Thursday, August 17, 2006

Creative Writing: The Creative Workplace, Part 1

Last time, I talked about clutter in your work space. However, I didn’t talk about another potential source of distraction—decorations and knickknacks.

If knickknacks reach the point of clutter, it’s obvious what you need to do. If you don’t want to rid yourself of your precious possessions, you need to at least move them to another place, preferably a space completely out of your sight.

At the same time, it’s impossible to make too many sweeping statements about the suitability of decorations in your workspace. It’s too individual. For one person, a fish tank in their office might create a relaxing and creativity-inducing atmosphere. For someone else, that same aquarium might provide a constant ballet that keeps them away from their keyboard. I myself have a daily “Bad Cat” calendar that I should remove from my desk. I constantly use it to distract myself. For another person, like my non-cat-loving husband, it wouldn’t even be a blip on the screen of his consciousness.

So, the best advice I can offer is this: take stock of your workplace, not just the clutter, but also the décor. If you find that one or more items consistently pull you away from your writing, remove them. It’s painful, but you have to do it. Who knows; it could mean the difference between have a great idea…and having a book for sale at Barnes & Noble.

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