Over the past month or so my apartment – my space – has been in a total state of transition. Furniture, no furniture, total anarchic mess, clean and beautiful. It’s been everything. Finally it feels like everything is settling down, and I want to focus during the fall on creating a space that feels like me. A space that allows me to move and breathe and create.
Make yourself comfortable.
First things first – your creative space should fit you, not the other way around. I have a couch, but I prefer sitting on a couch cushion on the floor. That’s fine. Do what you like.
Keep what inspires you close.
Textures, shapes, colors – I love bright whites, natural wood, plants, and copper (those salt and pepper shakers are completely empty, but I love having them around).
But don’t keep everything close.
Remove things instead of adding them. Sometimes having stuff around provides your mind with some visual noise, like the ambient noise in a coffee shop, that makes it easier to focus. But too many things – books, decorations, furniture – can become overwhelming. Start by throwing away one thing a day for a week – papers, books, anything you don’t absolutely love. There are also some great ways to start de-cluttering your space in only five minutes on ZenHabits. My favorite is Start Clearing a Starting Zone. Your job is to create one space in your house where nothing can sit unless it is being actively used. Keep it that way. Don’t let things pile up on your space. Each day expand the spot until you have a huge no-clutter zone.
Develop a spot for everything.
Madeline from the Collegiate Vegan has been reading this book lately about tidying up and making your life clean. Warning: This is a retelling of a retelling of this book, so you know it’s about to get good. Basically, if everything has a place, you will remember to put it there. If your books have a place and your silverware has a place and your chairs have a place, your space will be clean. Or, at least, when it isn’t clean, you’ll know how to fix it. I multi-task a lot when I want to be creative – I’ll move from writing words to writing music to painting and then back to writing music – so I like to have a lot of things around me, but everything has a spot so I can return to relative normalcy at the end of the day.
I have always been one to fill notebooks to the brim with words. Songs, poetry, snapshots of the day. But I have always been a words person – not a drawer, not a painter, not a creator of things. But over the past month or so, I have had such an urge to create. I picked up a watercolor set on a whim a couple of weeks ago and I did it – I started painted when I felt the need to paint.
If you need a creative pick-me-up, here’s what I found:
You don’t need to invest a lot into something new.
Don’t invest a lot of money and don’t invest a lot of time. I bought a watercolor set for $4 at Target and spent 10 minutes painting my first night. I thought, if I hate this I didn’t spend a lot of money or time figuring that out. But I didn’t hate it – I loved it. And I came back to do it again the next day. I watercolor to bask in happiness and to worry and to pray.
If you feel drawn to something creative, just try it out.
Start small and make your own rules.
Notice – I didn’t start by trying to watercolor the city skyline. I used only the colors I needed and painted only what I could. To start, express what you need to express and don’t worry about being good. If you really get into it and want to develop some serious technical skills, you can. But don’t expect to be good any time soon.
I had an interesting conversation a couple of months ago, and it’s been stuck in my head ever since. A friend of mine had just started a new job, and he wanted desperately to be good at it. He wanted to be good at his job, and he wanted to be happy, and he was nervous that those might not be the same thing.
“What’s the difference,” he asked, “between something that makes you happy and something that’s rewarding?”
I found some words I wrote during the road trip and thought I would share. They’re pertinent whether or not you’re on the road. I have been so focused the past few weeks. Summer feels like it’s spinning to a close, so soak it all up. New roommates are moving in, so get your life together and don’t leave leftovers in the fridge for that long. The fall is coming up, so find the perfect sweater and buckle up.
Instagram gets a bad rep sometimes. People say photos are replacing memories and Instagram is replacing our presence in beautiful moments. Photos should never take the place of presence, of appreciating an event. But don’t be shy about taking pictures of details – things you might forget like the huge head of foam on your beer after a long day of driving or the pattern of the floor in that cute shop in Boise. Taking pictures can help you stay aware of little things – details, textures, and colors. (more…)
The crazy parts of your brain come out to play after twelve hours in a car. Sarah and I spent over a hundred hours in the car over the course of just a few short weeks. If we’re experts at anything, it’s how to be in a car with one other person. Over that time, I learned so much from her about how to appreciate (and become) an awesome co-pilot. Here are a few tips for how to love your trip (and each other): (more…)
Naturally, this means I think I know everything there is to know on the subject and feel the need to share all of my newly discovered wisdom on the topic.
Unfortunately, all I can do is share our experiences. Let’s start with preparation. To be honest, we didn’t do a lot of it, but I think that was for the better. We scheduled a couple of Airbnbs throughout the trip, scheduled the basic outline of our days, but didn’t plan much in the way of activities or meals. Here’s what we DID prepare: (more…)
Hi, friends! It’s been a while since Thursday Tidbits showed their face. It’s high time for some important things and some completely not important things.
Wes Anderson designed a cafe and it’s just about the most delightful thing ever. So many pastels.
I saw Mad Max a week or so ago and, since then, I’ve been telling everyone to see it. I think action movies are usually entertaining but ultimately forgettable. Fury Road finally combined explosions with incredible female characters and I’m really excited about it. Here’s a review on the Roger Ebert site that I think does it justice.
Day one of the cross-country road trip brought us to Crater Lake, the deepest lake in the United States. It’s a collapsed volcano that filled with snow and rainwater until the basin was full of clear, fresh, beautiful water. This made for some completely beautiful photo ops. (more…)
Sarah and I have driven between Portland and Eugene a couple of times in the past week. While the state is beautiful regardless of where you drive, we were looking for a change of pace. So we headed out to the coast. (more…)