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Lo-Fi Writing as a Simple Living Minimalist

Many of you are going to look at the title of this post and wonder what one thing has to do with the other. On one hand, I have to work quickly and produce large volumes of content in order to make rent. On the other, I want to keep things easy and clear out things I don’t need. So let’s look at lo-fi writing as a simple living minimalist.

Disclaimer: This post contains Amazon affiliate links to the books that are mentioned. 

Fewer Distractions Equals Greater Productivity

This is the obvious one. Fewer distractions leads to an increase in productivity. Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi came out all the way back in 2008. Deep Work by Cal Newport is already four years old at the time I’m writing this. This is an established concept backed up be research.

Simple living minimalism means that I have less visual clutter in my work space. I keep my phone across the room, and notifications are turned off. As I’ve stated many times, if I could shut off the router when I’m working I would. I have to settle for airplane mode on my laptop, because Katie needs internet access. There are fewer commitments made on my time, so there are fewer interruptions.

Efficient Living Equals More Time to Write

Living in a smaller space with fewer things to care for leaves me with more time to write. This is especially important because I work from home. I don’t have a commute, which saves time, but I also have to look at things around the apartment that need to be done. My desk is in the kitchen; I’m keenly aware when there are dishes to be done. I know when the vacuum needs to be run.

Because things are set up to be low-maintenance, they don’t distract from work. There are never too many dishes. The shelves are never egregiously dusty. I don’t feel guilt that I’m doing one thing, but feel I need to address something else. Having a schedule for routine chores helps, too. I know that work time isn’t cleaning time.

Simplicity Included Refining Writing Processes

The same ideals that I apply to living are also useful in refining my writing process. Which tasks are actually essential? What tasks are simply filler to create the illusion of productivity? Decades of the 40-hour work week train us to always look busy, in order to justify that paycheck.

I’m always looking for faster and more efficient ways to do things. How can I outline things better, to make the writing go smoother? Are there tasks that can be batched, so I can knock them all out in one flow state? What can be done weekly, or monthly, are as-needed? How can I set up my production calendar and my bullet journal so that I’m always focused on the highest priority project?

What Problem Am I Solving For?

This is the bottom line. I own cookware that I use. There aren’t cabinets filled with gadgets that I own simply to say I own them, or because they’re the current fad. I work on projects that are creatively fulfilling and have the potential to earn money. It’s always about knowing the problem you’re solving for, and getting to the solution in the best way possible.

Lo-Fi Writing as a Simple Living Minimalist

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About Simplify – Create – Thrive

This blog is dedicated to one basic principle: if you can simplify your life and dedicate time to create things, you will be able to thrive and find the health and happiness you seek.

About Berin Kinsman

Berin Kinsman is a writer, simple living minimalist, and spoonie. By day he works as the owner/publisher at Dancing Lights Press. An American by accident of birth, he currently lives in Finland with his wife, artist Katie Kinsman.

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Simplify

Why I Write About Simple Living Minimalism

There are a number of popular blogs about minimalism and simple living. Some people think there’s a glut. As the fad begins to wane, some of those sites are dropping off. This seems like a bad time to keep going on this topic, when the winners have been declared. We have our celebrity minimalists now, with book deals and talk show appearances and Netflix series. That’s why I want to take a moment today to explain why I write about simple living minimalism.

Because I believe in it. That’s it. That’s the answer. Thank you for coming to my TED Talk.

Seriously, the United States in on fire and I think that things are going to get worse before they get better. It’s going to be a long time before a lot of damage can be repairs, and wounds can be healed, and things settle into any sort of agreeable normal. To ride this out, and be prepared for whatever comes next, we all need to be lean, mean, and prepared.

I know that my physical and mental health were wrecked by the constant bombardment of consumerist messages. The siren call of materialism left me feeling less-than, and without purpose. There was a void that I was trying to fill with stuff. It turned out not to be a hole to be filled, but a wound to be healed, and jamming stuff in there was only making it worse.

What’s Actually Important?

I also know that it’s not just me. It isn’t even just other people. I think the whole culture is sick. To get better will require a mindful reassessment of priorities. What do we, as a society, value? Do we even know what we truly, deeply want? What do we not need, that we should have gotten rid of a long time ago? How can we clear away decades, nay, centuries of clutter to make space for the things that are essential and important?

Why I Write About Simple Living Minimalism

If you enjoy my posts you can buy me a coffee. Consider subscribing below, so you can read my daily ramblings about the writer’s life, minimalist, being a spoonie, and the intersection of all of those things.

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About Simplify – Create – Thrive

This blog is dedicated to one basic principle: if you can simplify your life and dedicate time to create things, you will be able to thrive and find the health and happiness you seek.

About Berin Kinsman

Berin Kinsman is a writer, simple living minimalist, and spoonie. By day he works as the owner/publisher at Dancing Lights Press. An American by accident of birth, he currently lives in Finland with his wife, artist Katie Kinsman.

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Simplify

Having a Sustainable Plan for Simple Living

No one goes from zero to full-blown minimalism. Not Marie Kondo. Not Joshua Fields Millburn & Ryan Nicodemus. Certainly not me. It isn’t something you just suddenly do. It’s a whole series of choices and changes that need to take place over time. You need to put together a sustainable plan for simple living. Then you begin to tackle it, point by point.

I can’t tell you what that plan is. I don’t know what your current life is like, or what your goals are. What I can tell you is that it’s like any other habit. Pick a starting point and run with it. If you want to begin with a grand gesture like cleaning out your garage, go for it. If you’d rather start small, like giving up “retail therapy” because you don’t have space for more stuff, do that.

The important thing is to stick with it. Whatever you choose to start with, follow through. When you’ve got that down, move on to something else. Make a list, not to pressure yourself but to begin gathering ideas about what you want to do. Go room by room. Category of stuff by category.

No one expects you to do this overnight. Hell, it took Katie and I three months to get rid of nearly everything in a two-bedroom apartment back in 2014. It was practically all we did for that period of time. And that was because we were moving to Finland, and only taking two suitcases and one carry-on bag each. Take as much time as you need… as long as you keep moving forward.

Having a Sustainable Plan for Simple Living

If you enjoy my posts you can buy me a coffee. Consider subscribing below, so you can read my daily ramblings about the writer’s life, minimalist, being a spoonie, and the intersection of all of those things.

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About Simplify – Create – Thrive

This blog is dedicated to one basic principle: if you can simplify your life and dedicate time to create things, you will be able to thrive and find the health and happiness you seek.

About Berin Kinsman

Berin Kinsman is a writer, simple living minimalist, and spoonie. By day he works as the owner/publisher at Dancing Lights Press. An American by accident of birth, he currently lives in Finland with his wife, artist Katie Kinsman.

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Simplify

Simple Living Minimalism as an Excuse

Let’s talk about the other elephant in the room. People have, with various bad-faith motivations, insinuated that I use simple living minimalism as an excuse. They equate a lack of stuff with being poor. To them being poor translates to being lazy. So they think that when I say I’m not materialistic and like leading a low-key, simple life, what I’m really doing is justifying a lack of ambition.

I don’t own a house, or a car, or a microwave. In their minds it’s not because I don’t want or need those things, but because I can’t afford them. If I have money, they think, I’d be as materialistic as they are.

On some level they’re right, but not for the reasons they think. If somehow millions of euros suddenly fell into our bank account, I’d buy a small car. We’d need it to get to the modest house we bought deep in the woods, far from the bus lines. In addition to more studio space for Katie, we’d need the house so I could have a library full of books, and a canning pantry. I still wouldn’t have a microwave, but I’d likely get an automatic dishwasher. They’re great for sterilizing canning jars.

Since the bills would be covered, I’d spend my days gardening, reading, and listening to music. Not having to grind as a lo-fi writer, I could take my time picking away at novels, submitting them to traditional publishers as I finished them. It would still be simple living, with things I don’t want or need eliminated to make space for the things I so.

It’s not that I’d lean into materialism for its own sake. I’d just get some things I’ve dreamed of having, and live life the way I’d want to live it. I still wouldn’t join Amazon Prime or get a Disney+ subscription. Truth be told, I probably wouldn’t buy books faster then I could read them, either. If I horded anything, it would probably be canning supplies. I’m really going all-in for this canning thing.

Simple Living Minimalism as an Excuse

If you enjoy my posts you can buy me a coffee. Consider subscribing below, so you can read my daily ramblings about the writer’s life, minimalist, being a spoonie, and the intersection of all of those things.

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About Simplify – Create – Thrive

This blog is dedicated to one basic principle: if you can simplify your life and dedicate time to create things, you will be able to thrive and find the health and happiness you seek.

About Berin Kinsman

Berin Kinsman is a writer, simple living minimalist, and spoonie. By day he works as the owner/publisher at Dancing Lights Press. An American by accident of birth, he currently lives in Finland with his wife, artist Katie Kinsman.

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Why Simple Living Minimalism is Essential

There used to be this concept called “living within one’s means”. Don’t spend more money than you earn, and don’t commit to ongoing bills you’re not sure you’ll be able to pay. In the United States this used to be a function of consumerism, especially credit card debt. Now it’s a matter of low wages, rising housing costs, and student loans. This is why simple living minimalism is essential.

When I was in the corporate world, I got trapped. Making good money, I was encouraged to buy a nice house and a new car. Which spirals into having all manner of things for the house, and maintaining the car. There were also clothes. It was all about keeping up appearances. I needed to look a certain part in order to keep the job so I could afford to look the part so I could keep the job so I could look the part.

Now I am, objectively, poor. The bills get paid every month, though. I’ve got the things I need, and some of the things I want. We eat well. There’s a little bit of money in the bank account. I’m also self-employed, running my own business and doing something that I enjoy. I can do that because of simple living minimalism.

Physical and Mental Health Matter

Being beholden to other people for a paycheck was killing me. I had ulcers from the stress of both long hours and constant ethical dilemmas. While I think I already had a predisposition for anxiety, the corporate world did me no favors there. I think that my mental health is permanently jacked up to the degree it is because of those jobs. Because I was pressed to place money and stuff above my own well-being.

Yesterday, I ran out of spoons in the afternoon so I took a nap. I still got everything done that needed to be done. In fact, I got a little bit ahead on a couple of projects. But I got to do so at a sane pace, without killing myself. That’s not the important part, though. When I was sick last month I could work at a much slower pace, and even take days off, because I wasn’t sweating expenses. Without a lot of overhead, like a mortgage and car payments, I have more flexibility in my work schedule. There’s no disaster looming if I have to take a couple of unpaid sick days.

Flexibility in an Uncertain World

I have no idea where I’m going to be 6 months from now. I know where I’d like to be, but being an expat in a world of *gestures broadly* means I have no idea what will happen. It’s not entirely up to me. This means I need to be flexible.

I’m grinding to earn extra money and keeping expenses low, because cash is what’s going to matter most. I know that I can get all of my essential stuff, like clothes and my few precious possessions, into one suitcase. My entire office, along with important paperwork, can fit into a carryon bag. Everything else is replaceable.

It’s About Both Happiness and Control

More is just more, but important is always important. I find that the things that bring me the most joy are actions and activities, not stuff. I need my laptop and my journal to create and be productive. For recreation, all I need to my tablet to read, listen to music, or watch video. My kitchen kit is a few pots and pans and utensils, no expensive gadgets.

If I’m suddenly dropped into another country a month from now, I could in theory have my life up and running in very little time. Only a few common things would need to be acquired. I’m on top of things as much as I can be. Simple living minimalism makes me feel like I’m in charge of my own destiny, rather than being beholding to the fate of a bunch of stuff.

Why Simple Living Minimalism is Essential

If you enjoy my posts you can buy me a coffee. Consider subscribing below, so you can read my daily ramblings about the writer’s life, minimalist, being a spoonie, and the intersection of all of those things.

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About Simplify – Create – Thrive

This blog is dedicated to one basic principle: if you can simplify your life and dedicate time to create things, you will be able to thrive and find the health and happiness you seek.

About Berin Kinsman

Berin Kinsman is a writer, simple living minimalist, and spoonie. By day he works as the owner/publisher at Dancing Lights Press. An American by accident of birth, he currently lives in Finland with his wife, artist Katie Kinsman.