A chair pulled up to a piano with a green plant hanging over the side

Being confined to your home does not have to be monotonous, nor meaningless.  It could be one of the most creatively inspired or self-reflective times of one’s life. You may be asking yourself, “How can I be more creative at home while I’m at home?” Here are four tips to think about: Mindset, Mapping, Materials and Magic!

Before we get to the four Ms, let’s discuss how you got here. You may be confined to your home because you are in quarantine and are following appropriate public health norms. It might have been suggested for you to stay indoors because you are recovering from an illness and/or medical procedure, and your body is healing. 

Whatever has brought you inside, try to accept and rejoice at this time. It is possible to transform it into a personal retreat in a space you know. Focus on cultivating the mystery of your creativity in your abode.

Mindset

Home has different connotations for everyone. Perhaps, your house has never felt safe or you were never in a place to make it a creative sanctuary. Perhaps, you do not currently have a space to call home due to financial reasons, travel, transition or illness. On the other hand, perhaps home has been a place of love, peace, reflection and relaxation.  

Everyone has their own unique story with home. Since it is personal, you may wish to reflect on the following questions: What does home mean to you? What does home feel like to you? How would you like home to feel? Based on the reality of your current situation, what might be creative about your space? How can you cultivate creativity there?

Allow the answers to inform a mindset. A mindset is a set of attitudes and beliefs that construct one’s working perspective. A positive mindset supports one’s motivation and ability to make use of opportunity. A negative mindset leads to apathy and stagnancy. In this case, if you choose a creative mindset, then you are more likely to see ideas and options around every corner.

If you choose a creative mindset, then you are more likely to see ideas and options around every corner.

Mapping

Once you establish your creative mindset, look around the place you live and map out the potential spaces of creativity. Since everyone has a different kind of space, it is important to note that mapping can happen within a small, single apartment in a big city, as much as it can happen in a three-story, spacious house in the suburbs.

Depending on your current space, take note of the workable places indoors and outdoors. Notice usable space on the floor, above furniture and in corners. Be aware of lighting, access, limitations to movement or materials, comfort, access to sockets and whether the space is private or public access.

Based on your observations, select and commit to one space in which you would like to experiment. What kind of creative activity do you imagine happening there? What easily achievable change might you need to make so that it is ideal for your creativity? 

Materials

As you now have space to create, materials may be needed to perform your activity. Depending on your art form, materials will differ. For example, a painter may desire brushes, an easel and a canvas, while a creative writer may prefer a computer, hard-bound journal and ink or vintage typewriter.

Before you go shopping online, consider what materials you currently have, those you can use might need to be manipulated or others that can easily be foraged within your home environment. This process alone can be creative as you have to see things from different perspectives.

One practice that will help you view things from a different perspective involves the metaphor of a diamond. Diamonds have faces, edges and angles that require one to move it around to see the cut, clarity, color and carat. When looking at a potential material, turn it around in different directions to observe the quality of the material. Notice the feel of the object, how you move with it and its multi-sensory properties, possibilities and limitations. 

Materials do not have to be something you hold in your hand. If you are working digitally, then you can also manipulate the work to show range, pitch, direction, movement, pace, volume, color and so on.

Magic

Magic is the final part and brings the process together. Mindset, mapping and materials synthesize together to create the absolute magic of creativity. You are the instrument of that expression when you engage yourself in the process.

What is magic? In the case of creativity at home, magic is about cultivating possibility using your imagination and available materials, practices and other resources. When all these parts synthesize together, creativity is expressed starting, first, from within you and then, into the form you practice.  

Creativity is expressed starting, first, from within you and then, into the form you practice.  

To build upon the magic, you have to be willing to put your full self into the process and abandon some sense of security in order to have fun and experiment boldly. You can do this by remembering that this process is for you and only you. Take a playful, open, novice perspective and have some fun.

In the end, if you produce something you wish to share, go for it. Yet, it is not necessary. The magic of creativity at home is a personal experience where the mystery of you comes into form. Be ready for the unexpected. Be open to surprising yourself.

How do you stay creative when working from home? Do you have a favorite place in the house that sparks your creativity?

Image via Joe Schmelzer, Design via Rachel Meadows, Darling Issue No. 20

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