Making your studio safe is not only about addressing its physical challenges. I’ve spoken to a lot of artists, masters and dabblers alike, and one thing they all require is a space in which they feel safe to take risks and make mistakes. Here are a few tips I’ve learned along the way to make your space feel safe too.
1. KNOW YOURSELF AND ALL YOUR QUIRKS.
You are your best friend. Nobody else knows you like you do, so be good to yourself. If you need music to work, go make the perfect playlist and blast it (or quietly play it) on repeat in your studio. If you don’t want any distractions whatsoever, lock the door and close all the windows. I recently had the pleasure of speaking with Toni Morrison and she told me she has a beautiful view of the river from her studio, but she has no desire to look at it. For her, it’s distracting!
2. HANG OUT IN THE STUDIO AND DO NOTHING.
Or simply drink tea as one Rome Prize fellow told me she does in her studio. It’s important to consistently put in the time, even if you don’t produce anything. I know someone who likes to sing in her studio. I personally prefer dancing. Studio time is playtime, so remember to enjoy yourself however you see fit.
3. HAVE A ROUTINE.
For me this means writing a full page everyday. This is just an exercise to get you moving and thinking. It can be anything. And you never have to look at whatever it is again if you don’t want to.
4. TURN OFF YOUR INNER CRITIC.
This is the most important thing you can do to create a safe space. Remember, you can always turn “him” or “her” back on when deciding what you want to share with the world outside your studio. But it’s impossible to start without daring to fail. All creativity is dangerous. Toni Morrison told me so!
5. DON’T LET ANYONE IN!
This way you can create whatever you dream without anyone’s judgment.
6. BUT WHEN YOU DO LET THEM IN, MAKE SURE THE TERMS OF THE VISIT ARE DETERMINED BY YOU.
I learned this one from a dear friend. Whenever she invites anyone to her studio whether it be friend, critic or curator she is sure to set the terms of the conversation. Only the work she is ready to talk about is on display. And she is sure to express what kind of advice she does and does not want from her guest.
7. FIND ALLIES!
These are people who support your creative alone time. It’s vital to your creative survival that you have people in your life who understand when you want to lock yourself up in a room for hours. Otherwise, it can quickly get annoying to choose between your passion and loved ones.
What are your secret tips to make your studio feel safe? Do you use any of these strategies?