One Reason You Might Have A Creative Block

by guitarkadia on March 27, 2009

in Blog

Work Space!

Practicing is serious business. It’s work. It’s routine, and has to be distraction free. However, not many of us have the right circumstances or places where we could sit down and get some good, quality practicing done without any distraction. It’s a noisy world outside, and inside our heads. When we don’t feel like practicing we most often attribute it to ‘not feeling it’ or feeling lazy. Perhaps it’s none of those. It might just be that your work and practice space is not set right – right for you that is. A lot of us work, play, and sleep in the same room. That becomes a challenge and all 3 get into a fight. Soon there’s creative block, there’s insomnia, there’s all sorts of shit you didn’t know you are building up inside.

I looked around my room and the space between me and my things, and the space between my things and my other things and realized how oddly they were placed. How ‘conveniently’ they were at a distance from me so I would need the extra motivation to get to them. It’s the drumming up of the extra motivation that fails after a while. We’re not equipped to call upon this ‘extra’ on a regular basis. And perhaps subconsciously we do ‘decorate’ our spaces to discourage us. 

Now you might think this is not something you’re ready to think about. Interior decoration!! Feng Shui!!? Come on now, you say. No, I just mean…look around and ask yourself why what is there, needs to be there? Organizing workspace to most of us means cleaning out the desk. It’s where your desk is in your room that counts too. It’s where your guitar is from your bed, from your computer, from your multitrack recorder. How much distance discourages you from taking the guitar, plugging into your computer and jotting down the idea that you think is brilliant? Have you ever wondered if you are more creative with tungsten lights on, fluorescents, or table lamp? Do you ever wonder you might be a left-hander living a right-hander’s life? Could it be that you practice better sitting at the edge of your bed than the practice bench you bought? Practice bench is not for everyone. Has it occurred to you that those giant posters of your smiling guitar heros plastered all over the wall only whisper ‘you’ll never be as good as me’? Do you practice better when the sound of traffic trickles in through the window?  

Almost all of my college life, unless I was using the computer for research or writing a paper, I studied lying in bed. I hated using the desk. This was before I had a Mac and broadband so going on the Internet was a chore and working on anything creative on that 1999 Compaq PC was a chore. Most of my life I practiced sitting at the tail end of the bed.

This is all inspired by reading this piece in NY. But not from how the author’s workspace was changed, but by the initial questions Lisa Whited asked the author over the phone. Have you seen Roald Dahl’s workspace?  Would you ever work in that tiny crammed space? Most likely no. That’s his space, his distraction free zone, his sanctuary. 

I plan to get up one of these mornings, cup of coffee in hand, and look around my room. I’ll keep 3 things in mind – necessary, unnecessary, and the distance between them. 

How about you? How do you decorate your workspace?

Dee March 27, 2009 at 1:26 pm

Interesting post, Emon. Most of the time, I like to work on my desk. Everything has to be in place, I get easily irritated if there are things thrown around that I’m not using. I have this photo that I posted while ago to Deskography

Working at the same place everyday does take me to that ‘I’m not feeling it’ mood, and it’s really surprising how a simple move to the dining table and listening to something different than I’d normally listen to makes ALL the difference.

p.s: Dahl’s workspace…! I’d probably cry and suffocate if I had to work there.

emon March 27, 2009 at 1:52 pm

Thanks, Dee! I remember that photo. Yours is one of the cleanest desks I’ve seen. My desk would make you suffocate which is why its picture shall never be made public. 🙂

Steve Cooper March 27, 2009 at 2:08 pm

I have an office (converted bedroom) where I do my software development gig, a living room where I do my guitar teaching, a dining room where I do my guitar restringing and a bedroom where I do my guitar practicing (on the edge of the bed, of course).

My main gotcha for practicing is my routine: Move the amp I’m using today, either an acoustic or electric guitar amp, from its hidey-hole out to where I can get at it; pull out my gadget-bag and remove whatever pedal(s) and cables I’m going to use; pull out a guitar from its hidey-hole and take it out of its case; plug everything in; find a pick (There is a pick-heaven right next to sock-heaven and all of your lost picks and socks are laughing at you right this minute!); finally, get to practicing. After practicing, reverse the process.

Your piece has caused me to do some thinking and with a nothing to do weekend approaching, I just *might* see what I can change to make my guitar practicing easier and better with less, “do I have to.”


emon March 27, 2009 at 2:27 pm

Thanks for sharing, Steve. Sounds to me like you’ve utilized your spaces pretty well. You cracked me up with sock+pick heaven. 🙂

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