what is your creative space?

Christine Kerr, my lovely instructor over at The Wedding and Events Institute, recently asked me if I’d like to participate in a series she’s doing on her personal blog Scarlet Room.

The series involves taking snapshots of “the creative spaces people like yourself work from. This could be an office, a desk tucked away in a corner, or a table at a coffee shop.”

Synchronized Swimmer card from Mae Mae Paperie

My first response to her email was pure panic. There is no way I can set images of my home office loose on the internet. It’s a shameful place that is so disorganized that my cat and I are the only two living beings who can navigate it successfully. My sweet husband won’t even bring coffee in – he’ll hold it in the doorway and wait for me to come and get it or else he will, without fail, stub his toe on one of the many piles of things littering the floor.

We are all aware (from being on Pinterest and reading blogs) of how gorgeous home offices can be. Neat little square rooms with sun filled windows, DIYed white washed desks, carefully curated and organized bookshelves, and artistic, anthropologie-esque lamps gracing a styled corner of the room… it’s hard to see those images and not compare my own disastrous office to them, especially after today’s earlier post with stunning images from Ila Handbags’s studio.

Synchronized Swimmer calendar from Mae Mae Paperie

But the thing is – if something matters to me, I’ll do it. Like this blog, it matters to me, and I haven’t let a single day go by since I started without posting something. The only logical conclusion to draw then is that my creative space doesn’t matter to me.

After reading Christine’s email – it got me thinking about creative spaces and what that really means. My home office is NOT my creative space. It’s the space where I go to get work done. To do all the nitty-gritty things that aren’t so fun but that are required when running a blog. The uploading of photos, the linking, the website maintenance…

My creative space is somewhere else entirely. It’s the swimming pool.

Synchronized Swimmer card from Mae Mae Paperie

While swimming laps is where I do my creative work. It’s where I get my ideas. It’s where I decided what direction to take the rebrand of this blog, it’s where I first decided to start a wedding blog, and it’s where I think up ideas for inspiration boards and design and styling posts.

There’s something about the rhythmic breathing, the constant back and forth, the straight, black tiled line along the bottom of the lane – it’s mediative. With my head underwater, the world around me is finally quiet enough to get lost in my thoughts and that’s where my creative work happens.

And so my previous ‘logical conclusion’ isn’t accurate at all. I actually treat my creative space with great care. I’m like a sponge – I must be dipped in water daily to stay alive.

Synchronized Swimmer card from Mae Mae Paperie

I know I’m not the only person like this. I know lots of people whose creative spaces are not physical spaces likes offices or coffee shops or studios, but states of mind or a certain mood. A song, a walking route, a time of day… anything can be your creative space, but whatever it is, I bet it’s uniquely you.

And on that note I’d love to know – what is your creative space?


Synchronized Swimmer Letterpress Cards from Mae Mae Paperie.

1-2. Somersault // 3. 2012 Calendar // 4. Ballet Leg // 5-6. Dolphin // 7. Shark.

Mae Mae Paperie & The Wedding and Events Institute are BB Vendors.

About Sara Burnett

Editor of Burnett's Boards, which she founded to showcase global creativity in the wedding industry. Sara currently lives out of a suitcase while island hopping the Caribbean and beyond. Learn More // Follow on Instagram.


  1. Such a great post. My creative space is when I am out hiking or in nature.

  2. Love this post! I was always more creative when I was taking my dogs for a walk by the water.

  3. I have had great ah ha moments of all places… the shower

  4. Usually in bed while trying to get to sleep is when I have ideas!

  5. I am at the age where my creative space is in my mind, whether I want it there or not! The trick is that when I have a creative thought I have to immediately reach for pen and paper to write it down before it escapes into the void.

  6. I totally wish I had an *actual* creative space, and I think one day when I have space, I will. But for now, for some strange reason, all of my ideas and epiphanies happen to occur in the shower! Thankfully I have a waterproof notepad to jot things down!

  7. I don’t necessarily have one creative space 🙂 But I’ll tell you that ‘the magic’ happens at my desk – which it located in the kitchen of all places! The pool sounds so relaxing though!

  8. Definitely in bed but only upon waking – before the worries, details, and task lists leak through the cracks in the walls around that creative space in my mind. Sharing your post. Keep swimming Cuz!

  9. Such an interesting concept. I tend to be very bookish, so my creative space used to be my home office. It was a cozy space surrounded by books and punctuated with textiles and domestic tools from South America. (I lived and worked in Chile for 2 winters.) Sitting at my desk surrounded by hundreds of books that I’ve read made me feel smart and powerful. Unfortunately, I lost everything during one of my moves cross country, and I haven’t been able to settle into a powerfully creative space in my office since. I too go elsewhere for inspiration. With 3 million acres of public land and mountain wilderness outside my door, it’s easy to find inspiration, even without my books 🙂

  10. omg – you lost your book collection?! That’s terrible!

  11. I loved your article and can totally agree with the pool.
    I also find game viewing in the bush very therapeutic and rich new ideas spring to mind just gazing into the african landscape and dreaming of the possibilities!

  12. Sara your post ‘hits the nail on the head’….a creative space won’t always be your working space. I often have my best ideas whilst running through a boxing session with a friend…although it can get dangerous if I get too distracted! I refer to my creative space as a mindset….that is actually what the scarlet room is …a creative mindset 🙂

  13. That’s so true, it’s definitely not my desk. It can be anywhere but I make lot of decisions when I’m running or out walking.

  14. I love this post! I have been wanting to do a series like this as well. Mostly for selfish reasons to convince myself to clean up and organize 😉 But your idea of swimming, and dreaming and creating ideas like the movements of a fluid swimmer is amazing. Thank you for sharing!

  15. I was pondering the thought of getting my studio shaped up for a few photos, but then…naw. The shower and while working in my garden is where a lot of my ideas come about.