How do you inspire yourself when you create? Are you someone who seeks out inspiration, the right music, the right playlist, the right atmosphere in which to pursue your art? Or do you make your own, where you are, as you are, and create no matter what, no matter where?
When I was younger, I had the advantage of not having much responsibility, and I could create easily at my own leisure. My favorite activity was to sit down at a coffeeshop, pull out a notebook, and write pages and pages. These days, when life is pulling and prodding me from many angles, it’s more complicated to find my own place and time for creating. I’m guessing there are a few other people who stuggle with the same thing, so in the spirit of camaraderie, here are some of my ideas I’ve used to get myself in motion. I’d love to hear some of yours in the comments.
1- Make time.
When are you best able to focus? Are you a night owl or one of those elusive morning people? I have always been a morning person, even though I struggle to leave to comfort of my cozy bed, I’ve found that I’m most productive in the hours just before daylight wakes the rest of the household. That peaceful time is perfect for me to write those few lines, plot a few points and feel like I’ve made progress. My husband, however, is a night owl, and is able to accomplish loads when the house is quiet and dark. I saw a meme once that said something along the lines of, “I’m not a morning person and I can’t stay up too late, but I can rock 11 a.m. like nobody’s business.” Whichever one you are, try making a plan that at such and such a time, you’ll sit down with your laptop, pen and paper, and accomplish something in that time.
2- Create space.
Are you someone who gets things done best if you’re sitting at a desk? Or do you spend your time in that office chair wishing you could just get comfortable so you could focus on the work at hand? I go between the two. If I’m working on proofreading or editing something, the desk is the way to go. But when I’m ready to dive into some good creative-fictioning (not really sure if that’s a thing, but there’s not a red line under the word yet, oh wait, there it is… I’m leaving it), I love grabbing a seat in one of the ugly brown (yet ridiculously comfy) recliners in our living room, spreading out my reference books, and typing furiously on my laptop. Where is your productive spot? Do you have one? Do you need a window or a blank wall in front of you? If it’s drafty, make sure there’s a cozy blanket readily available. Rearrange your living space if you need to. It’s okay to be a little drastic! If you’re struggling to find a spot, try out a different one each day during your committed time and see which one works best for you.
3- Find the mood.
I’m sure you’ve heard it before, that your five senses are some of the most powerful tools you have at your disposal. So I try to tap into as many of them as possible when I am sitting down for a creative session. I pour myself a hot drink (coffee, tea, anything that helps get my comfort level at an optimum place), and because I’m *that* person, I diffuse essential oils that are supposed to help promote focus (things like lemon, orange, fresh citrusy scents). I suppose you could combine the two and just make a cup of tea with a lemon! I also try (big emphasis on try), to keep the area I’m writing clear of clutter. This is one I struggle with, big time, but it really helps to have a place where you don’t have to be distracted, and clutter just reminds me that when I’m done, I have to clean up. If I pick up a little before I go to bed, the clutter is less of a distraction. One other thing I do is turn on music to set the mood. Sometimes it matches the style of my writing subject, or sometimes it’s just a good set of soundtracks to help me zone in on my project.
These ideas are all customizable to what works for you. Seriously, go with whatever gets you in the mood to focus, because the honest truth is we can’t all just go to Starbucks for three hours to get our creative kicks. Yes, I’m just a little bitter and jealous that I can’t do that anymore. Just thismuch.
What do you do to make your ideal writing/creative space?