Welcome to Days 58-61 of the 365 days of creative exercises . What shall we do with these last few days of 2017? We can often get into a holding pattern where we are waiting for the New Year, for the holidays to be over, or the next job, vacation, bigger home etc., somewhere further down the road than we are currently at, to get started. While we don’t want to do that, we need time off to rest and recharge, and especially so now, given the tumultuous nature of 2017. With that in mind, I have a different kind of creative exercise for these last few days of 2017. We’ll come back to daily creative prompts on January 1st, 2018. Today we are going to talk about carving out a personal area to work, create, think, and daydream, a creative workspace, a sanctuary to which we retire to do our soul work; let’s use the last 3-4 days of 2017 to create this space.
Importance Of A Creative Workspace: By creative space, I mean a dedicated place where you express your creativity. We’ve moved beyond the traditional definitions of creativity as something to do with arts, crafts and hobbies, and are realizing that creativity is where we express our most authentic selves. Being creative is to go deep within ourselves and come up with new thoughts and ideas. To innovate technological solutions, to figure out a research plan , to draw, to paint, to write, to photograph, to compose, to experiment. For a scientist, a creative space can be their lab. For someone else, it can be their office. And for another, it can be a potting shed in their backyard or a corner of their dining table. A greenhouse. A dark room. A desk by a window. A space where you do the work that you love.
Whatever you love to do, to have a space that allows you to express your creativity is very important. When I think of all the rooms and even the bedroom closet (which has much more cachet after Harry Potter’s cupboard under the stairs!) that I have created to write, to photograph and to daydream in, there are three features that stand out. 1) It is a dedicated space. Meaning that once I go in there, I do what I love doing. I can sit in silence and mull things. I can write. I can stare at the pictures on the wall in search of answers. 2) It’s free of interruptions and distractions. I am not in a high-traffic area where someone can easily spot me and realize that they need me for something or the other. 3) It looks appealing- this doesn’t mean ‘decorated’. I think I’m really moving away from this idea of decor for decor’s sake. Rather, I want it to be appealing in that colors, the light, the patterns and the things in this room mean something to me. Or better still, are conducive to my creative process. Maybe they are treasured possessions that reassure. Or pictures that connect you to a pattern that only you can see.
When I think of a workspace, whether a home office or a studio or office space outside the home or a personal creative zone, I always think of bright and airy rooms. Tall ceilings, pendant lighting over a work table, and a large desk in the center of the room for the computer. All layered with textiles and art. Objects that hold memories. Inspiration boards. Whether it’s setting up a desk in a corner or an entire office space, I hope these ideas will inspire you to create a haven that recharges you, and allows your creativity to blossom. There is a quote attributed to Dr. Brene Brown, “Creativity is the way I share my soul with the world”- which, if you think about it, can mean any subject or passion that drives you. So, how do you set it up?
Setting Up A Creative Workspace:
- If you are working with a room or a set of rooms, that’s awesome! If all the space you can spare is a desk, it’s easy to create an oasis of calm and inspiration within that area too. Step 1, figure out where you are going to set up your work area. Make sure it’s not a high-traffic zone and doesn’t have too many distractions. While having an individual room is great, just demarcating a dedicated, personal space allows you to get started.
- The next step depends on what inspires you. Do you like the surface to be clutter-free? If yes, then keep only what you need on the desk- computer, office supplies, and a lamp to provide adequate lighting. Play around with colors. If you prefer a more boho style, then layering is your next step. Start by covering your table with a textile (everything in my life starts with this step!).
- If your table is against a wall, arrange art, framed posters or memorabilia in varying sizes (a up-and-down skyline kind of effect) against it. Choose art in colors that you love – I love brick-red and indigo so much and I never tire of looking at them. I like to keep postcards, fabric scraps and pictures in those colors on the table. If you have wall space, you may want to create a gallery wall of gorgeous art.
- Don’t be afraid to mix prints and patterns! My golden rule is that I stay within a color family and have fun with it.
- Next step, add plants! Having living things in your workspace is known to increase your productivity. Add flowers, shake well, and enjoy your gorgeous, personal space!
I hope you’ll enjoy creating this personal space and that you’ll have many creative adventures here in 2018. Wishing you a fabulous new year! – Best, Priya
Background: Welcome! We are now at Day 58 of the 365 Day Creativity Challenge, and I am excited and happy to have you here! I use the terms ‘creative’, ‘creativity’ or ‘creative exercise’ very loosely. While they have very specific meanings within the art or business worlds, I define it as any activity that allows us to access an inner stillness. Where the mind’s incessant chatter decreases, and for that short period of time, we are in the presence of a magnificent quietude. Where we feel joyful and recharged as if accessing a powerful, bountiful source of imagination and ideas. It makes what we do- draw, write, paint, work in a science lab, dance, sing, play music, photography etc. etc.- a spiritual experience. It has nothing to do with talent and skill level, and everything to do with joy. Whether you take part in all 365 days, or 7, 21, or 30 days, or join us when you can, I hope you will take the time to relax, slow down, and be your joyous self! Want more details? You may want to read this introduction to the 365-Day Creativity Challenge. Just as a reminder, it really helps to have a dedicated journal or notebook because you will see a continuous record of your creativity expanding and changing as you devote time to it every day. You will also be creating a year’s worth of creative work. As you work through the prompts, write down other things that strike you because you may want to revisit these ideas. Have a wonderful day and I will see you tomorrow! To share what you are doing, please use the hashtag #ctea365 on social media and /or leave me a comment below. – Priya