Inspired by a Buffer post about a Minimalist Challenge, and several posts on the subject from The Minimalists, I decided to pursue my own minimalist challenge during the month of August. I started by making a list of all the different areas in my house that I could focus on, until I had a different section for each of the 31 days. Then, I systematically went through the list, getting rid of things that were not important or essential to the daily routine of my life.
So far, I have really enjoyed the deliberateness of the 30 day minimalist challenge. I have discovered a deep sense of satisfaction going through my possessions day by day, and having time to think and reflect on each area of my house. I found it to be so much more helpful than just doing a great purge of my belongings. Since I had time to consider each item carefully, I was really able to embrace the ethos of minimalism, which I think is perfectly espoused by The Minimalists:
“Minimalism is a lifestyle that helps people question what things add value to their lives. By clearing the clutter from life’s path, we can all make room for the most important aspects of life: health, relationships, passion, growth, and contribution.”
I found myself especially drawn to the idea of value. Minimalism is not about getting rid of as many material possessions as possible. It is about deciding which of those material possessions actually add value to your life.
Inspired by this minimalist challenge, I began to look at minimalism in other areas of my life, and found that many of the principles can be applied to writing:
#1. Is it necessary?
I find this question to be helpful in almost every area of writing. From the physical clutter on my desk, to the ‘clutter’ in my writing, asking the question ‘is this necessary’, provides clarity, and focus to my writing. Over the past month, I’ve noticed that by asking this question whenever I feel overwhelmed, or uncertain about the next step in my writing, I am able to refocus on what is important, and necessary.
#2. Is it useful?
This is related to the first point, but I find that it really helps solidify whether I truly need something. I have a penchant to keep things, or ideas, that I think I’ll need later, even if ‘later’ never comes to pass. This is also something I do in writing, whether it’s hoarding ideas, or saving a passage I’ve written for something else. By determining whether an idea or a piece of writing is useful to me now, I’ve been able to incorporate a lot of those ‘hoarded’ ideas into projects I’m working on right now. After all, I can always come up with other ideas!
#3. Does it add value?
This is the most pertinent of all the questions, and the one I found most useful during my minimalist challenge, and in my writing. Assessing whether something adds value to my life, and to my writing, forces me to be deliberate and considering. This question really takes me back to my core beliefs and intentions in writing. If something adds value to my life or to my writing, it stays. If it doesn’t, it goes.
What do you think of minimalism? Do you find these ideas helpful to your own writing?
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