Where Is Your Creative Space?

If you’re a serious creative person, you need to find the place where you do your best work. In a coffee shop, in your bedroom, in the basement, on the patio – wherever your creative juices start flowing. For me, I need complete silence. My perfect location is probably a bank vault – no music, TV, email, or other distractions.  My office is also surrounded with my books, so I have access to the information I need to create.

I was thinking about this while Kathleen and I toured the Charles Dickens Museum in London.  The photo above is his writing desk.  Here’s where a few other great writers did their best work:

Ernest Hemingway wrote at a stand up table, shifting his weight from foot to foot.
Truman Capote wrote lying down.
Jane Austen wrote in her parlor, at a small table barely large enough to hold the papers she was writing on.
Toni Morrison writes at a hotel.
Cervantes, Bunyan, and the Apostle Paul wrote in prison (not necessarily a preference.)
Annie Dillard prefers a room with no view.
Agatha Christie liked to write in the desert, where there weren’t any distractions.

I could go on and on, but the point is this:

Great creative people must discover the space where they can focus, and be most productive.

Where’s that place for you?  Share your spot for creating music, art, writing, or for making your creative gift happen. I’m curious to know what stimulates other creative people.

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  1. For me, this is a two step process. It is probably because the other spaces in my life are full of distraction, but I find that I always get creative inspiration when mowing the grass. I think the repetition and noise of the mower let all the stuff that I’ve loaded into my brain finally come out in some kind of uniform way. It sounds crazy, but I’ve started keeping a pen and paper nearby when I mow to capture thoughts which later get transformed into final product.

    I’m curious to see if this kind of thing happens to others as well.

    1. Nothing is “crazy” when it comes to creating great work. Mowing the lawn? Why not? I get most of my ideas in the shower. So you’re not as weird as you think!

  2. It’s taken me years to build my ideal workspace. 3 years ago, we found the right home for this (and other things) and that’s where I work. One of the back rooms is a converted one-car garage. That is my Writing Studio where I have a stand up desk, books, and other items for daily use.

    Another room, the size of a small bedroom, is what I call The Cave. That’s space is for reading, listening to music, and prayer.

    In my new PROLIFIC program (a deep dive into creativity & productivity), I have photos of both workspaces because I’ve been inspired by *seeing* the workspaces of others, so I added photos of my own with the hopes of inspiring others with ideas. I also have times during the year when I go off site to read and prepare for books and spoken talks. My favorite places for those “off sites” are rented rooms with balconies that overlook water (ocean, lake, gulf, etc.).

      1. Indeed. I’ve found that a well-suited workspace is essential for productivity and creativity. This includes the lighting (I use certain lights in mine), the color of the walls, what’s on the walls (I’ve got plaques that I find inspiring), etc. There’s a lot to it.

  3. Whilst juggling everything else in life, I find the 5am-7am time slot the most tranquil. Coffee on the back patio overlooking the pool and foliage, and a continuous loop of somberly uplifting instrumental music from some of my favorite films…

  4. I get up at 4 am on most days to beat the rush. I work in my home office with a large screen computer and plenty of coffee. But I’ve learned to be quite productive on planes with thick earplugs and strong Wi-Fi in an aisle seat.

  5. I’d have to say that my creative space is between my ears. I say that only partially in jest because I find that my internal environment plays a much greater role in creativity than my external environment. I tend to self-distract so even a perfectly quiet room can be distracting for me. Often I find my most creative space in a busy coffee shop with a moderate level of background noise. I can tune out the noise and it keeps me from self-distracting. Go figure.

    1. I can’t remember where, but recently I actually read research that for some people, the background conversational roar of a coffee shop is very stimulating creatively. Doesn’t work for me, but sounds perfect for you! Thanks for sharing!

  6. I used to need / desire a highly creative space to do my best work, but recently pace just doesn’t allow such luxuries and ‘creative space’ becomes wherever I am, at any and all hours of the day / night.

    A coffee shop – headphones on blasting one of my favorite Pandora stations (Pete Yorn, Regina Spektor, or Dolly Parton) – is definitely where I feel the most creative when coming up with ideas for new designs or material. I’m guessing is a combo of strong coffee and the early morning energy; or if in the evening, the coolness of night and the intrigue of the stories all around me.

    The laptop is only appropriate for so long, though, and eventually back to the office: large monitors, closed door, soft lamp, more coffee (of course), and other than quiet music, no distractions or interruptions are key. Have always found it interesting that I get so much creative energy from a loud coffee shop, but when in the office, nearly any noise becomes very annoying. Go figure!

    1. Great story Kristine. Having that ULTIMATE environment where creativity happens is best. Being able to adapt to different situations is the mark of the great creative thinkers.
      Thanks for the comment!

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