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Linda Dessau : Connect with Your Surroundings

Connect with Your Surroundings

By Linda Dessau

Clutter is one of my favourite topics, and I've written before about the many different types of clutter and how each affects our creativity and our creative expression.

Clutter is just one part of our surroundings — our physical environment — that has an impact on our creativity. This article will look at some other factors, and how they impact not only our creative expression and emotional and mental well being, but also our physical health and safety.

The Inspiration Factor

Nature. Getting out into nature can evoke an immediate relaxation response. Being relaxed helps us to bypass our creative roadblocks and have easier access to our creativity. I've found that simply looking out my window and seeing the wind blow the branches of a tree, or taking in all of the colours of nature can help me to reconnect to the present moment and get out of the worries in my head.

Try getting outside for a brief walk during the day or simply spending time in front of a window. Or bring nature to you with photographs, paintings, fresh flowers, pebbles, fountains or similar items.

Traveling. Many of the artists I spoke to while writing my book, "The Creativity Interviews", listed travel as one of their sources of inspiration that often had prolific results. I commented recently in my blog that I sketched out an entire article this week while driving to work. The ideas just came to me. I read somewhere once about how driving engages different parts of our left and right brain and causes a "jump start" of creative thinking and flow.

Another aspect of travel is that we're removed from our day-to-day routines and schedules and that frees us up to "newness" in all forms.

I don't recommend that you write while driving, but do keep a digital voice recorder handy to capture all of your wonderful ideas.

If traveling isn't in your plans right now, a one-day trip to the country or just to somewhere you don't visit often can be enough to spark your creativity. In "The Artist's Way", Julia Cameron recommends a weekly artist's date with yourself. Make your journey as important as the destination.

Deliberate Decorating. Quotes, books, paintings, emails from clients and nametags from conferences — these are just a few of the items I keep in view at all times in my creative workspace. These are things I find beautiful, meaningful and inspiring, and things that remind me of who I am and what I'm capable of.

Take a pointed look around your creative workspace and make sure there are things there that inspire you. Start adding some, and be sure to move them around every week or two — otherwise you'll actually stop "seeing" them because you become used to them being there.

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