Emotions tend to get the best of people and it tends to be the hardest thing to control when it comes to having dreams. Recently I was sitting down, and enjoying my hot chocolate and simply writing. What I used to do was write for twenty minutes in the morning and then I would start my day. I was committed to this and wanted to enjoy each second I was able to in my writing. Things changed, and it was not in the way I expected. While I had passion for my writing, I had lost the drive to continue. What allowed my creativity to flow was the one thing which began to hold me back.
I am by nature, on the surface at least, a tidy person. I like seeing a clean room and it gives me the moment of relaxation that I need. I like having the ability to see where something is anywhere on my desk at anytime. I have a small moleskine journal for notes, and an old phone which I’ve had for years on my desk. It looks, by all appearances I am organized and neat. On the surface. When you look into a drawer anywhere in my house, however, you will find a different story. I could cry every time I sit there and think about cleaning. I could howl in frustration at the mess of a closet in my room. I suppose, if one could argue, it is a room of one’s own, but as much as I love the surface things, I don’t want to look in drawers or closets or anything because I know how it looks right now.
I was reading the book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo, and something struck me.
I’ll be blunt, I was being a surface person. Great ideas, poor planning, looking at what was in the past, and not making room for the future. I wanted big bright and shiny. I was the person who would run headlong into writing something only to get frustrated in the middle, complain, and lose passion. I am the type of person who needs the passion, and internalizes a lot of things when it comes to being a better person. It took a while, but this month I’ve been asking the question “do I want to continue this way?” For a bit, my answer was… yes. Stopped you for a moment didn’t it?
Let me get to the point, to be passionate and creative you need to be organized, and not on just the surface. You have to want to open a drawer and grab a pen, and not feel you “have” to clean the darn drawer yet again. You have to know that in the computer your novel is listed and labeled as something you can find easily and quickly, and you have to want to print it out. Part of writing has a lot to do with your emotions and your environment, and if deep down you aren’t happy with either, there will be problems.
Look at that first paragraph if you will, and you’ll notice there is a lot of past tense in it. It’s not a happy picture. It’s as if someone has given up, and can’t find a way back. The true was that my surface emotions are pretty relaxed but bit by bit I was pushing myself harder, and getting more frustrated and disorganized, and in turn becoming less passionate about my own writing. It seemed I was basing when I wrote upon how I felt that day. I had a vision, but not a plan. I might, if I really pushed the idea, had a set of goals, but these weren’t defined.
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Not only that, but I have to admit, deep down the clutter was okay because it was always there. I would keep everything neat and tidy, but that was on places that people would see, and as much as I felt good about cleaning, deep down I wasn’t happy. I also didn’t want to admit to myself that as much as I enjoy the art of writing, my life, my creative life outside of writing was stressful. Most certainly people will tell you that I looked happy, but I wasn’t.
If I wasn’t happy what would passion and creativity and cleaning below the surface mean?
Here’s the most important aspect, I looked inside, and as I read this book, it slowly began to make sense. I needed to go back and fix things. I needed to clean not only the surface but go deeper. Going deeper is hard work, just as writing is hard work. The part is that if you only want to skim the surface of anything it’s very easy to make you feel you’ve accomplished something, say a 500 word blog post, but in the end, you’ll end up feeling like what you did wasn’t what you wanted to do.
The first step is the demolition part of it all. I will need to put things in their place, and keep things I need to keep and not binders of unwanted and unneeded things. A few garbage bags will do. I’ll be taking the advice of the book, and go with my writing as the first category I am cleaning up. It’s similar to a New Year’s Resolution, it can be done, and will help me become more passionate about my business. This is only the first step.
Next is to do it. The action, the motion, the grabbing garbage bags and going through and finding out what can be tossed, recycled, donated or kept. Tidying up this way can give me a new perspective on what I want to writing. One could even say it’s a minimalist lifestyle, and I tend to agree.
When I mentioned this to my partner, that I was tired of stuff, and I wanted to downsize, it was a look of disbelief. I’m pretty sure we’ve been running on empty for a while, not just emotionally, but in health and happiness. It makes me think about what being creative and willing to be more minimal and more focused will do for this creative being. Thankfully my partner is ever supportive, although they do think I am a bit zealous about the whole thing. I have to convince them that this isn’t a fad, or something which will fade away after a bit.
What it does mean is it is more time to write since everything will be at my fingertips, I won’t need to worry about the millionth pair of socks which have holes in them, and I will have books I love and want to keep as well as movies and a far more creative lifestyle. This came about because of writing, and because of interaction with other bloggers such as Jordana, from the House of Muses. She is an excellent creative business woman, and she has strong views on the minimalist lifestyle.
When I suggested that passion and creativity go hand in hand, I knew it takes a lot more than simply saying you will do something, but rather it’s time to start it. In this case, it’s taking a moment, a day, or a week to create something vastly different than what it was before. Goals are wonderful, but building a foundation is far more important. If I want to be passionate and creative I need to redo, and cut out, and begin with a different life.