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How Do You Make a Creative Environment?

This is the Melissa Harris glichee print I have framed over my desk. It stirs my creativity.

Having worked with a handful of talented feng shui practitioners as clients, I’ve learned the importance of our surroundings in supporting our creativity. Working with them helped me realized I wanted to be more intentional about making my creative environment more inspiring to my  muse.

Until recently, I kept a bulletin board behind and above my computer, so that I could look up at inspiring messages and images throughout my day.  Over a couple of years, inspiration became clutter.

I felt my message to myself had become, “You have to accomplish this and this and this…” I knew I needed focus. Creative focus. Something that centered and stilled me. Something to take me deep.

At Aspire Magazine‘s Love, Light and Laughter event last March, I found just that in a beautiful glichee print by Melissa Harris (pictured above).

Not only does the painting, called Guided Journey, take me to a deep and inspired place, but it reminds me of the teachings of Esther and Jerry Hicks: I picture myself gently rowing downstream–knowing that when I’m thinking harmonious thoughts, I naturally move downstream to all that I desire. If I’m feeling negative, it’s a reminder that I must be thinking “upstream thoughts.”

I found it hard to part with a few key images and one affirmation, so I put up a mini magnetic board with eight of the ninety six items from the larger board. (Even eight seems like a lot. Maybe I can pare down over time!)

I placed this Melissa Harris print on the wall to my right.

I bought a second print (pictured right) that I can only see when I close the door to my office—incentive to close my space and create sanctuary in my office. This beautiful flower fairy makes me think of my muse emerging, or the birth of a new idea or project, powered by the shining sun and the elements of earth, air, water, fire and spirit.

I recycled my bulletin board for my bedroom, promising myself that I will keep it clear and focused. I plan to put up a few key affirmations in large, bold print and I will post a plan for how I wish to start each day, with intention, feeding my soul with loving practices, writing in my journal and connecting with my loved ones in a sacred way—a far cry from the typical morning in my house. I’ll let you know how my plan works—I realize it needs to be flexible with my family demands, but I’m excited about what’s possible when I wake up to my clear and focused intentions each morning.

How about you? What do you wake up to each morning when you open your eyes? What surrounds you in your office? How can you support your creativity and writing by creating an inspiring space? Feel free to share ( as a comment) what you’re already doing as well as any new commitments you’re now inspired to make.

Lisa Tener

Lisa Tener is an award-winning book writing coach who assists writers in all aspects of the writing process—from writing a book proposal and getting published to finding one’s creative voice. Her clients have appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show, CBS Early Show, The Montel Williams Show, CNN, Fox News, New Morning and much more. They blog on sites like The Huffington Post, Psychology Today and WebMD.

Reader Interactions


  1. Ed Skurka says

    Thank you for the inspiration. While still not eligible for ansy feng shui awards, the 50 cards that were taped to the bookcase edges above my desk have been pared down to 7. One of the removed had been there since ’05. My desk area looks better already. I see the crisp straight line of the book case.

  2. Cassie Tuttle says

    Great topic, Lisa.

    I used to convince myself that a cluttered desk was the sign of an active and brilliant mind.

    I agree that the best way to create and produce is to clear the clutter from around us and surround ourselves in a purposeful way with beautiful and inspirational things.

    But I also think that each of us has to learn what our individual inspiring place looks and feels like. Clean, clear, and sparse does it for me. “Blue Comes Through,” a serene piece by Alice Dalton Brown, occupies a large wall in my work space.

  3. Donna Montalbano says

    An author’s workspace is sacred! It should be peaceful, private and off limits to EVERYBODY else! Buy a massive padlock for the door so nobody can come in and use your computer or scribble in your notebooks or heaven forbid, try to dust or tidy up! (Picture yourself on your knees, rummaging through your wastebasket, picking through the candy wrappers and apple cores for the scrap of napkin upon which you wrote the most brilliant piece of dialogue the world would have ever known! Even more horrifying: picture that wastebasket empty!!!!) As for inspirational objects to motivate you, I suggest a handsomely framed portrait of J.K. Rowling, a Magic Eight Ball, and a photograph of your ex-spouse in his new Corvette convertible, to remind you that selling books is the best revenge!

  4. Jill Sylvester says

    A creative environment is absoultely sacred. I thought I had a good space until I saw Lisa’ picture that she keeps on her desk. That really inpsired me to take it up a notch- to not just a workable desk, open windows to hear the birds, and a quiet space, but for visual inspiration as well. Thanks Lisa.


  5. s.a. says

    I’m a teacher, not an author, but I have to be creative and organized when I write lesson plans. I like to have colorful student work on the walls which puts me in a happy mood. Dale Carnegie inspired me to keep my desk as neat and clutter-free as possible, to focus on working on one thing at a time.

    I also cook a lot, which is a place of creativity for me. I have my daughter’s drawings and paintings on my kitchen walls, and I love to look at them while I work!

  6. Tracy Hart says

    LOVED your pictures! Now I’m looking at my/our family’s computer armoire – all cluttered and messy and I’m realizing that I want to fix it up. Also, I’m looking to get a laptop and I think I’ll create a nice sitting space in my kitchen in front of the window. It’s hard with a small house, but you’ve inspired me!

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