“Let your boat of life be light, packed with only what you need – a homely home and simple pleasures, one or two friends, worth the name, someone to love and someone to love you, a cat, a dog, and a pipe or two, enough to eat and enough to wear, and a little more than enough to drink; for thirst is a dangerous thing.”
Jerome K. Jerome.
Jerome Klapka Jerome, born 1859, was a writer who was best known for his comedy travelogue ‘Three Men in a Boat.’
He died in 1927. I picked this quote because old-fashioned or not, it reminds us that what we want, is not always what we need.
WANTS AND STUFF
Keeping life simple mean less focus on unnecessary ‘stuff.’ Focusing on ‘wants’ or ‘stuff’ makes it more difficult to focus on the work we really want to do.
We find ourselves working longer hours in jobs we don’t like – for what? To pay for stuff we didn’t really need in the first place?
You don’t have to be a total minimalist to travel light. Keeping life simple means you just have to ‘want’ a bit less.
Needs are different from ‘wants’ of course. We all need somewhere to live. We need food and clothes etc.
We do what we have to do to ensure our needs are met and if we are lucky we find work that not only meets our needs but is also enjoyable, or at least not too grim.
But once the bills are paid and there’s food on the table – do we really need to work quite that many hours?
WHO SAYS CREATIVE WRITING IS A WASTE OF TIME?
Sometimes family pressures and commitments make us feel that pursuing creative writing, or any other form of art is somehow frivolous or a waste of time.
When I was teaching creative writing it was sad to see how many people thought that time spent doing something they actually enjoyed should take second place to just about anything else you can thing of. Why is this?
Like it or not, we are all going to die one day and very few people face death wishing they’d cleaned the sink more, or bought a hydro-powered toe-nail clipper and some more designer kitchen gear.
Keeping it simple works especially well for writers – we really don’t need much.
It is also worth looking at time spent doing for others.
It is one thing doing tasks for people who really can’t do them for themselves, but it is another thing entirely when we do things for people who are more than capable of doing those things for themselves.
Keeping life simple means saying no sometimes too.
WHOSE MUD IS IT ANYWAY?
One woman told me that she was unable to write anything at all the previous week because she had to spend the time she had allocated to writing, cleaning mud from boots.
Her thirteen year old had not cleaned his football kit for school so she ‘had to do it,’ in case he got into trouble!!!
So think about it, does your friend really need your help to pick out a dress that doesn’t disguise the shape of her bum any more than the other fifty dresses she has hanging in her wardrobe?
Does your other friend really need you to help them shift yet another few pints on yet another night spent down the pub? Oh and can your other half really not find their own socks?
MAKE YOUR CREATIVE WRITING IMPORTANT
Do yourself a favour and start keeping it simple. If you really want to write, then you owe it to yourself to make time to write.
Be your own boss and treat yourself as well as you would treat any other boss – with respect!
Turn up for your work on time and make the work you want to do as important as everything else.
Use your time productively – for writing. If you are stuck for ideas try some creative writing exercises.
DON’T BE A SLAVE TO STUFF
Don’t prioritize a list of wants. This will make you a slave to stuff.
If you keep your focus on the work that meets your needs and work that you enjoy.
Keeping it simple means not only will your writing improve – your life will be happier too.
Best of luck with your writing.