Messy is the New Creative?

I was thrilled to read a new study showing a causal link between working at a messy desk and being creative, because I can use it to rationalize what I’ve always considered to be a major personal failing. I’m not a slob – I’m a writer!

messy deskOkay, I might be both. On a scale of one to ten, where one is a pigsty and ten is Buckingham Palace, let’s just say my office is an “oink.”

magnetThis is not a cleanliness disorder. My kitchen is neat. My living room is neat. My dining table is so clean you could eat off it.  And honestly, I try with my office. Every month or so I make a real effort to clean up. Once I even de-cluttered far enough to see the actual faux oak surface of my desk. (I’d forgotten it was that color. Maybe I have a legitimate reason for keeping it hidden.)  Anyway, within a few hours the mess was back – mail, post-it notes, and empty cans of diet Dr. Pepper drawn like iron shavings to a neodymium magnet.

But now!  Now, I know that being messy can actually enhance creativity. I mean, if a few minutes at a cluttered desk can get a bored research subject to choose a “new” vitamin boost over “classic” or to choose a chocolate bar over an apple, then think what my years of writing in squalor can do for my novels.

So what is your working space like? And if you occasionally make an effort to straighten it up, do you see any impact on your creative processes?

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One Response to Messy is the New Creative?

  1. Sharon Paton says:

    I am good about my work space. I will shove everything into a plastic bag and chuck it into another room! There, cleaned my desk! My spare room somehow had gotten a number of bags, but every once in a while I go through them and make wonderful discoveries! I forgot I bought that! Oh, that WAS a good book, let’s reread it! So I get double the fun. Bills are in a different area entirely, so no worries that I’m hiding that!