Albert Einstein had a messy desk.
He was famously quoted as having said “If a cluttered desk is a sign of a cluttered mind, of what, then, is an empty desk a sign?”
There was a small study done at the University of Minnesota that found study participants working in a messy environment produced more creative ideas than participants working in a neat and tidy environment.
I’ve also found things that speak against any correlation between mess and creativity, such as this very well written blog post by Mike Roy.
I am both a creative person and a messy person. I must admit that the allure of blaming my inclination towards clutter on being an artist is strong. It is much easier to say that my creativity is the reason why I’m a messy person than it is to say that I don’t know why I’m a messy person.
I enjoy it immensely when my house is neat and tidy and I try my best to keep it that way after cleaning.
Inevitably, though, it always falls back into its usual state of complete and utter disarray.
My sister is the opposite of me; she is a tidy person and keeps an almost immaculate home.
I once lamented to my sister how I wished that I could keep my home as neat as she keeps hers and how I didn’t know why I had such a hard time doing it.
She told me that she thinks it is my depression that is the problem.
I think that there is definite credence to this observation.
Every single time I’ve slipped into a depressive episode my house has become messier than normal. Oftentimes I am unaware of the depressive episode’s arrival before the clutter intensifies.
The sight of the dishes piled up in the sink, the unvacuumed carpets, and the clothing strewn about my bedroom are typically the first indicators I have that something is amiss.
As for my creative process; I’ve found that when I’m creating and have a spark of inspiration I cannot stop to put things away. If I do I lose my train of thought and that spark of inspiration gets extinguished.
When I am in the creative zone I have a difficult time pulling myself away from it. I have an overpowering need to keep going and see my vision through to the end.
This is not without difficulties, though. I more often than not have created such a mess that I cannot find anything.
I will spend so much time looking for this thing or that thing that sometimes it causes me to lose my inspiration and vision.
I wish there were an easy option to fix this. Sometimes I wonder if this is just my lot in life or if there is something I can do.
It is quite easy to judge myself as simply being “lazy”.
I do admit that I am lazy but I feel that my messy nature goes beyond personal failure and shortcoming.
I am messy, I am creative, and I’m not so sure one is due to the other.
What do you think? Are you a creative mess? What do you do to keep things under control?
Thanks for stopping by.
Until next time,