It’s tempting to think, (especially when fed other creative’s beautiful images on social media) that in order to be creative we need a special place. Not only do we need our own office/study/studio/tower/spare bedroom/garden room/attic but we need a perfectly inspiring space full of art and practical yet beautiful storage. Oh and don’t forget a beautiful view, preferably of mountains or the sea. This space must have its own desk and chair and we need all the best equipment and storage that is perfectly designed for each individual tool. And of course it’s always perfectly tidy and clean with tools at your fingertips! I’ve had this dream, and I actually have a space that could be used for this, but I don’t use it because it’s cold and it’s often a mess, it’s become storage for bits that I need to get rid of.
I’ve been too busy actually doing the work to focus on the space.
See I can use the excuse of I need to tidy my space before getting any creativity done, and sometimes that’s true. But what if we stop being creative because the space is too untidy or because we don’t have a space or it doesn’t look like it’s ‘supposed’ to?
Wouldn’t that be disappointing? I know I would feel frustrated that I hadn’t found the time to do something that I love to do, that is a form of self-care and helps me to feel that I’m contributing something.
Like most things it’s a balance. A balance between having a space but not letting our creativity get stuck in having the perfect space. A balance between starting anyway but having the space to do so. The space is meant to serve you, not you to serve the space.
So how to deal with this conundrum? Here’s my thoughts.
Simple creative space tips
Always have one table and chair where you can be creative, if you only have a few minutes. It could be a multitask space if necessary, desk/dressing table in your bedroom, a side table, or having a bookshelf in the kitchen to transfer equipment to when you need the table for meals.
If you only have 30 minutes for creativity but your space is a mess, use 15 minutes for some tidying and 15 minutes for being creative. Similarly you could schedule time to be creative in your week and make it a priority, no matter what else needs doing. There will always be cleaning to do.
Tidy as you go, I suggest having a table top bin, so that if you are making something you have a bin to put scraps in as you go.
The best storage is what you already have – recycle, move stuff from other rooms, don’t shop unless you have too. I’ve used golden syrup tins as pen pots, cake stands for storage, bookshelves with baskets for crafty bits.
Be determined to be creative despite your circumstances, because they will never be perfect, and if you wait until then you might find that your inspiration has up and left!
When you are bogged down in an admin day or chasing the children around, it’s hard to feel that you have done anything creative. You may not have time to take a breath, let alone feel that you’ve had the luxury of creative time. You haven’t noticed that you have been creative in a million little ways, but you have. When you found a solution to your child’s problem, when you made that meal, when you smiled, when you finished that spreadsheet. When you had a thought about how to do something better. Perhaps what you haven’t had time for, is the time to stop, slow and notice your creativity.
Sometimes you need those extra few seconds to breathe in that moment, so you can breathe out creativity again. Sometimes we need to be intentional about creating something that speaks to our souls.
A lot of us have a phone that takes photos. Taking a moment to take a photo is one way to notice that you are being intentionally creative. Here are some simple tips and apps to help you make pretty pictures.
Basic phone photos tips
Always shoot in good natural light, by a window or outside.
To avoid harsh shadows on a sunny day, use something to screen direct light, like a white sheet. This is my ever so fancy set up:
Think about the composition, what in the image is creating the frame, symmetry is always pleasing to the eye.
Think about the ‘grid’ of the image or divide it into thirds.
I often create ‘flat lays’ which are where you take a photo from above, of a still life that you have created on a flat surface. Not everything needs to be inside the frame, interesting photos often have items that are partially inside of the square.
Include some neutral space, think about the content in the picture, think about how people’s eyes will travel over the image.
Image editing apps
Sometimes an image may need some cropping or straightening. I use image editing apps to crop, straighten, adjust the brightness and contrast and more. I also use filters! These are the ones I use, they are affiliate links:
Snapseed – you can do a lot with this but when you are just starting it’s good for rotating photos, cropping, tuning the image (brightness, contrast) You can also add text in certain pre set styles.
ColorStory – has lots of different filters to add to your photos.
There are many apps out there for different ways to get creative with photos on your phone, these are just a few that I use.
Instagram boomerang app to create fun looping short videos.
Instagram layout to create grids of multiple photos
Giant square to divide a photo into multiple photos.
It is true though that Instagram and other social media can be detrimental to mental health and addictive. Read some tips here on how to use it healthily.
In the free gift store there are a range of free phone wallpapers for you to download, to get into the store get the password here: