"But I'm not creative!"
We'll see about that. In our minds, the definition of creative work is fairly broad. Of course it includes anyone working in the arts. But it could also include entrepreneurs, shop owners, public servants and even scientists. Anyone who is thinking creatively to solve problems or create human experiences is a "creative" in our book. If you wouldn't normally call yourself a creative, is there work you do that requires time to think, design or dream? Well then....
You need a space for creativity.
Our next question is do you have a space to do this kind of work that's helping you achieve your goals? Or are you attempting to reach those goals despite your physical circumstances? In other words, is your card table, nook, or whole room that's supposed be yours, also where you stuff all of the junk that has no other place in your home? Is it a dumping ground that you have to clear up every time you want to use it? You can imagine what we're thinking here. As always at Little Yellow Couch, we are all about creating homes that support, enhance and attract the kinds of feelings we want to experience on a daily basis. And your work space is no different.
One of our favorite people has joined us again on the Style Matters podcast. Desha Peacock, author, business coach and retreat leader talks with us about her new book, "Your Creative Workspace." If you haven't already, you need to get your hands on this book! She shares her own spaces, as well as those of others, and gets to the essential qualities of each of them. The photos are inspiring and the stories are relatable. We're not talking about luxurious hide-aways where the rich can dabble in artistic pursuits. The spaces are all personal, layered upon over time, and actually used.
After reading Desha's book and interviewing her for the podcast, we've been thinking a lot about what all of these creative work spaces have in common and what we have in our own homes that helps us get our work done for our business. We think these five elements have universal applications:
5 Things Every Office Needs For Creative Work*
1. A ritual to get started
When we actively mark the time when our creative work is going to begin, we're sending a signal to ourselves that creativity is the only thing we're focusing on at the moment. We all know what it's like to have other things vying for our attention. Developing rituals that get you started each day is something we asked Desha about. She talked about how, no matter where she is (even on a fully booked airplane!) she can get into "the zone." And there are additional rituals you can find in her book. Whatever you choose, the point is to do something that feels special whenever you begin work so that you honor that time and space. Light a particular candle, breathe in essential oils, turn off your phone, say a mantra, close your eyes and breathe deeply for 10 counts.... there are lots of possibilities!
2. A lightbulb moment
For some creatives, lighting is an integral aspect of their work. If you're a painter or photographer, you'll be very particular about this. But the rest of us need good lighting, too, especially as our eyes get older! We included this fairly obvious item on the list because your creative work space might have to do doubly duty with some other household task, or it might be in the same room as some other activity that doesn't require strong lighting. If this is the case, think creatively (ha!) about how you can stylishly incorporate a task light into your room. It can be a lovely desk lamp, a floor lamp that's right next to your work area, or an overhead light that you've strung from the center of the room over to your creative space.
3. Old fashioned tools (aka paper and pencil)
Even if your entire life is on your phone, or if all of your work is done on your computer, when you set out to do something creative, consider always having at least scratch paper and a writing instrument (even if it's a crayon) nearby. While it's great to use technology for to-do lists or even to capture brilliant ideas on the fly, those kinds of apps on your phone or computer can also be a distraction. Depending on your personality, you may want to have a beautiful notebook that's solely dedicated to written notes. Or you might just want a stack of papers from the recycling bin. Doesn't matter. The point is to keep you focused on your creative train of thought and stopping to use technology can pull you right out of the zone.
4. Mother Nature
There's a plant craze going on in the interiors world right now. People are finding all kinds of benefits to having house plants, but we think brining in any kind of natural element to your space will work. Nature has much to teach us about creativity. It can remind us that our creative endeavors are about growth and renewal. There are no straight lines in nature and not much straight thinking when it comes to creativity. Talking to or watering your "work plant" might be part of your getting-started-ritual. Collecting things on a walk outside can remind you of working with whatever you have on hand as a means of sparking your creativity. At the very least, choosing a spot near a window that overlooks a tree can get you in touch with nature.
5. Something to inspire
We all get in slumps. We experience self doubt. Our inner critic can be having a particularly loquacious day. And well ALL need a way to work past these obstacles. Because they are very real and very disruptive. Probably an image of a cat hanging from a branch with the words "Hang in there!" won't do it. And you might have to change out your visual inspiration when one gets stale. It could be something that only makes sense to you. A photograph of an inspirational mentor; an object that represents your definition of success; a quote that you've written in beautiful calligraphy... The visual trigger itself might not be enough to give you a boost. But it should at least remind you to start using whatever anti-anxiety/anti-creative-block techniques you have when needed!