Cookies, Meltdowns, and Ducks: A Tale of an Organized Creative


The other day I was having a mini meltdown and I did the thing that came the most natural to me.

Ok, well the second most natural thing (**puts down wine bottle**).

I made a checklist.

You see, every January this warm and fuzzy urge to get my duckies in a row for the coming year starts to take over my body like little Twilight Zone invaders with cute little aluminum space suits (and high heels…like all good space invaders).

So I do what I do every year: I put on my best pair of yoga pants, head down to Office Max, buy three different sizes of calendars, a new assortment of colored pens and their color coordinating highlighters, post-its, and cookies (because cookies).

I got home, threw on Lord of the Rings for background (as one does), and set to work.

Aaaaaannnnddddd commence the meltdown.

There I was in all my color coordinating glory when I realized all of the things that needed to get done before the total life-changing event that will make my days look slightly different. (Ahem. **looks at baby bump, looks at cat, gets a judgmental look from cat, locks cat in kitchen**)

With the cat locked safely away with an abundance of kitty treats, I looked at all the projects ahead of me:

—make a person
—make sure to keep that person alive
—start super secret new business
—and oh yeah, somewhere in there, finish my book and send to agents

I began tugging on my tangled hair, eating the aforementioned cookies without tasting them, and tripped on my meditation pillow hidden under a stack of books. My inbox was starting to fill up with unread articles on copywriting, getting published, and the benefits of breastfeeding (I cannot confirm nor deny that all three of those topics were in one article).

<insert heavy cookie smelling sigh>

Listen, can I just stop and brag about us for a second? You know, us “creatives”? Think of a world without us. Where would the paintings be? The stories? The feel-goods? The what if’s? The world needs us as much as we need them and that means that our time is just as precious as every other Tom, Dick, and Harry.

If our attention gets pulled in too many places than our creative juices (or muses or drinking buddies) will bail on us, leaving us as cold empty bottomless shells sitting in our own duck feathers because our ducks have flown the coop.

Ok. Drama much. I get it.

But let me put it to you this way:
We creatives create. We makers make. We shapers shape.

And it takes energy, passion, tears, rips, sweat, and getting in the zone. But what if our life is bearing down on us with clutter, or overwhelming projects, or just…well life?

We organize it.

That’s what I did in the middle of my meltdown. I broke it down, stared it down, shook it down, and the result is hanging on my fridge from a Chewbacca magnet.

We are taking on so many things in order to fit into the “real” world and our “creative” world seamlessly. We are burning ourselves out, leaving our days unsatisfying, overbooked, underpaid, unfocused, and uninspired.

But what if (see, there’s the “what if’s” again) we get on top of it? What if we give ourselves the space—both mentally and physically—to be the creator, the maker, and the shaper. Well, the meltdowns may be a lot fewer and far between and we’ll have more time to eat cookies color coordinate.

Over the next few months I will be getting organized in ways I know have worked in the past and new ways I’m itching to try. I will be sharing my discoveries and systems here on Ms. In The Biz and my own website. In the meantime, let me know in the comments if you have one particular organizational strategy that you feels deserves an award.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have a date with my ducks.



Nicole Larson

About Nicole Larson

I’m sitting here, writing my YA Novel, waiting for the hubs (to bring me another glass of wine already), when the cat reveals he wants to have his own talk show. This sadly, does not surprise me, so I go back to blogging about taking my creative career seriously. Speaking of blogs…I’m the Founder (and midnight cocktail waitress) of Real Creatives Drink Champagne where I say (cork) screw it to the stereotypes facing all creatives and toast you on living the creative life confidently (including my free 7 day brand building email tutorial called ICEBERG). It’s my own digital (spiked) lemonade stand and if you come over I’ll give you a brownie (because brownies).