Marie Kondo’s book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing has been on must-read lists ever since it got translated into English in 2014. With her show live on Netflix, everyone is going through their stuff on a search of items that spark joy in their lives. Given the versatility of her advice, creative overthinkers like us can put it to good use in our creative lives.
1.Pick a medium that sparks joy for you
Take jewelry for example. Back when I used to do crafts, my favorite medium was seed beads. Making a pair of peyote stitch triangle earrings took almost an hour. It was an extremely tedious process, but I loved it. However, when I decided to sell my crafts, I got uncomfortable – there’s this much money you can ask for seed bead jewelry, so I loaded up on crystals and faux pearls that were more popular and profitable. I learned how to work with them, but never quite fell in love with the process the way I did with the seed beads. And funny enough, my seed bead jewelry ended up being the hotter seller, overshadowing the fancier and theoretically more in-demand crystal jewelry.
Only you get to decide how your creative work is done. There is no right or wrong way to do most things. Your book is not going to come out better just because you typed the draft on an authentic vintage typewriter rather than used a regular laptop. Music that you compose won’t be better just because you used a concert piano instead of an electronic piano keyboard. Using oils instead of acrylic markers that you love won’t make you come off more professional – whatever that means when it comes to artistry anyway.
Overthinkers tend to go so overboard with the preparation for the creative process that focus gets shifted to prep work rather than actual creation. Remove this unnecessary pressure by using tools that you know well and love. Get rid of all the things that you feel like you are supposed to be using, and start utilizing those that spark your joy. After all, the best tools are those that work for you.
And while we’re on the topic of tools,
2.Keep your workspace tidy and organized
There’s nothing worse than getting inspired to create something amazing only to get to your workspace and realize that it’s a crazy mess. Putting stuff back is difficult when you’re in a creative process, but that’s the only sustainable way to avoid a disaster. In her book, Marie Kondo says that once people experience the benefits of having a tidy space, it’s way harder to reverse back to old ways. Apply that to your life – next time you tidy up, memorize that feeling of satisfaction that comes with a clean table!
3.Your creative journey should spark joy in you
As a fellow creative overthinker, you might have a few projects that are in this perpetual unfinished state. No matter how much time and effort you spend on them, there’s just something not right. Maybe it’s time to let them go?
Just like old clothes that no longer fit, maybe this project is just not right for you anymore. Personalities change, perspectives shift, and point of view is not the same anymore. You don’t have to feel like this work drags you down, and it doesn’t have to block you from creating future masterpieces just because you’re still stuck on an old, irrelevant work that has outlived itself. Allow yourself to say goodbye, and dive into something that excites you. Remember that electrifying feeling?