I’ve written a little about decluttering and a lot about time management in the past. And this stuff is important, because the number one reason aspiring writers maintain day jobs is because they simply don’t have enough time in a day to write.
I think if I did a study on how I spend my day, the activities taking the most time would be taking care of the kids and going to work. But after that, it’s cleaning and picking stuff up. After that, probably writing and sleeping. And every now and then, my wife and I are able to squeeze in a minute or two to talk.
But back to cleaning and picking stuff up. We were at a pretty nice antique mall the other day. Don’t worry; we didn’t drag four kids through a packed and crowed antique mall. It was just us and the baby.
But here’s the interesting part. No matter how much I may enjoy browsing through old toys and games, and hoping I stumble on an unopened booster pack of Unlimited Edition Magic: The Gathering, there is nothing there I would want to take home.
My wife’s been this way for a few years, so my big revelation isn’t really anything new for her, but for me the trip to the antique mall told me one thing: This is the stuff I’m trying to get out of my house, not bring more into it.
And get of stuff is really something we’ve been doing for a while. My CDs have been imported into iTunes and sold (even the rare Pink Floyd imports), my DVDs have been liquidated. The remaining AD&D books are on ebay right now, and my PS2 games are slowing working their way to ebay as well. Oh, and my house is also (thankfully) a comic book free zone.
So what does any of this have to do with writing? Indirectly, not a lot, I suppose. But here’s the thing about stuff:
You don’t own your stuff. Your stuff owns you.
I know that sounds crazy, but hear me out. We spend SO much time cleaning, and if not cleaning, then rearranging stuff to make room for more stuff.
How much of that stuff sits in boxes and only comes out when you need to reshuffle the boxes to make room for more boxes? How much of that stuff will ever be used again? How much of that stuff was even used in the first place?
Your time is precious. And if you have to waste it taking care of things that don’t really mean a lot to you, and thing that have no practical value in your current life, then they need to go.
And if having some boxes stacked in your closet doesn’t seem like it’s that big of a deal, ask me about how much fun I had moving ten long boxes of comics not once, not twice, but three times.
And what about clutter? It may not bother some people, but it drives me nuts. And I can’t write when I’m nuts. Especially if I bump into something and knock it down every time I turn around.
So while stuff management, isn’t necessarily writing-related, it is sanity-related. So cut back on the clutter, get rid of the stuff, free up your time, free up your living space, and get to writing!
Does stuff get in the way of your writing? Leave us a comment and let us know what you do about it.