How to Start Organizing Your Life

As a kid, I was way less into organizing than my mother was. I would let clothes fall on the floor willy-nilly, while she would color code her closet. All of my winter and spring stuff was mixed up, while she had things nicely packed away in labeled boxes. My homework got finished thirty minutes before class, and she was into project management.

With this kind of background, you can imagine my surprise that ten years later I am just like my mother. I don’t know if it’s being independent, living out of a suitcase, or if I’ve just always secretly been this way, but I am hella hella into organization now. My phone has more to-do apps than a CEOs personal secretary.

Without realizing it, this spontaneous desire for order has spilled over into every area of my life. I swear by the minimalist Five Piece French Wardrobe. I go through planners like they’re candy. Even my writing has been affected! Who could have guessed the kid who spat out anime fan-fiction in 30 minutes would become a plotter instead of a pantser?!

As bizarre as this is to me, becoming more organized has really helped me. I know what’s happening in my life, and it’s easier for me to finish projects. It’s even helped me to enjoy the things I’ve always liked doing. I still like to wander around the city or fill in my coloring books, but now I can do it without having to worry about my other things.

So do you need to bring a little order to your chaos? Then I’ve got a few tips for you.

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You’re Not a Writing Genius. It’s Okay.

So you’ve completed your very first story and put it out there for all the world to see! Bully for you!

Now what?

Well if you’re anything like me then you’re going to swagger forward to your next project, full of ideas, aspirations, dreams of how this project is going to be your Empire Strikes Back to your New Hope! You sit down, you open your word doc and then-!


Well, not exactly bupkis. You’ve got a few things going for you. A strong beginning perhaps. A few vividly painted characters in your mind. All of that is great, but for whatever reason you still find yourself ramming your head against the wall in frustration.

“Why?” you ask yourself. “It shouldn’t be this way! I’ve done this before, haven’t I? I mean, yes, I may have only done this once before, but it certainly wasn’t this difficult! And look at how many hits my fanfictions have! Why can’t I get my act together now, when it counts?”

Okay my dears, before you hyperventilate yourself into a dark corner of pity and self-loathing, I’m going to tell you something I’ve been having to tell myself. Maybe you’ll hear it better than I have. Ready? Here we go:

You‘re normal.

I know, I know. “That’s not true! I’m bizarre! I’m creative! I’m unique! Look at all my friends and family, I am clearly the special one here.”

I’m sure you are. But if you compare yourself to all the other little special snowflakes in the world… you’re probably right on target for this part of your Creative Career.

That’s okay! It just means that if you want to be above average, you have to have a work ethic that is above average. You may eventually be a damn good writer/artist/photographer/blah blah blah, but you’ll have to work hard to be that way.

“But my idols never had to work that hard!”


I’m sorry, that statement is so absurd it requires a second reaction.


What do you think your idols do? Magically transfer their thoughts onto a page like a freaking pensieve? They sit down with their perfected writers attire and just hammer away at the keyboard until the computer turns their manuscript into solid gold? Please.

Look if you insist on comparing yourself to others, do me a favor: take a good hard look at your favorite artists, alright? How old were they when they had their first break-out? How long had they been studying their craft before then? Were they doing it in solitude or did they have mentors?

Good art does not just spring from your mind like Athena from the head of Zeus. That’s not how this rolls, and it’s not how you roll.

If you really want to be an artist, you’re going to have difficulties. You’re going to make stuff that is mediocre. Adversity is fine. What you can’t do is stop when you reach it. Take your problems and look at it from a new angle. Ask someone for help. Therapeutically blog about it. Whatever you do just keep going.

I believe in you average snow-flake. You should too.

(originally posted on Elizabeth Stuart Writes)