoard for the last twenty-three years slathered across my desk, my floor, and my bed in various states of disorder.
I didn’t feel empowered. I felt like a shitty housekeeper. We’ll even throw in a barely well-balanced human.
Clutter is not your friend.
And your muse? It’s a well-known fact that SHE ISN’T HAVING IT most days, so why give her the chance to show up at your door, peer in, and run screaming for the recesses of your brain, never to be heard from again?
Not only is that counter-productive, it’s also dangerous. Us creatives—the bookish ones in particular—need to have established our own personal brand of order to function properly in our environments.
You want a better writing day? Try doing what I did.
1) Pick up some flowers (and if that’s not your thing, get a plant).
I’m telling you: living plants give off creative energy. And as cute as your cat may be, it’s either concerned with sleeping or thinking about sleeping, and I don’t think it’s conducive to productivity flow.
Now maybe you’re like me and you live in a basement apartment, therefore you think you’re more likely to kill said plant than start up a successful indoor garden.
Here are some remedies:
- Do your research (that’s what I’m doing now)
- Get outside
- Buy some fake ones in the meantime (I did do this).
For example, I’m obsessed with hydrangeas, so I went to my local dollar store and picked out some pretty (and fake) blue ones to arrange in a vase that I also bought right then and there. I brought them home, did the arranging, and put them on my desk. Now, I’m so obsessed, I make sure my desk is always clean so they’re best showcased aaaand I love taking pictures with them, making them a constant focal point for me.
2) Get rid of the stuff you don’t need
My friend Amanda had been on this decluttering kick a la Marie Kondo, and while I totally respected her decision, acknowledging the idea was sound, I WAS NOT IN THE MOOD. I didn’t think I’d ever be in the mood.
But, see, that’s the tricky thing about clutter. It’s generally toxic, but it seems really pretty or really useful or has “sentimental value” and then you don’t want to throw anything out.
Well, friends, two days ago, I emptied my closet of anything that didn’t make me feel absolutely beautiful. I got rid of over 50 books, worn out jewelry, sunglasses with awful scratches, crappy bras, holey socks… you name it, and if it didn’t serve a purpose anymore, or if I was so embarrassed it still existed somewhere in my room, I kicked it to the trash bag.
The air is cleaner. The floor is clear. My mind is soothed.
Take stock of what you don’t use anymore, and still hold onto, and get it out of your space!
3) TREAT YO SELF
Okay, I’m serious though. Listen, I know what it’s like to live paycheck to paycheck (I’m living that life right now). I eat and breathe by a budget, or have been since I fell into the credit trap most 18-year-olds are warned away from (of course, I still graciously fell into that pit). I learned from the budgeting best: my anxiety-ridden single mom.
But here’s the problem with the ensuing logic: you guilt yourself into never indulging yourself, and, like with a sudden food binge, you fall off your meal plan in a BIG WAY.
You’ve got to stop doing this because a) you are worth the occasional splurge and b) you can be responsible with your money and still have a hot money life.
Test my theory out: set aside a hundred bucks this month, if you can (so $25 per week, but feel free to reduce as needed). Don’t put it into a savings account. If you’re worried you’ll use it in your checking account, take it out in cash. Keep it in your bedroom. Don’t think about it.
Next month add another $25 from that first week. And then take stock: are you in desperate need of a manicure? Maybe you’re feeling really strong and confident in your body and want a new pair of jeans? Or instead of eating takeout for lunch, you’re in the mood for a nice solo sit-down meal and a glass of champagne (it’s slightly healthier than wine, friends).
My point is:
You’re an adult (this probably won’t have context for you otherwise), even if you’re a fledgling one like me. And you’ve probably been working really hard, hustlin’ to pay those bills, so go reward yourself every once in a while! Enjoy being an adult.
If you’re taking more time out to enjoy your life in the day-to-day, you’ll find that it’s easier to get into a creative headspace. You’ll feel more of that sense of freedom rather than restriction. And you’ll be inspired by a refreshed space and new experiences on top of all that.
Take a minute to empower yourself. You’ll find there’s less baggage to weigh you down when you sit down to the keyboard.