Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Make yourself comfortable

Are you comfortable in your creative space?

If you have a specific room where you do your creative work, does it have comfortable seating, good lighting, and the tools that you need at hand? Does walking into the room inspire you, or does it make you feel uneasy?

If you use a computer for your creative work, are you comfortable with it? Do you know where to find all the files and applications that you might use in a project? Do you know how to use your software, or do you need to take some time to get familiar with how it works? Do you have secure backups of all of your files? Do you trust your computer to do what you need it to do -- or does the computer make you feel uneasy?

Is there anything that would make you hesitate to write down a thought in your notebook or on a piece of paper? I remember a music professor suggesting to his students that we draw musical staves on scratch paper, rather than using up a sheet of music paper for every new idea. The suggestion seemed quaint, even to poor students, but the idea behind it was solid. If you're afraid of making the first mark on a piece of paper, because the idea might look dumb and "ruin" the perfect, clean piece of paper, then you better get yourself some paper that you won't be afraid t0 use. Use scratch paper, if that makes you feel freer about scribbling down ideas. Or buy several reams of paper if that's what it take to quash your fear of "using up" your paper supply.

Getting even more abstract about the idea of "creative space," do you feel at ease in the act of creating something? Or do you worry about living up to other people's standards? Are the critical voices of music teachers, parents, peers, and critics echoing in your head as you try to create?

I could go on, but you get the idea. Make a top-to-bottom inventory of the uneasy and uncomfortable elements in your creative life — and find ways to resolve all of them.

Make yourself at home.

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