The creative mess – on my desk and in my mind

I open the door to my office, then free myself from my three bags and several layers of outdoor clothing. Bags drop to the right, clothes to the left. I step out of my shoes and move across the room by climbing over a blue Ikea bag which seems to have puked out its contents and carefully navigate through the heaps and piles of paper to my desk. The desk is, needless to say, buried under papers, books, bills, post-it notes and other very important stuff.


”If you clear up your desk by the end of the week I can clean your window.”

That statement comes from my roommate, neatly tucked in between a couple of boxes, the blue Ikea bags, and her desk.

Right. If I clear my desk.

So let’s do it. I build neat piles, pulling out the super important things which should not be lost to a separate, very important pile, and push it all to the side. I move my computer screen to the floor, navigate back to the other side of the office and make myself a coffee. The little penguin-like device was the first thing to ever move into this office and serves the magic potion for necessary strength while purring away. I take a deep breath, inhaling the coffee. The letters A, T, and G hang above the machine and I am thinking for the umpteenth time that we really ought to hang up that C again. It fell down about two years ago.


Standing in the doorway I contemplate over the mess; in my office, on my desk and in my mind.

My mind is full of stuff: Articles, both in progress and ideas for new ones. Podcast-productions. Things to read and listen to. Events to go to and write about. Ideas and more ideas. Buzzing head, glittering eyes, and a sparkling firework of creativity.

Once the pieces are written and the podcasts are published the party slowly comes to an end. Excitement, satisfaction and relief at first. Then exhaustion and a sense of emptiness. The sparks of creativity turn into dust and the mind, the desk, and office are littered with the bits and pieces that were the ingredients for my creations. Some were used, a lot not. What to do?

Let the dust settle, breathe, and tidy up.


Of course I find some great stuff that move into different piles. New ideas, precious thank you notes, to-do lists that seem timeless (”work in progress”) move back to my desk. I carefully place my pomodoro-timer for time management, the Lego-professor and the fluffy mammoth. The orange cat which is a nail brush but works much better for stress relief. It fits perfectly into my hand and gives me a nice massage when I squeeze it. I pile up books to read and strategically place chocolate to eat. I open and feel the paper of new notebooks which are yet to be filled. The very important stuff is still on a heap to the right. I will sort that any day soon.

I am ready for a new round of creating. A mess.

Guestblogger Natalie von der Lehr is a freelance science writer, podcast producer and coach for the KI-blog team.





One thought on “The creative mess – on my desk and in my mind

  1. Once, when I commented on my supervisors messy desk, he just said: “If cluttered desk is a sign of a cluttered mind, then empty desk is a sign of …..” long pause 😀 Congrats on getting some christmas cleaning done!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s