Dixie Darr

In creativity, Home, work on July 20, 2007 at 10:59 am

Building a Nest

“Ah! There is nothing like staying at home for real comfort.”

Jane Austen

Every summer, my friend Chris and her husband Peter spend the month of July at the same lakeside cottage in Maine. They read, play on the lake, take walks and naps and just relax. They take a cell phone, but no computer.

As soon as they arrive from their home in New Jersey, they set about changing the house (as tiny as a dollhouse, according to Chris) from a generic, tacky summer cottage into their home. They remove the furniture, pictures, knickknacks and dishes to a storage facility and replace everything with their own stuff. This takes about five hours.

At the end of their vacation, they reverse the process, replacing the original furnishings and putting their belongings into the storage unit. They do this because their surroundings are very important to their state of mind.

The way we decorate and live in our houses, studios and offices affects our mental states more than we may realize. I’m pretty sure I couldn’t get much done in a beige room. I need color, plus lots of books and paper and (colorful) pens and music and natural light and my computer. My cats are also a nice addition, although I frequently have to shoo them off the desktop.

When I ask my students to design their ideal learning space, they always include music and elements of nature such as plants or aquariums or windows facing trees and gardens.

Think about the kind of environment that makes you feel most creative and productive. Start by imagining what you would like if money were no object. Then see which of the elements you can incorporate into your work space, now.

According to Pregnancy Weekly, the nesting instinct kicks in at about 5 months, with “an uncontrollable urge . . . to prepare a nest for the new baby, to tie up loose ends of old projects and to organize your world.” Since many people refer to creative projects of all sorts as their babies, it isn’t too far fetched to think about designing a nurturing nest where your creativity can thrive.

© Copyright 2007 Dixie Darr. All rights reserved

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