Six Steps to Creating a Creative Space

Sometimes what we believe to be the most creative environment turns out to be the least creative and we find ourselves staring at the items on our desk, the ceiling or even busying yourself with an irrelevant BuzzFeed about cats. You know the days I’m talking about, where you tap your fingers on your desk for 30-minute intervals, stare at your blank screen frustrated because you no longer have the ability to look at an apple and spare an idea. You pull your hair out looking for anything! Something to spark a small inspiration in your day; A “Eureka!” moment.

I know those days all too well…

It never occurred to me until I was away overseas for the summer. I realized everything I looked at made me feel the impulsive need to be creative. I even wanted to paint… How could I bottle all of this overwhelming creative inspiration and bring it back to my desk? I couldn’t.So I began to think of ways of how I could re-adjust my creative space to reflect what I needed to be inspired.

If you look at some of the most creative minds over the span of a century one thing they all have in common with their respected work environments is that, the spaces in which they were/are most creative is their own. They’re a cluster of the most inspiring visuals for painters, walls of bookcases that hold some of the world’s most influential writers, some of them are even as minimal as a desk, blank sheet of paper and a pen. What I found so compelling is that here at my desk all I have are a couple of photos…a couple from the events we did last year and a staples catalogue. How can I bring the inspiration I had when I was overseas right here, where I actually needed it? I created a list of the things I began to do to help breed creativity at my desk:

Thought Provoke – Place something thought provoking on your desk, anything at all really that makes you question it’s purpose and gets your brain stimulating. Some people use random objects, others use inspiring quotes – I like to use my notebook. Some of my best work tends to come from the nonsense that I write down over time. Check out, sometimes the best way to start the day is by getting inspiration from the outside world.

Colour your world – Some of you may stare at a bland wall all day or the sides of your cubicle – When I was overseas I couldn’t comprehend the amount of colour that was literally everywhere. I would walk outside my room and there were magenta flowers spread across every inch of my patio, the sand was a charcoal colour that matched the mountainous view behind me. The water sparkled like diamonds when the sun would stroke down on its mass. Not to rub it in, but it was one of the most breathtaking sights one set of eyes could process. Add a little colour to spruce up your creative space the outcome will be well worth it.

Nail & Hammer – Ensure you have all the tools you need to be successful with your creativity. Be that paint brushes, writing utensils, pens, paper, computer whatever your heart desires. But they should also include a proper chair, something ergonomically friendly so your back doesn’t break over the endless hours of mind blasting ingeniousness.

Where words fail, music speaks – As a visual learner it took me a very long time to find the right type of music to spark creativity. Now I can listen to pretty much anything and it will provoke some form of visual for me. Not only can I write to AC/DC I can help my production team with visuals just by listening to a song. Do you ever find yourself driving home, sitting in traffic zoning out to a song? And out of no where all the ideas you needed at the office flood in and you can barely contain the excitement you need to write them down? Imagine having the ability to do that at work every day? Find your zone music and I can pretty much promise the creativity will spill out of you. I used AC/DC as an example but most visual/creative workers find sweet harmony in ambience music, mood music and songs without lyrics. Give it a try you won’t be disappointed.

Get Comfortable – Let’s be honest. You spend more time with your desk and computer than you do at home on your internationally imported couch. The space you find yourself in most is the space you should be most comfortable. We spend boundless amounts of money and time creating a space at home that we love. We literally will go to the ends of the earth to ensure our comfort is top priority, yet we spend less time in the space we have made comfortable and more time in a space that isn’t comfortable. Now, I’m not saying to not to make your home comfortable – it absolutely should be. It is your retreat, your sanctuary to say…but why not create the same type of comfort in your workplace? Some employers may not allow you to bring in your bed and espresso machine, understandable. What I am saying, is bring something that comforts you; slippers, a table lamp, maybe even a baby fern. Whatever it is, just make it comfortable for you. You should feel as comfortable in your creative space as you do at home with your feet up. Feeling relaxed will lessen the stresses of deadlines and the anxiety of writers block.

Brand Yourself – What does your personal brand look like? You are only as creative as you believe to be. When I began writing and really tapping into my creativity I needed to remind myself daily what I was going to do with it. Some days I would wake up and say, “Today is the day I am going to write something brilliant! I am going to photograph something beautiful! Today I am going to think outside the box.” When you think about branding yourself, think about what you stand for day-to-day. I can happily say I wake up every day now knowing who I am because of my own personal mantra/brand: “Living life outside the box” – Whatever you believe you stand for when it comes to creativity, brand it. Put your name all over it and own it. At the end of the day if you wrote something brilliant, or took a beautiful photo – you know you set out to fulfill your personal brand. There is a great article on personal branding here that involves all the steps to successfully brand yourself.

C.J. Heck once said, “We are all products of our environment.” Therefore, I suggest, don’t be a boring one!