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Your Mother Was Right: Clean Up Your Room!

Do you typically write your music in a neat room, or a messy one? I wrote about this a number of years ago, and when I did, I received a comment or two by songwriters that argued against the notion that it’s good to have a tidy workspace.

You may be one of the few who work better in clutter, but I doubt it.  I strongly believe that most composers of music work better when their room is generally free of mess and disorganization.

The next time you sit down to write songs, take a look around you and ask yourself:

  1. Is everything you need either within arm’s reach, or at least reasonably close by?
  2. Is your workspace well lit? If you prefer lights dimmer so that you can get in the right mood for writing, can you see what you need to see at least to avoid eye strain?
  3. Are pencils and pens in abundant supply (assuming you’re still writing “old school”)?
  4. Are all the resources you typically use (dictionaries, tuner, capo, picks, cords, etc.) near where you can reach them easily?
  5. Is your writing space as free of clutter and mess as possible?

A clean work area allows you to get working more quickly, and helps you concentrate. And you may benefit from the sense of well-being that can come with neatness.

A bit of clutter is acceptable, I think, and depending on how busy your days generally are, might be expected. But if you’re always working in a sea of discarded clothing, papers, books and other distractions, it’s probably time to clean up!

Doing a quick clean up after every writing session means that it will rarely take you longer than 5 minutes to get everything tidy. If you’ve always worked in a messy environment, you may think you prefer clutter only because you’ve been experienced anything else.

So give it a try. Before you sit down to work on your next song, spend a few moments hanging up clothes, tossing garbage, and getting everything you’ll use within arm’s reach. You’ll enjoy how it makes you feel!

Gary EwerWritten by Gary Ewer. Follow Gary on Twitter

Music Theory - SongwritingIf every music rudiments course has left you bleary-eyed, you need to try “Easy Music Theory by Gary Ewer.” It’s a video-based music theory course that starts at the very beginning (this is a note) and shows you all the rudiments of music in 25 Easy Lessons. It’s time to more fully understand music!

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  1. I was told years ago by an instructor when I went to an “How to be Organized and Time Management” that as a creative person, I would always have piles of things I was working on. I am now 65 years old and always seem to have piles of papers and other things. A couple years ago, I was so frustrated with not be able to find things I had written down and just the clutter of piles, I put everything on the computer. I use Microsoft’s One Note and it has helped a lot. I also write totally on the computer as I find it much easier to edit and have templates to work from. I feel so much better that my writing is organized but I still sort of have a mess around me most of the time so I guess that may never change. I do pick up when the cleaning lady comes.

    • Hi Donna:

      Yes, I have to confess to having to work hard to keep the mess under control myself. But I find that when I do my best to keep things tidy, I feel better, and I think I feel more creative. I know people who say the opposite — that they think a bit of clutter makes them feel more creative. But as I say in the article, I think that’s probably because they haven’t had a clean space to work in for a while!

      Thanks very much for your comment!

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