Wednesday, December 12, 2012

How Minimalism and Simple Living Can Help Your Writing

People generally think of minimalism in deeply caricatured terms: Get rid of all your stuff, sit in a white room (on the floor, of course, because you gave your furniture away) and stare at bare walls in a state of deep gratitude at the meaningfulness of it all.

Right. Honestly, it's more useful--and less condescending--to consider minimalism from a broader perspective, because it really can help you achieve your creative goals.

Here's what I mean: everything you own and everything you do has a cost. The things you own cost money to buy, and they have to be stored, maintained--even insured. Likewise, the things you do have a cost too: they cost time, money, or usually both. Furthermore, these things have second-order costs: you have to work to get money to pay for them.

It gets worse, because there's a third-order cost: your attention. Your stuff, your activities and the work you do to pay for them all divert your attention. In other words, the less stuff you have in your life--and I mean "stuff" in the broadest sense--the more attention and mental energy you can dedicate to your real work.

* Eliminate possessions you don't need or use.
* Eliminate unnecessary space.
* Eliminate obligations that don't meet your needs.
* Eliminate activities and distractions that clutter up your mind.
* Eliminate expenses that don't add real value to your life.