Friday 5 February 2021

Decluttering the Creative Mind

My last blog was about de-cluttering my work space in order to create an environment with the physical space and calm to be creative. This post is about the much more difficult task of decluttering the mind, in order to give you the headspace and clarity of mind to allow your mind to wonder and imagine, and be creative.

After I had decluttered and created a clam creatively freeing workspace, my productivity went up. I was able to concentre and not get distracted by the chaos around me, and actually sit down and create and write. It quickly became my heaven away from the uncertainty and madness of the outside world. This allowed me to develop, research and write the first draft of my new WIP.

However, increasingly despite my lovely workspace, I’ve been finding it difficult to focus, my mind wonders off, from the task in hand, to what’s on the to-do—list, to ‘I really must do the meter readings’ to ‘it’s soing-so’s Birthday coming up, I must get a gift sent’, to ‘ophs! Better clean out and freeze the snail eggs.’ But it’s not all mundane adulating stuff. But its book stuff too, like; ‘which cloning technique should I choose for the cloning of the mammoths in my books’, ‘what should an elephant-mammoth hybrid be called?’, ‘Oh NO I need to learn about permafrost’ and ‘what was that character’s name again?’

So my brain is whirling and getting distracted, plus my dyslexia means I have a terrible short term memory, so sometimes I start a task and instantly forget what I’m supposed to be doing. This phenomena, is much worse when my brain is busy and chaotic.

There was only one clear course of action to remedy but busy brain, and that was to declutter it. This means mostly being organised, and recording all the information somewhere so, that I can relax because I know it is safe.


Annual Stuff

To get all this boarding but essential stuff out my brain, I set about creating to-do-lists. I have annual (and longer intervals) recurring things to remember list – with all the yearly things, like taxes and insurances ,epi-pen renewals, passport renewals noted down. So this done of excel and all printed on one page, so it’s easy to check.


I have seral to-do-lists, my main one covers everything personal and family related and is in the form of an excel spreadsheet, which I update and print out weekly. I then at the beginning of each day mark out which tasks off the to-do-list I’m going to do that day.

These things ensure that mostly I keep on top of the boarding day-to-day tasks and means they are not all clambering about in my mind shouting for attention.


General Writing Tasks

For my general writing tasks, I have a specific writing to-do-list, which use in the manage competitions, submissions, blog posts, meeting and alike.

Keeping to task

I have an another spreadsheet called ‘Keeping to task’ this where I plan my daily tasks for my project, like the amount of words I’m going to write, or the chapters I’m going edit or what research I’m going to do, and where I can mentor if I’m track to get the tasks done and project finished by the deadline. This helps my brain from panicking about if I’m doing enough work and whether I can complete the project in time.

Research & World Building

Research and world building is imperative for writing, especially fantasy of science fiction, or STEM based books. You ned to ensure the rules of your world work, and that any facts are correct – they’ll always be someone who notices and get annoyed with you if they’re not correct!

One of my favourite parts of writing is feeding my brain, and nourishing my creativity with research. However sometime it overwhelms my mind and it becomes too full to work.

So in order to de-cutter my brain of all the details of my world, and all the research facts, I do three things.


I visualise characters and places my doodling them.

Visual display

So it is easy to access while I’m working I create a visual display of my WIP. I know many other writers use notice boards, but as we are in lockdown, and I don’t have a noticeboard, I was forced to be innovative, and I fashioned a display with paper and poster hangers (stolen from my teens room shush don’t tell!) and keep adding essential information to the board as I go along.

The Notebook

My current project probably has the most research of all my writing to date. This is largely as it is a stem book based on real science, which means I have to get it right! It also meant my brain was very quickly full to brim and having issues processing the information, and having enough space of latent thinking and actually committing words to paper. So I decided to create a book, a bible or encyclopaedia of my WIP.

In the book, I have the pitch, the note of where the inspiration came from for the story, and character profiles, reach and world building. I’ve also typed out everything and printed and then stuck it in, this is largely so I can read it , and much of the time I can’t read my own writing due to my dyslexia and dyspraxia

This has been a really positive activity. It’s meant that by organising the information, it has also filed it away nicely within my mind. Plus I’m reassured that all the information is safe, and I won’t forget anything, (quieting my brain) and also serves as a point of reference whenever I need to check anything about the world of my book.

All in all, downloading the information that was whirling in my brain screaming for attention, and therefore de-cluttering mu mind, has really helped. I’m much more relaxed, and I feel I have the mental space and capacity to think freely, be creative and crucially productive. I’m no longer so exhausted, or ending the day feeling that I’ve not achieved anything, as I can plan my actives and keep track of what I’m actually achieving.

So although the process of de-cluttering my brain as long and tiring, I feel invigorated as a result, as I’m back to writing which is what I love.