creative space

January 17, 2008 | 2 Comments

At the core of creativity is finding the space to bring ideas to life. Creative expression doesn’t happen for me unless I give it the space to take shape.

I’ve already mentioned it, but I use GTD methods to help my creative process. Not only do they help me diligently capture ideas as they come to me, but they also help me free my mind of details to focus on forming and expressing those ideas.

More and more, I am learning that a good physical space is just as important as a cleared mental space. When my desk or office is cluttered, it is not only distracting, but it also is like slow emotional leak that drains motivation. I recently read Peter Walsh’s It’s All Too Much. The book is mostly common sense and a few new ideas, but it provided the motivation I needed to clear away the clutter for a fresh workspace. On the same note, I get a regular reminder to battle clutter from the daily posts at Unclutterer.

  • Bam

    >> …it also is like a slow emotional leak that drains motivation.

    Man, can I definitely relate to this sentiment! (as another reader of Unclutterer via LifeRemix).

    Tara and I happen to be innately different in this regard… although as our marriage has progressed, we’ve worn off on each other a bit. She used to get so frustrated at me back in our undergrad days when I would have a major project due the next morning, yet I would invariably have to spend time organizing and cleaning my room before I could “emotionally” focus on the task at hand. She was convinced that I embodied an acute case of OCD (which could very well be:-), but regardless, I knew I could focus more if I got my physical surroundings in better shape.

    The counterpoint to all of this is that my need to organize my space more than likely displays my tendency (or need?) to exert control over my surroundings before I feel comfortable. And that if I could simply adjust my tendencies to not be as intensely affected by my environment, then I may actually become more productive, efficient, and perhaps even more creative.

    Some of my most creative (and prolific) friends (be they writers, composers, or visual artists) are incredibly unhampered by clutter. It’s almost as if their (what I would call) chaotic surroundings allow them to feel more freedom in thought and action. I marvel at this, but I just can’t empathize.

    I guess my conclusion is that we’re all different, and we can all probably stand to loosen/tighten up our situations as appropriate. Because the ultimate goal is to create! And people like me may struggle to create because we get too caught up in cleaning our environment, and people on the other end of the spectrum struggle to create because they can’t find A SINGLE pencil:-)

    Ha, this has turned out to be a long comment… and a pretty strong argument for why I should seek professional help! Keep the thoughts comin’, Rev. Chandler.

  • John

    Thanks Adam. There are proponents out there of the fact that chaos leads to creativity, but I’m not sure it is true for me. There is a book called “A Perfect Mess” that seems to make that case…hopefully I’ll get a chance to read it soon and share some thoughts.