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How to Clear Clutter and Write by Rochelle Melander

17 February 2015

Note From Rochelle

Dear Writers,

I made the mistake of going on Facebook before writing this morning. Oops. I was immediately hooked by several news stories unfolding around the world. Then my phone rang. And the dog wanted me. I eventually worked on revising my novel, but a part of my head was still out in cyberspace.

Has that ever happened to you? If so, you might appreciate today’s tip on how to clear the clutter from your life!

Happy Writing! Rochelle, the Write Now! Coach



A few weeks ago, I took two days off to work on revising my novel. But my office was a mess, my son was still home on break, and I had details for future work that needed to be attended to. Guess what? I had trouble focusing on my book because I didn’t have enough free headspace to think about it.

If you have trouble letting go of worries and focusing on writing, try these tools:

1. Clear physical clutter. I have too much stuff. Maybe you do, too. It’s hard to think big thoughts when we’re dealing with straightening, cleaning, and arranging our junk.

Try this: Take a look at your living and work space: what could you let go of that would open up space and give you more room to think?

2. Dump brain clutter. Most of us hold a good bit of information in our heads—events to attend, people to connect with, work and home tasks to do—you get the idea. While we might get to our desks, we have trouble focusing when there’s so much on our minds. We need to clear out the brain clutter.

Try this: Each morning or evening (or both), jot down all of your worries, thoughts, and tasks. Just get it out of your head and onto paper (virtual or tangible). If there are tasks to complete, add them to your schedule so you know when you’ll complete them. THEN, dump the stuff you don’t want to do. If you don’t want to attend that committee meeting, cross it off your list. Doesn’t that feel better?

3. Automate decisions. Several years ago, I read a book by Dr. Oz that recommended automating one’s meals—eating the same rotation of healthy foods to avoid temptation  Anytime we can automate our decisions—what to wear, what to eat, when to write—we free up brain space to think about writing.

Try this: Take a look at your life: what practices could you automate to save thinking time?

Bonus tools: Once you’ve dumped some of the internal and external clutter, it helps to practice some additional clutter-clearing practices.

+Limit time on social media, especially just before writing time.

+Limit online reading and gaming time.

+Limit television and movie viewing.

+Clean out your email inbox.

+Turn off push notifications on your phone, ipad and computer.

+If possible, hide your phone while you write to avoid being distracted by texts and calls.

When I practice this intentional space clearing, my brain stops spinning. I can play with ideas and characters. And I’m able to write. Whew!


2 Responses

  1. Peggy

    Wow, this came right on time! Just this morning I was “dizzy” from all of the mental clutter I had to think about, and this article has really inspired me to dump the unnecessary “stuff”. Thanks!

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