Minimal Writing

To sit down at the computer and write sentence after sentence is a challenge in and of itself. To add further complications to this though is to then attempt to write clearly, using the least amount of words possible.

In this age of Tweets, Posts, and Pins the challenge to write clearly and well in small doses takes time and effort.

Recently, I’ve begun to set myself the assignment of writing a story in 500 words. Sometimes I go over, sometimes I don’t. But the purpose of this project is to help refine my writing so I don’t go on and on.

Part of me was inspired by the six word story attributed to Ernest Hemingway:

For Sale: Baby Shoes. Never Worn.

What an amazing short piece of fiction. At first I was thinking what on earth is this, but then on further reflection you as the reader begin to understand. I understood and then thought this piece was increadible.

I look back on articles and posts unpublished and wonder what I was thinking. The writing is terrible, waffle is everywhere, and if anyone actually read a word they’d wonder whether I passed grade 3 comprehension lessons. It’s discouraging on one hand but then a challenge on the other.

What do you do to keep your writing clear, concise and crapless?


The Simplicity of a WordPress Blog

I’ve been blogging for years and I’ve decided to face the truth. All my blogs are hopeless.

Every now and then a reader, someone like your good self, would pop by. Perhaps they’d even leave a comment. But in reality the best reader of my blog was myself.

In order to simplify the blogging process I’ve decided to keep Minimal Mess as a blog. The Awesome Blog Police would have me arrested for this, but I think it makes sense considering the main idea of this blog. In fact, I think there are distinct advantages for having a blog rather than dealing with an independent site. Let me explain why.

1. It’s free.

Not many things in life are free. This blogging platform is though. If I had to buy my domain name, my hosting service, and perhaps a premium theme then this would cost me good money. Now, I don’t mind spending good money on things that I think are worth it. But when I’m just an average blogger who is writing about a topic they love and not seeking to make a profit then I don’t have to deal with all that. I can simply sign up here at WordPress and start writing. You can too.

2. I only need one username and password.

Instead of having a username and password for my domain name provider, my DNS host, and my WordPress admin I only need to remember one. That speaks of less remembering, less stress, and less worry to me. I just go to one place with one username and password and I’m done.

3. There’s no need to deal with configurations, settings, and add-ons. 

With this platform I have everything I need. Of course, I do need to do a little setup for this site. Choosing my free theme, deciding which widgets to use, working out my time and date setting etc. Not to mention installing WordPress and pointing my domain name to my host and the like. But here I don’t have to fiddle around with additional features to make the site mobile friendly, allow Disqus comment boxes, or nice looking share buttons. These things are already done and they’re good looking and functional enough as it is.

4. There’s a community feel.

Having my own site with my own domain name was good for a time. I understand the advantages of it, I’ve been there. However, with there is a community feel that means I can follow other people’s blogs and see their latest posts in my feed. I can comment on other blogs without the hassle of working out which username to use. I can even get promoted to a “Freshly Pressed” blog if the post is worth it, not to mention that mass of support from the WordPress team. I sense that rather than be out on my own with my own domain I have now entered the fold and a community of like minded people who simply want to write and express their ideas. Minimal Mess is my little part of that.

5. I can now focus on writing content.

Dealing with all the issues that come with having your own self-hosted site takes time away from writing content. The main aim of a blog is to produce content. Therefore, I’m eating into the time to write that content if I’m mucking around with all the other things that come with having a self-hosted site. By shutting that old site down and moving to this one I’ve just cut out a whole chunk of time for myself. This allows me to focus on the important side of blogging, content creation.

6. I’m now saving time to do other things. 

One of the main aims of living simpler is to save time. This time saved can then be put into areas in life that are more important – relationships, learning new skills, pushing projects forward, family, cooking etc. In doing the switch to this platform I’m saving time by not having to deal with the extraneous issues that come with a self-hosted blog. I get to write, publish, and then get on with other things, not being preoccupied with how my site’s going.

7. It’s just a simpler way to go.

For the six reasons above and the general vibe of I think it’s just simpler. There isn’t a hassle of dealing with third party add-ons, having to link up Google Analytics, spending time installing and updating the latest versions of plug-ins, nor worrying about how everything is fitting together. The blogging has now become a two to three click process.

By siding with a blog I’ve eliminated stress and eliminated mess. This has allowed me to feel a lot freer in writing. It’s enabled me to focus on what’s really important. And, it’s given me more time to focus on what I think is important.

What are the advantages you see in this process? How do you keep the mess of blogging to a minimum?

This Blog Is For The “Simplist”

One of the main aspects of living a minimalist lifestyle is, like the old acronym K.I.S.S., to keep things simple, stupid. This blog is no different.

I’ve decided that in order to get the most out of this blog I need to make the site as simple as possible. There’s no point in choking up the site with a million and one widgets and pictures and tweets when its main aim is to minimise mess.

Therefore, what you see is what you get.

There’s a header with the name of the site, Minimal Mess. There’s a button to take you to the home page, and there’s the About page, to let you know what Minimal Mess is all about (you might like to have a quick peak at the blog’s first post too – it explains a bit more of why Minimal Mess started). On the sidebar there’s a simple button to allow you to follow this blog, or if you don’t have a WordPress username then simply type your email in and you’ll receive these posts via email.

In reality I don’t think there’s anything else needed. Is there?

One mistake I see plenty of blogs making is the attempt to have it all. I certainly made the same mistakes with my old blogs. I’d have links and tweets and comments and pictures and maybe even a calendar all on the sidebar. Then up the top I’d have numerous links to others pages and maybe even a large picture to welcome you to the blog. I think these are superfluous for a “simplist” like me. I’m sure you appreciate it to.

When thinking through this blog it’s important to ask, what’s important and what’s not? Otherwise, it’ll just be stupid, like the rest of them.

Why Minimal Mess?

Minimal Mess has started. It’s started because I don’t live simply enough. It’s started because I have plenty of mess in my life that needs cleaning up.

– Leonardo da Vinci

Late last year I signed up for the Evernote 30-day Paperless Challenge. This challenge was to inspire people to become paperless within thirty days and give enough of a kick start to continue into paperless glory.

For me, this challenge didn’t go so well. The main reason for this was because I was more interested in seeing what other people do with Evernote than actually changing myself. However, what it did spark within me was a desire to cut out a lot of mess that exists in my life. Both in my house, specifically my study, and also in my digital world. Overtime these two areas have built up to such a degree that I can’t remember what I’ve done with important files and whereabouts that bill I was meant to pay is.

Along side this challenge is the build up of about three years of reading and thinking about productivity, simplicity, and minimalism strategies. I’m no expert because of the books I’ve read but I have a passion to see things in life become simpler. For a few years now I’ve been an avid fan of Evernote and Dropbox for my digital files, I’ve sought to simplify my email addresses, I’ve begun reading about minimalism, and am always a sucker for those blog posts highlighting better ways to improve my systems.

So, enter Minimal Mess. The blog that tracks my thoughts on how to make life simpler and perhaps help you gain a new perspective on doing everyday tasks.