In the past, all of my books were written in longhand during the initial drafting process. I’ve never discussed it here because printouts and handwritten documents run counter to the minimalist mindset and made me feel like a fraud.
Last winter I resolved to become more in sync with my minimalist lifestyle and I eliminated paper from my writing process. I forced myself to use my computer for all of my writing and drafting.
If I wasn’t staring at a blank screen, I was spewing garbage. I found myself unable to think of anything to write down, or duplicating stuff I had already written.
Initially I thought this was writer’s block so I decided to cut myself some slack but as time went on I started to get worried.
All of my life I’ve had a surplus of stuff to write about. Was I finally out of gas?
I started researching different ways to overcome this challenge. One common thread kept popping up in all of my research: paper.
I discovered that many writers dealt with writer’s block through the use of index cards. Desperate for a solution, I grabbed a pack and started to work.
It was like the floodgates opened! I found myself writing so much that my whole arm would go numb but I couldn’t stop. I switched hands and kept writing.
In a matter of days I finished one whole draft (“How to Survive the Death of Windows XP”), partially completed another and began the outlining process on several more.
That was when I realized that minimalism had killed my mojo. All of those months, instead of working with my natural creative tendencies I had eliminated the very methods I needed to be a productive writer.
This has taught me a valuable lesson.
Just because something can be minimized doesn’t mean that it should.
While minimalism can be a good thing it can easily be taken too far. While I liked the thought of eliminating paper from my creative process, it simply isn’t worth the cost to my creativity. Minimalism or no, I have went back to my old ways of writing books with a vengeance and in this instance I am not ashamed to set minimalism aside.
While minimalism is a worthwhile goal, it is very important to pay attention to your needs during the process. Some areas of your life may not benefit from the “less is more” philosophy, so don’t be afraid to go back to your old ways if minimalism doesn’t benefit you.
And, most importantly, don’t worry about what others will think regardless of your decision.
Do you have an area of your life where minimalism ended up being counterproductive? Please share your stories in the comments below.