Making Creative Space

“Make an empty space in any corner of your mind, and creativity will instantly fill it.”

Dee Hock

Yesterday, I spent the better part of morning organizing my apartment’s work environment. I don’t have a lot of space, a cubby corner sandwiched in-between two windows, so a tidy and intentional area is key. Making art is something I’ve been pursuing more and more, and I wanted to make sure everything was accessible and open. Otherwise, creating feels like a chore.

I’ve discovered over the last couple years that I’m at my most creative when I have everything ready to go and in arms reach. The fewer obstructions I have to get from A to B (from an idea / desire to make, and from the tools, instruments, materials and space needed) the greater chance I’ll follow through. If I lean a guitar next to my desk I’ll inevitably pick it up and start playing. Put a blank piece of paper in front of me and give me some space and I’ll eventually write ideas on it.

We often point to and blame all these big reasons why we can’t work on our dreams yet — ’I don’t have enough money’, ‘I’m not old enough / I’m too old’, ‘I’m not smart enough yet’ — but in reality its the little things, like our environment, that are the true cause of our inability to act.

There’s this inherent unwanted laziness that comes with creating. I don’t have a lazy bone in my body, but when I have to dig around for some sketch paper, or if my guitar is in its case, or if my desk has no room for me to write, I’m less likely to do it.

You can see this pattern in many areas of life:

Health: We hang clothes on our treadmill or weight rack. We don’t know where our workout shoes are when it’s time to run. We keep ice cream and candy in the house instead of healthy foods.

Community: Our days are crammed with work or traveling to and from work. We have work meetings on top of meetings. When we are not working, we are scrolling. And with every second of our day stuffed like a turkey with immediacy, we neglect the important connections of friends and family.

Perhaps we aren’t a couch potato — we’ve just have physically prioritized watching TV over working on our side-business.

Space should reflect priority. We need to give ourselves the space we need to thrive in art, work and life. Physical space, mental space, time, solitude…

By giving yourself the space to create, you’ve created a safe haven for ideas. Prioritize space and you’ll start bursting with ideas and can’t help but lose yourself in creating.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner

Daily Blog #673

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Grumpy Pants

One thing I’ve learned about myself is I️ need space for Josh time to read, write and have space for thoughts without interruption.

I’d call myself an ambivert — outgoing introvert —  so that makes sense. Anytime I️ don’t make space for myself (like today) I️ start feeling frustrated and put on my grumpy pants.  I’m short, distant and an all-around Scrooge McDuck. It’s like I’m hangry, except I’m hangry for silence and books. 
Reading, Writing, Music, and Reflecting is how to replenish. I️ don’t mean to be a grumpy pants, but whenever I️ don’t make the space to recharge I️ start losing my sanity when I️ try to write or read with a steady stream of interruptions for everyone (and every dog) around me. Don’t get me wrong it’s not them — it’s me. The last thing I️ should be doing is trying to write at my grandparents while my sister is watching a Hallmark Christmas movie, my other sister is asking me for the WiFi password, my dog Ren is nosing me to play with her, and my mom is asking me questions.

But what’s a grumpy pants to do?
I️ don’t know if I️ have a great strategy to overcome the grump grumps, but here are two things I’m trying to improve upon:

1. Let go of what I can’t control.

Focus on only things you can control, and let go of what you can’t. What’s important to you is important, but it’s not as important as the time you can spend with your loved ones.

2. Make space for what’s important to me.

We tend to fill up idle time with todos. If it doesn’t get scheduled, it doesn’t happen. If you don’t *make* time for what’s important to you, you’re not going to have the time. (Extra free time won’t fall out of your 👖ss)

Certainly a work in progress for me, but necessary for myself and the sanity of those around me. Ha 🙂

Keep Pursuing,

— Josh Waggoner

Related Wisdom:

“Happiness and freedom begin with a clear understanding of one principle: Some things are within our control, and some things are not. It is only after you have faced up to this fundamental rule and learned to distinguish between what you can and can’t control that inner tranquility and outer effectiveness become possible.”Epictetus