A couple of years ago, when I took my first “professional” writing job with a marketing company, I learned a very important lesson about the creative process. Up until that job, I’d worked in the IT industry, which doesn’t place a high premium on creativity. I’d never been in a position where I had to apply my creativity basically on-demand. In the beginning, I’ll admit – I struggled with it. As our company grew, we moved into a new office suite and I gave up the opportunity to have a real office in lieu of us having a dedicated room to do video production. I was cordially presented with a cubicle that I was told I “could decorate however I wanted.” So, after everyone left the office for the day I did the only thing I could think to do: I turned it into a duck blind.
Buy an “Intelligence is sexy” t-shirt!
What originally started off as joke truly became my “happy place.” There was just something about ducking into my little duck blind desk that inspired something in my brain. It was like an athlete walking onto the field. I never realized how important a “happy place” could really be to the creative process until I left that company and the duck blind behind. If you do any kind of creative work, your surroundings can have a serious impact on what it is that you create. Now that I work from home, I am again inspired to recapture that creative vibe that the duck blind fostered.
Now, I know that not everyone has the ability to build a hut out of their desk. I am here to tell you, though – having a “happy place” is important to creativity.
Creates a Rhythm for your Brain
There is something about having a dedicated work space when you do creative work. Artists have their studios. Woodworkers have their shops. It’s a specified place set aside to work. When you get into the habit of working in a specific space, your brain develops the same rhythm that an office worker develops when they sit down at their desk. Our brains are funny in that they can be trained like that. The point I’m trying to make here is that when you have a place that is conducive to the work you are doing, you’ll find that your brain switches into the creative gear much easier than it does if you’re constantly moving around while you work.
For some people, one of the challenging things about doing creative work is the lack of a set schedule. Inspiration doesn’t pay attention to clocks. Short of having deadlines, creative work is a free-flowing endeavor. Having dedicated workspace is a great way to wrangle that inspiration, or, at least, provide some structure for it. I used to be one of those people that took their laptop everywhere they went in an attempt to catch inspiration wherever it might be hiding. The truth is, I found it harder to focus when I was away from my dedicated work space.
Read: Seven simple things happy, healthy people do every morning.
Place to Escape From
As important as it is to have a place to work, we all need a place to walk away from. If you work wherever you go, how do you ever stop working? That’s the really great thing about having a dedicated workspace: you can get away from it. Creativity is unique in that it is finite. Walking away from what you do for a bit is often times the best way to get that spark back. Yes, I believe wholeheartedly in capturing inspiration wherever you can find it, but you have to get out and get away from your desk to find it.