“For, like all great artists, he was easily impressed by his surroundings…” (Doctor Watson, from Sherlock Holmes, by Arthur Conan Doyle)
After writing three books, and working hard to polish off the next one in the series (The Change Series), I can honestly say that the quote from Arthur Conans Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes collection is correct. For creative work, you need the right space to aid the production of the work you are setting out to achieve.
You also need the right support system, but that can be covered another time – see the acknowledgements in the back of my books to see what I mean!
For example, some painters may prefer to create their images in bright, well-lit spaces. Others may prefer darker atmospheres when their art takes them that way.
For me, I prefer writing in places where I can see the world going on around me, but from a quiet area. For example, I love writing at home from my arm-chair, where my apartment lounge window affords me a great view of the Melbourne city skyline. Another location I have truly made some leap and bounds in my writing was a New Year’s holiday in Vanuatu, where I loved to get up early and sit on the deck at the resort restaurant and write, looking up occasionally to gaze at the ocean.
Apparently the location was so good that I never noticed my partner (then someone who I had just met at a friend’s wedding) trying to catch my eye so he could invite himself over to my table to have breakfast with me.
I did get a lot of work done, because I was so in the zone. Oh, and we did end up having breakfast together eventually!
A good location, with the right atmosphere, will relax and motivate you at the same time, maximizing your creativity.
A second great way to improve a good location is to block out the world around with music. I love doing this when I have an amazing view and usually play my writing sound track.
Another lesson I’ve learnt in order to maximise the value of each writing session is to know the time it takes to sink into the groove. The brain is similar to a muscle – it needs to be primed and warmed up and allowed time to get into a rhythm. Just like settling in to read a good book! You don’t want to spend all that time settling in just to read a few pages, you want to get through at least a chapter or two. Writing is the same for me. I need to set myself up, get into the groove and then have a nice, long run at it.
Of course, there is the exception where I wake up with an idea in mind and need to scramble for a pen and paper!
But for those of you who may be struggling to help that creative side of yourself come out, keep in mind the lessons I covered above – find the location and atmosphere that works for you, use music, whatever you need. But give yourself the time and space, and tell others to give you the time and space, that you need to have your best self come out in your creative works.
For whatever project it is, best of luck to you!