Is Clutter Wrecking Your Creativity?

Does your study or studio ever get to the stage where the clutter stops you from working?

Are there books and papers piled so high on your desk, you can’t see your computer?

BusyIf this has NEVER happened to you, please share your secrets 🙂

But seriously, it’s not just the physical clutter that stops you from creating.

It can also be the mental clutter … the kind that goes on inside your head and your heart.

Recently, I co-founded KidLitVic2016, a conference in Melbourne in May attended by 160 delegates, 11 publishers and 1 literary agent.

We had talked about running a conference like this for a while because there was nothing of its kind in Melbourne.

Logo_no_lamp_text_sampleI came up with the name, KidLitVic, set up the website and Facebook Page. My partner set up the business name and bank account, and we were off and running.

In the 12 months leading up to the event, my inbox overflowed with conference emails, and my mind was full of tasks, meetings, websites, content development, media campaigns and all the other associated detail that goes with organising a conference.

KidLitVic2016 was an amazing experience. I loved every minute of it. I loved spending time with all the authors and illustrators who came. I loved meeting all the wonderful publishing professionals, and I loved seeing people walk away from the conference feeling like they had gained something and it had encouraged them and helped the with their careers.

But during that time there was little room in my head for much of anything else.

It made me realise just how important it is to make space in your head in order to create.

I don’t know about you, but I find that mental clutter is the hardest kind to get rid of – and it’s what most hinders my creativity.


Here are some things you can do to clear your mental clutter:

  1. Take a break from social media.
  2. Make a list of all your deadlines and things you have to do. That way you don’t have to store all this information in your head.
  3. Set up smart inboxes for your emails, so you can put aside those emails that don’t require your immediate attention. Just do a web search for “how to set up a smart mailbox” and you’ll find heaps of useful sites.
  4. Take a walk – there’s nothing like fresh air and movement to free your mind.
  5. Set aside free time for just being. Allow those creative ideas to come sneaking back.
  6. Go away on a retreat … away from all the things that are cluttering your mind. You don’t have to go far and it doesn’t have to be for long, (a granny flat in the backyard will do) but it does help create room for new ideas and inspiration.

After the conference was over, I was not only inspired by all the fabulous people I had met and the things I had learned, I also had free space in my head to immerse myself in my own work again.

If you have some tips on how you free the clutter from your life in order to create, I’d love to hear them. Please feel free to share them in the contents section of this post.

Happy writing 🙂



6 thoughts on “Is Clutter Wrecking Your Creativity?

  1. Ah Dee, if I could find my keyboard on my desk, I’d write something profound 😉 It’s funny just today I was reworking a PB manuscript thinking, haven’t I reworked this version already – and what did I do with that! Yikes! This post is a good prod up the proverbial!

  2. Thanks Tania,

    That’s the thing with clutter. It builds up before we even realise it. But so great for the creativity once it’s gone:)

    KidLitVic was very special for me in so many ways too.

    Dee x

  3. Yes. I hate a messy desk and try to keep things to a minimum on the top, but … WHY does the current manuscript, it’s accompanying binder, and all the chapter folders, as well as assorted notes and photos all have to crowd on the desk at the same time? Really, I will not forget them, if they patiently wait their turn in the file cabinet or on the binder shelf! They probably live under the assumption that I will need them all at once and they are being helpful. I mean, how can I possibly write anything if all I see is blank space on the desk, with just a few pens and a printer for company?

    I don’t have as much trouble with mental clutter, but I do get a good case of Mushy Writer Brain from too many hours writing. I need to learn to take regular breaks.

    This was good. Thanks.

  4. These are all good points, Deborah,

    I think I’ve had a dose of Mushy Writer Brain before.

    And yes, that’s what I do. Think I’ll need every folder and file related to a manuscript so I get them all out, but of course, I don’t need them all at once.

    Thanks for sharing 🙂


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