In the ten years I’ve been writing Waiting at Hayden’s I’ve moved several times, and each time I’ve had to find a new workspace. Sometimes that workspace has been outside the house. When I was living in Charleston, South Carolina I wrote six to eight hours a day at the two-story Starbucks on King Street (that was until the barista informed me that the cookie I ordered every single day was “bad for me.” I then started going to a place called Baked on East Bay Street—not because they had healthier cookies, but because I didn’t want to feel bad about ordering my favorite sweet treat!) Other times I’ve written from home, like I often do now, in my Balboa Island cottage. But what’s remained consistent has been the feng shui of my writing space.
In a previous post I talked about the importance of supporting our creativity financially, so we don’t burden it with the added pressure of needing to support us. Another way to support it is through feng shui, which means creating or finding a space that has energy which “supports your specific activity intended for that space.”
For me, I’ve found that I write best when I’m on the second floor of a building. Why? I have literally NO IDEA! Creativity has a weird way of letting us know what it likes, almost like it’s a living, breathing thing with a distinct personality! Hotels are another place I’ve found I like to write, so I got a job teaching fitness classes at a hotel so that I could afford to check into them when I wanted.
While we all have our own style and our own needs for a creative space, we all want to LOVE the space where we create so that we create often. Below, I’m sharing some suggestions based on what’s worked for me when creating a productive workspace. I hope they help you in building yours!
1. Don’t Be Afraid to Invest in a Key Piece: I spend a lot of time at my desk when I’m writing, so I don’t feel guilty investing in a piece that I’m really drawn to and that I know I will want to sit down and work at. I love hunting for the perfect desk! I’ve found great pieces at Home Goods, Pottery Barn, on Craigslist, and at antique shops.
2. Stock Your Space With Treats: We are more likely to want to do something if we are rewarded for it. As a novelist I have yet to be rewarded (by society at least) for my work in the last ten years, so I’ve found it’s important to reward myself each time I sit down to write. I literally give myself treats throughout the day for staying seated in my chair and working (I know it sounds crazy, but it helps!) In the morning, I bring a cup of coffee to my desk. In the afternoon, I’ll have a cookie or chocolate chips. In the evening, I have happy hour! (Thank God I teach fitness classes to support my dream…) I also leave a jar of candy on my desk, which makes me more likely to want to sit down. When the writing is going well, the reward is the work itself. But when that’s not happening, sometimes food treats help.
3. Mantras: When we’re creating, we can often be really cruel to ourselves. I’ve been known to say things to myself like, “That was the worst sentence anyone has ever written. No one will want to read this. You’re never going to figure out how to write this scene!” These phrases are definitely not helpful but they’re impossible to not sometimes think, so I’ve found it’s helpful to put up positive mantras about my work around my creative space. I recently wrote a list of all the things I love about my writing and read it before I sit down to work each day.
4. Keep Your Space YOU: One thing I’ve learned this year from blogging is that what works for someone else will not always work for you. I had a photoshoot the other day in an outfit similar to one I’d seen another blogger (who I love) wear. I hated the dress on me and have never felt LESS like me. The shoot was a total fail because of this! So tap into what you like—both when you’re creating and when you’re creating your dream space.
5. Flowers: I think flowers make everything look more inviting and I want to feel drawn to my creative space. So every week I get several fresh bouquets for my house and place them everywhere that I write. I used to think it was a waste of money, but I’ve realized money isn’t wasted when fueling our creativity.
6. Make Your Space Look Like You Would Want It To Look If You Were A SUCCESSFUL Artist/Writer/Creative: I really believe that we become what we think, so make sure that you design your space as you would like it to be if your creativity was supporting you, even if it isn’t currently.
7. Coffee shops, WeWork, and other Outside the Home Workspaces: I haven’t always had space for a home office and some places I’ve lived I’ve had too many roommates to feel productive working from home. It sometimes takes me weeks when I move to a new city to find a coffee shop that has just the right energy for me to work at. I’ve been known to drive forty-five minutes just to work in an environment that serves my creativity. Test out lots of spots until you find one that feels good to you!
If you have any other tips for creating a productive workspace, I would LOVE to hear them below! Have a wonderful week, and keep creating!