Creativity From Chaos


Is your work space messy or meticulously organized? Are you surrounded my random papers or do you have a file cabinet next to your desk? Does your morning routine begin with tidying up, or do you just sit down and write? Are you habitually looking for something that you just had in your hand, but has subsequently been sucked into the black hole that is your work space?

I read an article recently touting the advantages of a messy room for creative types. Apparently, messiness equals creativity.

This didn’t really come as much of a surprise to me, as I’ve always worked better in a chaotic environment. When I was in college writing scores of research papers, I would strew papers and opened books all over the floor of my apartment (and the coffee table, the counters, the bathroom, the bed, etc.). No one was allowed to touch said supplies until the paper was finished. It drove my husband (then boyfriend) nuts, as he’s a neat freak and didn’t (and still doesn’t) understand how I could concentrate in that kind of environment, let alone find anything I needed. I, of course, insisted I knew exactly where everything was. He never believed me, but it’s the truth. I knew where it was, and I liked being surrounded by all that crap. It was beauty in my mind.

Oh sure, I started out every quarter buying all the organizational tools. (I actually have a slight obsession with buying office supplies. I was a kid who was more excited about the notebook/crayon/pen buying for back to school than clothes shopping. I’ve always been an odd duck, I guess.) I’d set up a Google calendar, buy a date book and patiently copy all of my syllabus down, organize my desk so that I could actually use it this time. I had grandiose ideas about organization. And I silently vowed this quarter/year/month/week I would do better at keeping things where they ought to be. And then a week later (maybe less…okay, more often than not, less) chaos fairies would sneak in sometime during the night and destroy my work space.

I’ve had a desk pretty much my entire life. You know how many projects I’ve finished at a desk? One. Seriously. Most of the time, I can’t even see the surface.

And that’s how I like it. So bring it on, chaos fairies. Science is now supporting my need for a messy work space.

In your face, husband of mine.


What about you? Vote below 🙂



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