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The Importance of Making Space

Making space for your creative work is almost as important as making time for your creative work. When you have a work space that feels inviting and inspiring — even if it’s just the corner of a room — turning to your creative work feels like a delightful retreat, rather than just another item on your endless “to-do” list.

In her fabulous book, The Creative Habit, Twyla Tharp notes: “To get the creative habit, you need a working environment that’s habit-forming.” When you have a space that calls to you, it’s easier to go there regularly. Regularity, as Tharp points out throughout her book (as the title would suggest), is the heart of creative output.

We all know Virginia Woolf’s famous dictum that “A woman must have money and a room of her own if she is to write fiction.” Woolf was speaking about the feminist need for independence in order to create. Most of us probably feel comparatively liberated, despite the fact that we have children and Woolf did not — but her point is well taken.

Many of us don’t have the luxury of our own room or even the corner of a room to call our own. We take over the dining table when the muse strikes and then have to dismantle the work area when it’s time to eat. If this is the case for you, brainstorm ways to make this process as user-friendly as possible.

It’s also possible that there IS a nook or cranny lurking in your home that you could claim for yourself with a bit of re-thinking. Bring your creative skills to finding a space in your home that helps you return to your creative, authentic self as seamlessly as possible. And if you’re fortunate enough to have your own space, you might spend a bit of time in the coming month editing out anything in this space that doesn’t work for you anymore. Clean it up, organize, bring in a few fresh visuals that speak to you. Make it yours. Then, dig in.

“Without the studio, however humble,
the room where the imagination can enter cannot exist.”
~Anna Hansen

What works for you?

This piece was reprinted from the last issue of the Creative Times, our monthly newsletter.
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7 Comments Post a comment
  1. I have found this to be so, so true. As my writing turned the corner from running my blog to bigger projects, it became very, very obvious that I needed a real space for work. My husband helped me clean out a corner in our home for my office. And you know what? It’s in the laundry room! But it was truly the only available spot that I could take over and find quiet in to work.

    I truly believe that all creative types must have at least a little bit of space to work from. It is imperative.

    (I recently wrote about my office space here:

    September 7, 2011
    • I *love* your work space, Megan! How inspiring that you were able to embrace this space as your own and make it really work for you, rather than just feeling badly about not being able to have a space that’s 100% yours. This is such a wonderful metaphor for making creative motherhood really work — it’s all about blending, blurring the lines between “artist/writer” and “mom.” ❤

      September 8, 2011
  2. Joy #

    I’m feeling really ungrateful right now, realizing that some people don’t even have a corner of a room to be creative in–I have a whole room (spare bedroom) dedicated to my office and art but I don’t like it at all and avoid going there. It’s got “issues” for sure: it’s cold in there (we don’t heat the upper level to save $$), and a hideous pepto bismol pink with ugly wallpaper border and pink carpet. We just moved into this house in August and this room is at the bottom of our re-do list. I just don’t seem to have the energy (time or money either) to put it in order. This post is making me re-think the idea of carving out a corner in our den instead–I love being on the first floor where I can just do a little something now and then whille my son is playing….hmmmmm, food for thought! Thanks for the good ideas.

    December 29, 2011
  3. Reblogged this on RhOksh.

    April 21, 2014
  4. I agree with you since I cordoned off a nook in our open plan kitchen living room life has streamed better for me. The next problem though is to keep it Feng shui friendly and get the best out of it.

    November 28, 2014
  5. Reblogged this on WENDILERIAS.

    March 24, 2015

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  1. Why An Art Studio Is Important To Artists | Karen L. Thomas Fine Art

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