The Importance of Making Space
During August, I’ll be sharing a few choice tidbits from the archives. Enjoy!
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. We also know that one way to dispel resistance is to shape your environment to support your goals. The easier it is to get at your work and get down to business, the more likely you’ll be to actually follow through.
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.
How can you change your space in order to better support your creative work? 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 this 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.”
What works for you?
I’m thankful to be one of those who actually has a little studio workshop. It’s small, but it’s mine! (except when my entire family, including the dogs, decide they want to hang out in there with me, and then there’s no room for anyone) My biggest struggle, though, with having my own space is clutter and mess. It’s funny, I try to keep my house fairly clean (not an easy task with twin 9 year olds) but my studio must get to the point at which I cannot even walk in there before I’ll actually clean it up again. I must get better about that.
So true, Kelly, It feels so good to walk into a workspace that is serene, tidy, and organized. But it’s all too easy for that feeling to fade away as the piles mount around us…..
Our apartment has a built-in desk in the hallway that I immediately commondeered. Only in the last few weeks (we moved in 8 months ago) have I finally made time to make the space “work” for me. Painting, adding another shelf, buying (pretty) boxes to organize, making everything look and feel inviting. It makes sitting down to write so much easier and less stressful.
That sounds lovely, Kiya!
wow..awesome post.Actually its true that v as women never think about having our own workspace at home..which actually can unleash our true creativity..
Thanks, surbhiagarwal — we absolutely need space for creativity to flourish — agreed!
Oh this is a timely post, as I sit down in my shared (with husband) space and wonder what to do first. There are a lot of things in here that don’t need to be, and other things that aren’t but should. I think I need some visuals, some good examples of artist studio/ spaces. Even now I look and there are fishing reels on my drawing table, don’t even talk to me about his side of the room! I’d love to just take everything out, rip out the rug, and start over, but it feels overwhelming.