Tag Archives: Workspaces

Creative Juice #212

Creative Juice #212

I much prefer these uplifting, creative articles to the news these days.

Where Do You Create?


I am blessed to have my own writing room. It’s my daughters’ former bedroom, outfitted with a desk, a dresser, two overfilled bookcases, two stuffed file cabinets, 3 stacks of TBR books, and 12 banker’s boxes of miscellany I need to find places for.I can generally be found there daily from noon to 4 pm, supposedly doing writing-related stuff.


My desk one day when it was relatively neat.

Of course, there are myriad distractions inherent in working at home. Sometimes I need a change of scene in order to get quality writing done.

I’ve gone to the library for some uninterrupted writing time (because my husband is retired and doesn’t always respect my need not to be interrupted).

Sometimes I meet writer friends at a coffee shop where, after a few minutes of conversation and the company of an icy mocha latte, we get down to work. I’m always surprised how productive these sessions are. Maybe we inspire each other to focus and get lost in our work.

Sometimes I get my best work done while I’m walking in the neighborhood by myself. I bring a notebook and a pen, and write myself questions about plot problems, and brainstorm possible solutions. Moving somehow opens up a creativity portal. I’ve done poetry walks where I jot down observations that later grow into poems.

What about you? Where do you write, or make your art or your music? Does it help you to have the consistency of a certain time and place? Do you use stolen moments or commuting time? Share in the comments below.

Guest Post: 6 Ways To Use Marie Kondo Organizing Strategies In Your Writing Space by Writer’s Relief


This article has been reprinted with the permission of Writer’s Relief, a highly recommended author’s submission service. We assist writers with preparing their submissions and researching the best markets. We have a service for every budget, as well as a free e-publication for writers, Submit Write Now! Visit our site today to learn more.

frazzled worker
Everyone’s talking about the Netflix series Tidying Up with Marie Kondo, inspired by her best-selling book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. And the KonMari method can work for more than just your closets and your kitchen cabinets; with a little bit of cleverness, you can put Marie Kondo’s basic organization ideas to work in your writing space or home office.

And who knows—a little bit of organizing might affect your writing process in positive new ways and help you become a better writer!

Writer’s Relief checks out six basic principles of Marie Kondo’s organizing methods—and how to make them work for writers:

  1. Commit to the process. Rethinking the way you organize your writing space is going to take some time and energy; sticking to your decisions could take even more. But when you make the decision to commit to the process from day one, you may find you’re more likely to be successful.
  1. Imagine your ideal writing space. When you close your eyes, what do you picture your very best writing space looks like? Take notes, write down specific details, and think things through—before you make any actual changes. If you start working before you have a dream vision, you might be more inclined to give up when things don’t work perfectly. HINT: Create a Pinterest board to keep track of your ideas.
  1. Tidy by category. When you begin sorting and organizing your writing supplies, consider grouping the items you use by their function. Don’t keep anything you don’t need: Discard or donate the items that you haven’t used in a long time. Holding on to things just in case you might need them simply takes up storage space. So those ribbons for a manual typewriter you don’t even have anymore—toss ’em.
  1. Don’t get distracted. By focusing on categories of items, you’ll be better able to stay focused during the tidying process. Pick a category and stick to it. When you find an old family photo album tucked in a bottom desk drawer, put it aside and remind yourself that you’re focusing on writing tools right now—there will be time to muse on the album later.
  1. Follow Marie’s order for organizing. Marie recommends that you organize a space by the following order: clothes, books, papers, miscellany, and sentimental items. You may not have any clothes stored inside your desk (and if you do, it’s definitely time to rethink your writing space), but you probably do have books, papers, miscellany, and even sentimental items. Click here to learn more specifics about Marie’s method for sorting and organizing books—a very important skill for a writer!
  1. Pay attention to what sparks joy. To make Marie’s method work for the items you use in your writing space, ask yourself if what you’re holding sparks joy. It could be for any reason. Maybe the desk calendar is super functional and has all the bells and whistles to boost your productivity. Or maybe that pencil holder in the shape of a duck with googly eyes just makes you smile. If it sparks joy—keep it. If it doesn’t, thank it for its service, and say goodbye. A writer’s life will always have some rejection in it, so don’t underestimate the importance of things that make you feel happy.

What About Writers Who Thrive On Chaotic, Disorganized Spaces?

An organizational guru like Marie Kondo might look askance at the crazily disorganized spaces that some famous writers swear by. But our feeling is, if “disorganization” works for your creative process, then by all means—make haphazard piles of books, stuff drawers to bursting, and let the randomness of it all inspire you. Read more about writers and thinkers who had messy offices—and loved it.


Question: Have you tried the KonMari method? Thumbs up or thumbs down?

Creative Juice #128

Creative Juice #128

May you be full of wonder this weekend.

Creative Juice #71

Creative Juice #71

Your weekend dose of inspiration:

  1. A different kind of travel photos.
  2. Amazing photographs of spiders.
  3. Surreal murals.
  4. 25 free quilt patterns.
  5. How and why to read daily.
  6. Artist workspace.
  7. An orthodontist who’s also a very successful cartoonist.
  8. What to read next?
  9. Symbolism in a Renaissance painting.
  10. Unbelievably beautiful photographs submitted to National Geographic contest.
  11. Lovely Christmas ornaments to make by hand. Gift idea!
  12. A federal program to give work to artists? What a revolutionary idea!


Guest Post: Artists & Writers in Their Studios by Deborah J. Brasket


A great big ARHtistic License thank you to Deborah J. Brasket for this fabulous article. I love to see artists’ and authors’ workspaces. Don’t you? Too bad mine looks like #7. See more of Deborah’s thoughts on art and writing on her blog, Living on the Edge of Wild.

Deborah J. Brasket

"Calder at Home The Joyous Environment of Alexander Calder" by Pedro Guerreo Art studio of Alexander Calder

I’ve been collecting images of artist studios and writing spaces as inspiration for creating my own art/writing workspace. Some of these images are of famous artists and writers. It’s been so interesting to match the creative mind with the space that inspires it. Most of the creative spaces that have been most inspiring to me belong to people who are not famous, or at least unknown to me, and perhaps I’ll share those another time.

Here I’ve matched the spaces with famous quotes from the inhabitants. See if you can guess who they are. If you can’t, the names are listed below.

  1. “With age art and life grow together.” 

"With age art and life grow together."  ---George Braque

2. “I do not literally paint that table, but the emotion it produces upon me.”

Matisse, paper cutting. We both love Matisse, especially the cut paper works of his latter days. I actually made two quilts based on those artworks.

3. “My library is an archive of longings.”

40 Inspiring Workspaces Of The Famously Creative

4. “My fan mail is enormous. Everyone is under six.”

Alexander Calder in his studio. I want those rugs!

5. “All sorrows…

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Creative Juice #50

Creative Juice #50

This week’s dozenly dose of creative articles:

  1. Personally, I love reading young adult novels. Here are this year’s best sellers.
  2. Breathtaking blue quilts.
  3. This looks like a great workspace setup.
  4. Photos of surreal beauty and long-past glory
  5. Did you know you can cultivate habits that make you smarter?
  6. These dishes give me the creeps, and yet I admire their artistry.
  7. Don’t fall into the comparison trap. Would you believe Henri Matisse felt he did not measure up to the other artists of his day?
  8. Kauai is on my bucket list, but one of my favorite artists is there now.
  9. The ultimate artist DIY—making your own paints.
  10. Inspiration for writers.
  11. Beautiful illustrations by Tina MacNaughton.
  12. Map of the world, redesigned to eliminate distortion.

Where the Magic Happens #ALWorkMagic

Where the Magic Happens #ALWorkMagic

Today’s post comes with a special blogging *challenge. But first, some background.

I have been wanting to write this post for a long time, but I procrastinated because my office was such a mess–I didn’t want to post a picture of it.

But then I figured out I could just spiffy up the desk where I write, paint, and draw. You don’t have to see the stacked boxes o’ stuff I’m trying to find places for. (Yeah, I know, not that spiffy, but it took me a week to get it this organized.)DSC02747

There’s my laptop, open to one of my favorite sources of inspiration, Pinterest. The pink flower behind it is actually a pen stuck in a vase. To the right, you can see some of the many receptacles for pens, scissors, paperclips, etc. The ubiquitous water bottle–a must for writers everywhere, but especially in Arizona. In the cubbies, a stack of salvaged notebooks, all kinds of sticky notes, index cards, scratch pads, and thank you cards.

Under the light is a panel from a birthday card Greg gave me years ago with a picture of a little boy singing his heart out (who looked remarkably like one of my kindergarten students, so it spent a few years on the wall of my classroom). Below that, a postcard my friend Judy sent me from Florence, Italy several months ago. To the right of that, a list of my creative goals for 2016 (you’re working on yours, right?), with sticky note addenda attached.

Can you see on the perpendicular surface to the right the post card from the Cloisters of one of the Unicorn Tapestries (to inspire me to work on my mystical fantasy-in-progress)? And to the left of the singing boy, two pages from magazines reminding me of places I need to go for photo-essays I’m planning.

On the top shelf of the desk are art supplies, a box of greeting cards, boxes of envelopes, some supplements old ladies take, a picture of Greg when he was a little boy (because he was so stinkin’ cute!), some toys that used to belong to my kids, tissues, hand sanitizer, a mini-stereo (I must have music when I write! You can see the slots where I store some f my favorite CDs), and a Scripture-a-day calendar.

I am fascinated with seeing the workspaces of writers and artists. You, too?


John Singer Sargent’s studio


Mark Twain at work


Paul Cezanne in his studio


Frank Lloyd Wright’s studio

To see more, check out these articles on creative workspaces:

Do you have the freedom to do this in your workspace?

And here are workspaces of some of the people who have been featured on ARHtistic License.

Artist (and writer) Robert Holewinski:

Jewelry designer Shirli Matatia:

Artist Michael James:

Not exactly a workspace picture, but here is artist Jeremy Kirsch at work:


Woodcarver and furniture maker Scott Zuziak of Lazy River Studios:


Artist Rachelle Levingston: Rachelle Levingston's studio

*And Now, Presenting: The ARHtistic License Workspace Challenge

Fellow bloggers, let’s take this workspace sharing one step further. Your assignment, should you chose to accept it, is to show us where you create. Here’s all there is to it:

  1. Between now and September 30, 2016, take a picture of your workspace, and post it on your blog. Tell us what you create there. Do you write, design greeting cards, manufacture household gadgets? You can even tell us the special significance of the objects in your photo(s), or why you’ve set up the area as you have. How does it inspire you? Help you to be productive?
  2. Somewhere in the post, include this sentence (cut and paste so that you include the link–when your post goes live, it should automatically generate a ping-back to your post in the comments below): This is my response to the ARHtistic License Workspace Challenge.
  3. Share your article on social media with this hashtag: #ALWorkMagic.
  4. Optional: to spread the word, share this article on social media with the hashtag #ALWorkMagic. Cut and paste this shortlink: http://wp.me/p6gt9v-33p or use the sharing buttons below.

I can’t wait to see where you work!