I have a confession to make: if I don’t have an aesthetically pleasing space in which to create, it causes me to become really, really stagnant. I don’t think I’m alone in that. I think there are plenty of people in the world who struggle with feeling inspired by their surroundings when it comes to producing creative works. I’ve discovered in the last several weeks, since turning my life upside-down and essentially starting fresh, that I work best when I have a space to call mine.
The above photo was taken two weeks ago, after an initial afternoon spent dedicated to making my new desk space as inspirational and friendly as possible. The vintage desk was gifted to me by my partner’s mother, and it snuggled quite happily into the wall space between the door of the office and the closet (which will eventually be organized to hold office and studio supplies). I spent hours arranging photos and mementos that inspire and energize me to hang above the desk; I’ve since added a secular saints Shakespeare candle to the mix, as well as my college graduation tassels (hung well above cat-eye level, since Tommen quite likes to jump up and play with anything dangling on the walls).
I love this space. It feels welcoming and cozy and inviting and it’s the first real work space I’ve had since I was in college. I feel inspired to create in this space. I’ve suffered from writers block in almost every area for a long, long time, but sitting at this desk makes me feel like I can focus on the various writing projects that I’ve taken on. It makes me feel like I can focus on writing this blog! I want to make The Verbal Thing into a more active blogging space with more consistent posts and a larger variety of topics. I say that all the time, and to be honest, I don’t know how much of that I’ll be able to accomplish given that I now work two jobs. But the changes I’m making in my life all feel positive, and I feel energetic and inspired and like I’m finally re-learning how to manage my time well outside of work. I can only hope that trend continues.
A major focus of the wall above my desk is being kind to myself. Setting goals is important and meeting those goals is especially important, but I am attempting to be more realistic about my expectations (of myself and of others) and I am also attempting to be less hard on myself when I don’t succeed as much as I might want to at any given thing. For example: I’m working on learning more recipes and developing my own to share with you all; sometimes, those recipes turn out beautifully. Sometimes, they don’t and we have to order out for pizza or eat toast. I’m aiming to be less downtrodden over the attempts that don’t work out, because that puts me in a foul mood that’s not good for me or my partner or my cats. The majority of the wall above my desk is made up of cork boards; the one that’s directly at eye-level features some important words of wisdom and some fond memories to keep me on track when I get distracted or distressed.
The ability to look up at some of the things on this wall as I’m working on projects, paying bills, or even just browsing the Internet has proven really therapeutic. I firmly believe that the time spent laying out these cork boards was time well-spent. (Although I discovered yesterday that the cork boards are crooked. I don’t know how I managed that, but I’m not willing to take everything down in order to shift them less than a quarter of an inch to the right in order to fix the issue. Crooked they shall be. See? I’m getting better at not being so hard on myself! I am!)
In addition to organizing my work space, I also broke down and bought a paper planner for myself. At the start of the year, I said I would use my iPhone for scheduling, list-making, and due date minding. I failed miserably. I’ve gotten so used to using a planner (Moleskine brand planners, to be specific) that trying to make the switch to my phone just didn’t fly. Luckily, I found an 18-month Moleskine planner (in my beloved red) that begins in July 2015 and runs all the way through December 2016, which means I’m not wasting money and I’m not stuck buying academic planners year after year! Hell yeah!
Writing things down again has made a huge difference in my focus and my time management. On Saturday, I woke up and had enough time to clean my entire apartment and wash/dry/fold laundry all before I had to leave for work. That may not seem like a huge accomplishment, but for me it felt monumental.
Getting organized plays such a major role in every part of a person’s life. I’m pumped to be at this point and feel like things can only move up from here, which is a far cry from where I was even a few weeks ago. I’m sharing these developments on The Verbal Thing as a kick-off point for where I want the blog to go in the near and far future. I’m dedicating myself to a number of things right now, but for once it doesn’t feel completely overwhelming. I like that. I like that a lot. Here’s to an organized future!