“Clear out a corner of your mind and creativity will instantly fill it.” Dee Hock
We all have creative energies within but the challenge is learning how to tap into them. My writing space is just one of the areas that help me connect with my creativity.
An upstairs office, overlooking the woods that surround our home provides me with a window to the outside world, keeping me connected with nature and its changing seasons. The fact that it is upstairs helps me to block out interruptions as I close the door to the downstairs’ commotion and enter into solitude. I am surrounded by book shelves, files, posters of mandalas and writing exercises I have done, including a trifold cardboard storyboard with bright yellow stars that map out my memoir-in-progress. Pictures of family and friends along with my blog schedule and list of to-dos for the week adorn the window and walls.
In this space, I am inspired by the solitude and dedication to my writing that each artifact represents- my computer, printer, notebooks of vignettes, a bookcase filled with writing resources. I keep my iPad handy in case I want to tune into Pandora radio as background music. A gold crucifix, an angel statue, a lighthouse knick knack, a teacup candle with inspiration emblazoned across the cup all serve to remind me of my purpose in writing- to share my hope and faith with others.
As you can see from my picture, there is some clutter. That was after I cleaned it up. So clutter is my biggest challenge. Even though we live in a digital world, I still feel the need to make hard copies of my work. This necessitates files, file cabinets and space-occupying clutter. Before I can really focus on my work at hand, I have to spend some time, clearing the space. The way I see it, my work space is an extension of me and my mind so if it is messy, I feel out of sorts. Sifting and sorting through the piles of papers and organizing them helps me to clear my mind and feel in better control. Another challenge is staying off the internet to minimize distractions and stay focused on the writing. I use Rescue Time, a time management accountability system that provides me with weekly reports via email on my productivity and how much time I spend writing vs. internet activities.
I have written three-plus years of weekly blog posts, crafted my memoir-in-progress, now in its first revision review with my manuscript editor and launched my career as a writer in this space.
But sometimes, the writing space is not enough to stimulate creativity. Sometimes I need to walk away and let my work “marinate”; sometimes I need to leave my sacred space and take a walk in the woods, or play my piano or listen to music.
I’ve learned to listen to what my body tells me about when I need to burrow myself in my office or when I need to walk away. My creative space can be found in many different places. Some of my best ideas have been spawned during a walk in the woods or as I’m lying in bed trying to go to sleep. When the muse comes, I’ve learned to listen and keep a notebook handy to jot it all down.
Kathleen Pooler is a writer and a retired Family Nurse Practitioner who is working on a memoir about how the power of hope through her faith in God has helped her to transform, heal and transcend life’s obstacles and disappointments: divorce, single parenting, loving and letting go of an alcoholic son, cancer and heart failure to live a life of joy and contentment. She believes that hope matters and that we are all strengthened and enlightened when we share our stories.
One of her stories “The Stone on the Shore” is published in the anthology: “The Woman I’ve Become: 37 Women Share Their Journeys From Toxic Relationships to Self-Empowerment” by Pat LaPointe, 2012.
Another story: “Choices and Chances” is published in the mini-anthology: “My Gutsy Story” by Sonia Marsh, 2012.