You know, many creative people hate the thought of being organized. They view any sort of organization as a structure that’s meant to hamper their creativity, to put restrictions on it and tie it down. They worry that organization will make them less creative, and make them feel stifled as well.

I used to use this as my excuse for my messy office.

I suppose there are those rare individuals who honestly cannot handle much organization in their creative life. However, before you decide that you’re one of them, you should try to add some level of organization and see how it actually feels and works out for you, because organization can do a surprising amount of good for creativity.

That’s exactly what I’ve found out for myself. That organization actually helps my creativity.

But, oh my goodness! If you could see my office right now it would make your eyes hurt. Ever since we got back from our RV trip to Florida it feels like we are moving in to this house all over again. And where my office was nicely organized before I left, now it looks like a tornado hit it. Sheesh!

So if you think that a little organization might not be detrimental to your creativity, read on.

One way organization can help is by removing obstacles to creating. If you have your art or writing supplies scattered across your house — a notebook here, a pen there, a paint-set in the corner — then by the time you actually get all of your creative implements together, you might have lost the idea or inspiration that drove you to collecting them in the first place. This can be solved by having a designated creative area, with all of your tools and implements stored in one spot.

Another way that being organized can help is because it gives you a means to catalog those ideas and bursts of inspiration. Ideas are tricky things, disappearing as fast as they came, if they aren’t pinned down somewhere. You can simply carry around a notebook everywhere you go, and write down ideas as they come to you (like I do), or, if you have a smartphone, email them to yourself, or take notes using an app like Springpad or Evernote.

Having your ideas in one place gives you something to go back to when you’re feeling the creative well running dry, so that you can regain your inspiration.

In The Creative Habit, Twyla Tharp argues that we can actually increase our creativity by having specific routines, by showing up, so to speak. If, every morning, we get up, shower, eat a bowl of oatmeal, and then start writing at 9:00 AM on the dot, our brain knows what’s coming. We know that come that time, we’ll be writing, whether it’s good or bad, whether it’s gibberish or inspired musings, and because of that, and the sheer amount of writing you’ll be doing with a daily practice, you’ll find yourself creating more and more good things. When you show up, your muse does, too.

These are just a few of the many ways to add some structure to your creative life. Give them a try, and notice any differences. A little bit of structure and organization can go a long way to supporting you, without caging you in — imagine a trellis with vines and flowers growing all over it. That’s what organization can do for you and your creativity!

All the best,

P.S. So how about you? Are you organized or messy? Does either one fuel your creativity? Would love to hear what you have to say. Please share in the comments below.