Sound is a huge factor in how we relate to the world around us. Countless studies have dedicated time and effort to investigate how various sounds can soothe or irritate our mental states. Some can help us focus, some provide erratic distraction. So this is a huge one to consider in regards to creating your creative safe space. What do you need in terms of sound to do your art?
For some, they need absolute silence, for others, they work best when mentally tuning out the din of a busy coffee shop.
For me? It’s a storm. The sound of downpour and thunder soothes me into a place of contentment and introspection. Whatever the opposite of Seasonal Affective Disorder is, that’s me. Shut out the summer sun, I find it exhausting. Depending on the auditory input, I can get overstimulated and overwhelmed, but given the right ingredients, I can tune out the rest of the world, and with a storm and some music to set the mood of the scene I’m writing, I’m good to go. Of course, I can’t actually summon storms (I was just as shocked as you are), so I use a handy little tool like Noisli.
Even if you’re ultimately just going to be staring at a screen, or a page of paper, the visuals of what’s around you are incredibly important. Are they too bright, too dark, too garish? Is it cluttered, is it cramped, is it too open?
These are all things to consider regarding your comfort level. I personally have a very hard time working in a cluttered space. If the area around me is full of unorganized junk, my brain is also similarly discombobulated. I’ve found I work best in a clean well-lighted place.
Though “well lighted” can mean many things depending on the person. For me, it’s soft natural light in through my window. And if it’s too late in the day for that, I respond best with soft twinkly lights about my room that give the illusion of candlelight.
Where are you sitting when you create? Are you better standing? Are you comfortable, or does your back hurt? Do you need a straight back chair, or a cozy nest of pillows? It’s important to consider longevity in regards to this as carpal tunnel and back trouble are no joke, and can create future hinderances to your creative work.
Also I have come to the realization that I REALLY need to get ready for the day, even if I’m not leaving the house. I need that shower and I REALLY need to be wearing real pants. Not cozy pants! Real, I could go out into the world and look like a regular human (within reason) pants. Otherwise I feel like I’m just drifting about until I nap/sleep again. This may not be the case for you, but there’s something about the feeling of ‘ready for the day’ clothes that helps me get to work on my art.
We all know a little about our olfactory senses and how smell can strongly link us to certain memories or emotions. So creating a scent-scape, essentially, that is you “gonna make some art now!” can be very helpful. For me? I tend to light incense before I get to work. I’m pagan and a bit of a hippie, so I will often use some “banishing” incense to send away any current anxieties or mental distractions. This ritual in itself is helpful to me but I’ve done it often enough that the scent of incense gets me in a ‘let’s get to work’ sort of mindset. Perhaps for you it’s a particular kind of scented candle you light, or perhaps you just avoid this sense all together because you find it distracting.
This may also be a back burner sort of thing for a lot of people, because it tends to have less of an impact. But for me, routine and ritual are often very helpful in coaxing my mind into a state it may be reluctant to go. So I always make myself a nice pot of tea before I dive in to writing or filming. Maybe you need that cup of coffee. Maybe it’s a hearty breakfast or meal etc. Again, you may not need it, but it’s good to take some time to think about it.
While you shouldn’t need any of these to create, and maybe you can only bring your music with you if you’re on the go, these tools can be helpful. Because when I’m in a state of absolute ennui, I’m then able to create an environment that shifts that point of view. We’re able to sort of exploit our own sense memory into pulling us out of a numb state of defeat. Because even though you might be feeling ‘blah’, your five senses say… ‘wait… no, we gotta wake up.. it’s time to do some art’.