Creativity and simplicity in tension

I tend to think of simplicity (at least in part) as being a reduction in the number of things I own—a reduction of clutter and excess. And I tend to think of creativity as the production and proliferation of new things—new ideas, new products, new creations.

I am currently working on reducing the amount of “stuff” that I own, AND my creative work is also exploding. This means that I am constantly bringing home new tools, supplies, and equipment. In fact, my entire dining room table (normally an empty space) has now been entirely taken over by jewelry making “stuff.” I now have inventory to store and keep organized (of supplies and of finished items).

So I’ve been feeling a tension between these two parts of my current experience. I am cleaning things out and letting things go at the same time that I am stocking up and bringing home new things. And while I can argue that one is related to my personal life and the other is related to my business, I am still aware of the tension between the two.

I was reading something today that talked about simplicity in terms of being able to focus. Simplicity is removing all of the distractions that keep us from focusing on the things that matter to us.

In that sense, there is great simplicity in my creative work because (despite the accumulation of “stuff” to do my work) I find myself automatically reducing other distractions in order to make more time for my creative activities because that is where my focus is. This work clarifies for me what matters and what isn’t worth my attention because I am focused on work that I enjoy.

I find myself making decisions about how to spend my time based around the impact that any given activity will have on my creative work. This means less time spent on social media and more time spent with my beads and my yarn.

I also find myself making decisions about what “stuff” to keep and what “stuff” to get rid of based on how it supports (or detracts) from my creative work. It gives clutter a whole new meaning.

So I still feel some of this tension between balancing a life of simplicity and a life of creativity when it comes to the accumulation and storage of “stuff,” but I’m feeling encouraged that they are not as much in opposition as I had thought.

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