The Mistake We're Making When We Think Our Surroundings Don't Matter

Your writing desk is telling you something about yourself. Is it the message you *want* to be sending? |

Writing seriously for about ten years now means that I've written in basically every possible situation.

In crappy motel rooms and gorgeous hotel suites and cozy b&bs. Crouching on staircases, or in weird back corners. On trains. In boats, planes, and cars. Sitting on a curb, a park bench, a porch, a rickety lawn chair. In concert halls and airport terminals and dingy hallways. 


That's one of those great things about writing, right? Our material is everywhere, inspiration can be any place we choose, and our necessary tools (a pen! a notebook!) are super portable.

We can write in any situation. Any environment.

And while that's super, while that's great, while that's an extremely useful skill to have, I've been making this huge mistake about it.

I figured that: Because I can write in any situation and environment, then my main work environment doesn't really matter.

Meaning: I wasn't putting all that much thought into the way my writing desk/office area looked.

I keep my notes vaguely organized (kinda sorta), and most of my pens and markers make their way into some mugs I have for that purpose--

It isn't an ogre pit, is what I mean. But I also haven't made it a very big priority.

And then I came across the Beautiful Living website by Rebecca McLoughlin. I started devouring her blog posts, especially this great series on spring cleaning and what it means to edit your space. (Not decluttering, but editing. Read about that. It's genius!)

And I had this revelation.

See, she talks a lot about how your space reflects a certain image of yourself and your life back to yourself. 

So you have to look hard at your space and say: do I actually like or agree with this version of myself? Is this the direction I really want to go?

(Think about that a sec. It's a really big deal. All the stuff we have around ourselves: it's all SAYING SOMETHING. Crazy, right? But it totally is!)

I looked around my work area with new eyes after reading her posts. And I asked myself:

Is this the Lucy Flint that I want to keep being? Is my writing space pointing me in the direction I want my writing to go? Is it clean and fresh and inviting? Does it feel both cheerful and yet professional? Does it stimulate my imagination and beckon crazy-amazing stories out of me?

Um, NO. Basically just a lot of no.

It wasn't awful. But it wasn't remarkable.

So this week, I've done a total overhaul of my work area. 

  • I went through my bookcases and found 95 books that I was hanging onto but didn't actually like or want to reread! WHAT?? Ninety-five! That's a freaking lot of books! I pulled them out and now all my favorites (and I still have a lot, so don't worry) have room to breathe.
  • I cleared out all my desk drawers and cluttery spaces. I got rid of the dried up pens and crappy pencils and broken supplies. I recycled this huge cascade of papers that no longer mattered. 
  • I made a ton of decisions about what to keep and what to get rid of. (If I ask myself "Do I need this?" I can always think of five very compelling situations where I'll NEED that thing. And then I don't get rid of it. But when I switch the question and ask: "Can I throw this away?" I tend to think, "Yup, I can definitely live without that!" Isn't that funny? Reframing the question totally changes my response. SO FREEING.)
  • And I'm coming up with ways to add more beauty and imagination and quirky creativity to my space. Artwork that inspires stories. Beautifully lettered quotes that get my mind spinning. I've been exploring this awesome catalog of free desktop backgrounds from DesignLoveFest. Totally fun! I'm planning to add some flowers in a great vase. I'm gonna find a gorgeous candle for crying out loud.

I still have more to do before my space is as inviting and stimulating as I'd like it to be. But I'm SO glad I took the time to really look at it and make changes!

I can already feel more mental energy and creativity surging around in my mind. Every time I walk over to my desk, I feel this inner leap of happiness. 

And THAT'S a great way to approach another day of writing!

So what about you? How's your writing area looking?

Can you get rid of anything that's holding you back or reflecting an old version of your writing self? Does anything in your writing space remind you of feeling discouraged or un-confident? Bleh!! Get rid of it!

What would happen if your writing space reflected your most brave, inspired, and delighted writing self back to you? What would that even look like? What kinds of tools would you have? What trinkets and what artwork?

Grab some time today to make a few changes. Kick out the crap. Bring in some beauty. 

The rest of your writing week is already jumping up and down with excitement.

Want a few more ways to shake up your Monday? YEAH, you do. 
Read this post to get inspired to have a little dance party of one.
Tell perfectionism to take a hike.
And use your obscurity to get, you know, super-duper awesome in every way.

It's gonna be a great week, lionhearts.