I’ve been talking to people who don’t think they are very creative for the last few weeks, and today I want to talk briefly about your environment. Previously we decided that creativity = applied imagination, that you have to get out of your own way, and that you should major in a creative field of your own choice.
I’m typing this in my creative studio, actually a spare bedroom that I commandeered to be my writing space. It has my 2 favorite Ikea chairs, an antique architect desk, a wall map of the world, my guitars, paintings from local artists, live plants, Buddha and angel statues, and incense is burning. When I walk into the room, I know it is time to write, and even on days like today, when my summer allergies are especially yucky, I find myself going to work when I come in the room. There is a certain amount of discipline that goes with getting to the applied part of applied imagination and I have found that having the right work space makes all the difference.
That’s not to say that inspiration can’t strike anywhere or that you can’t do your work wherever and whenever it has to come out, its just that having a place, even if it just your kitchen table, to do your work is a great way to make sure you go into flow, that state of mind where inspiration simply flows through you. My family knows, if I am in my studio, I am probably writing and they respect that. Part of your environment is getting a buy in from those around you. Your family, co-workers, roommates and especially your partner need to respect your workspace and your creative time and you need to negotiate a time and place to let your Creative Beast out. This is up to you, be strong on this one, let the people in your world know that everyone will be happier if you get some time to create. Much happier.
Finally, part of your environment is the right tools. Whether it is a computer, the right paintbrushes or a dance bar, you need to make sure you have the right equipment. Looking for the right tool or trying to improvise can often be too distracting. For example, I am typing this on a Mac and using a software application called “IA Writer.” I love it because it is ridiculously stripped down and simple. You type, there are no settings or formats to distract you. As you type, IA Writer highlights the sentence you are typing with a brighter light, the previous sentences fade into the background. When I am done, I copy and paste the product to my other software and I’m able to take all of the design and formatting questions out of the writing process. (There is nothing more frustrating than getting some kind of evil Microsoft Word formatting issue in the middle of a really good idea. “No, I don’t want bullets!”)
SO: my advice today is to go to your room and make something. We need you, the world is waiting for something to come out of that marvelously unique and talented brain of yours!