Does Organisation And Routine Stifle Creativity?

By on April 15, 2021

Being a writer is not easy. We have to be so many things at once, and often the demands of being a writer mean that we have to wear man hats and balance many different things. Lots of writing advice demands that we remain organized as we write. However many writers struggle with this. Creativity is something that does not like to be stifled, and often putting too many routines and restrictions in place can mean that creativity does not have the room or the space to breathe a grow.

So can too much routine and heavy organization actually become detrimental to creativity? Let’s explore further…

Daily routine

Having a daily routine is kind of essential for any writer. The more you are able to get into a consistent writing habit the easier it will be to return to your work time and time again. However, if your writing schedule is too inflexible, too rigid, you may end up spending more time fretting over it than actually getting on with your work. 

Productivity shaming is a term that Jocelyn K. Glei came up with to try to pinpoint that feeling of being miserably unable to keep up with the unrealistic standards that are set by some writers who brag about their writing productivity and daily routines. If you are constantly feeling as though you are falling short of expectations, your creativity is bound to suffer. 

Negativity creates a lack of motivation - the more negatively you feel about something, the less likely you’ll feel motivated to keep doing it. So if you are constantly feeling pressure to be organized and to stick to a stringent and demanding routine, you might actually do your writing productivity more harm than good.

Do we need to be organized in all aspects of our lives? It’s a good question to ask yourself. While there is certainly some part of our lives that thrive under organized rules and routines, others certainly will feel stifled and constricted by it. Being super organized wastes time and energy that could potentially best spent on other things. 

There are also some that believe that a disorderly environment can actually produce the most exciting and ingenious results. Being too organized leaves little room for spontaneity, for exploration, and adventure. Those who are less committed to stringent routines and writing rules may find that their creativity has room to roam free and therefore create more exciting work.

As Einstein so pointedly put it: 

“If a cluttered desk is a sign of a cluttered mind, of what, then, is an empty desk a sign?”

Being organized out of fear of judgment that others might think we don’t know what we are talking about if our workspace is chaotic or our to-do list disorganized is also a creativity blocker. We need to be free to work in a way that best suits us, and if embracing the mess and disorder helps us think more creatively, that’s got to be the better choice. 

Of course, the reality is that for writers a good balance between chaos and order is probably the optimum route to effective performance. To be creative as well as productive, we should allow both chaos and constraint when it is appropriate do so.

If we didn’t have some structure and some routine, we’d probably never finish anything. Yet if we don’t allow ourselves any wriggle room, we might well be doing our creativity a disservice too!

What do you think? Share your comments below!

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