In her seminal creativity book The Artist’s Way, Julia Cameron describes creativity as a sensual, whole-body experience to be honored and celebrated. One important way to honor and celebrate our creativity is to designate a specific location reserved for creative work. Once we identify that special place, we can fine tune its sensory qualities to help trigger our creativity and reach that elusive state of creative flow.
You might be using an entire room for your creative activities, or you might have just a small corner devoted to it. Either way, giving your creativity a special place validates its importance. The special sense of place distinguishes your creative work from your other daily activities, and the physical separation encourages your creativity each time you enter the creative space.
Next, by using your senses, you can refine your creative space so it suits you to perfection. Consider the following points as a guide to creating your ideal sensory experience where you can slip quickly and easily into that sensual whole-body state of creative flow.
Begin with your favorite colors. You might prefer the calm of soft blue walls, or perhaps the energy of passionate red. Add color where it pleases you: a bright rug, a pillow, the desk blotter, a window shade, wall art; on your backpack, storage boxes, lamp shade, laptop, journal cover.
Feed your inner artist with images. If there is a window, how does it frame the view? Would a painting or photograph, a collage or other artwork stimulate your imagination?
Find the right equipment. A welcoming chair, a smooth writing surface, the perfectly angled easel, the best lighting; these ergonomic adjustments eliminate annoyances and enhance the functionality of the space. They also engage and please the senses, easing your path to creativity.
Listen well. Pay attention to the sounds around you. Play your favorite music or experiment with “white noise” such as a bubbling fountain or a recording of ocean waves; or perhaps you prefer the background noise of a bustling coffee shop or whispering trees. Use sound to build ambiance and shape your private creative world.
Creature comforts count! Pamper your skin with cooling breezes in summer and a soft fuzzy sweater in autumn. In winter, enjoy the radiant warmth of a fireplace or keep your toes toasty with a space heater. During mild weather, open the windows or use a fan to keep the air moving and fresh. Wear comfy shoes, or no shoes at all!
Scent is evocative. Add fragrance with fresh flowers or smoldering incense, perhaps a scented candle, a drop of essential oil, or the aroma of a simmering casserole… or good coffee. What scent reminds you of your absolute most favorite place?
All in good taste. Let the perfect cup of coffee please your palate, or treat your taste buds to healthy fruit or crisp veggies, an herbal tea or icy cool water. Flavors are as evocative as scents, powerful stimulators capable of awakening and reviving sensory memories – and emotions.
Set up a display. Collect an array of favorite objects to provide visual and tactile stimulation. Keep the things that please you most close at hand, the images and objects you love to look at and touch, favorite mementos and talismans, touchstones, fun bits, gaudy trinkets. And absolutely gather together special items for any creativity rituals you follow.
It is essential to find an amenable spot to work, a place where you honor and celebrate your creativity, a place where you intentionally affirm and encourage your creativity. Whether you maintain a simple little nook for your creativity, share a studio, or go all out and custom build a large and elaborate work place of your own, do whatever you can to enhance the sensory elements of your creative space. Use these tips to nurture your sensual inner artist with comfort – and joy!
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