Clean Your Room and Do the Dishes

Is it just me, or are we all a bit more creative when we have some distance between ourselves and our chaos?

Living life – be it adventure, struggle, conflict or resolution – gives us the bedrock of artistic inspiration. But if you’re anything like me, actualizing that inspiration requires moments of calm.

Case in point: Just sitting here working my ass off in the studio, 10pm on a Friday night…the last few weeks have been a doozie. Crazy schedule, travel, media, Best Camera, assignments, work, deluge, family, not enough hours. Needing. Inspiration. Struggling. To come up with. Some creative inspiration for an upcoming project. Kept indulging, pushing. Longer hours. Nothing. Creatively parched.

So I went to my old college habit. The grown-up version of cleaning your room during finals before you begin to study…[click ‘continue reading’ link below]

I temporarily dug outta my life’s clutter. I cleaned out my inbox, cleared off my desktop, returned some voicemails, I made lists. It gave me a moment. A breath. I went for a walk in the rain, carefree for the first time in weeks. And sipped a glass of wine.

And it happened. 2 hours of calm is all it took, and whammo. Best ideas I’ve had in weeks.

It’s often hard to see the forest through the trees, but the next time you’re struggling creatively, go clean your room and do the dishes. Pay your bills and then take a walk. Get some distance from your mayhem, even if it’s for an hour. I’ll bet you 10 bucks you’ll be better off–and more creative–because of it.

Have a great weekend. I know I will.

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I have the feeling this post was written for me! I’m doing the same thing now- a big cleaning in every aspect of my life. It’s really refreshing!
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It's normal for us to take things for granted, even what our work space normally looks like. I've found that just by cleaning up a corner it stimulates me to make other changes, too.

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ha, ha so true …the chaos and cleaning the room. I don't think I have met an artist who gets in the moments of 'huh'. When I travel and shake up my everyday life, it is there, but it was probably always here! Thanks again Chase …

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that´s just what I needed. Exactly how I felt…Went out and boom…there´s the idea…good stuff…

Certainly true…sometimes working in a clean environment can be helpful. It feels refreshing…

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It works!

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When I used to paint I always had to straighten up the house as part of my pre-painting ritual. Now that my focus is photography, the house suffers.

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A walk in the rain. Perfect day for that here.

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This is great! Totally what I needed today! Thank you!

This is so me right now.

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When I start to work I really like to have all clean and in order. It relax me and also clean my mind…
I can work freely think and new ideas grow…

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Nicely said and perfectly expressed. M do believe my messy desk is calling me… no… yelling at me to come and clean it up. Rock on dude!!!

Great advise. I think I might actually take it now. Thanks for the post.

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I think Chase just won my 10 bucks… :-)

sitting here looking at my desk..that maybe be just what i need..yikes.

thanks for this..and thanks for the mental image of you walking down the street in the rain drinking a glass of wine, that put a smile on my face.

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thank you chase for the post.
I'm a press photog making a transition to comercial photography. I openend a studio. The good thing is, it's a 20 min walk from where I live. I have made it a habbit to park the car at the studio and walk home. You would not belive how much that helps me. Not only will I generate Ideas but it also alows me to get all the stuff out of my head thats bogging me down. My personal life has improved along with my photography.
Smoetimes we just forget how important all the other stuff is.
a glass of wine (well for me it's a beer) and some food can make a difference too. Sometimes you just need a break. Do something you wouldn't do. It doesn't matter what you do, just kill the routine.

Take a look at "A Technique For Producing Ideas" by James Webb Young. His premise is that an idea is simply a new connection between 2 known facts and describes the creative process to create these connections or ideas. Sometimes we go through this process subconsciously, but it sure helps to know what the steps are when we're exhausted and having a block. Only costs a few quid…

http://www.amazon.com/Technique-Producing-Advertising-Classics-Library/dp/0071410945/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s;=books&qid;=1255860095&sr;=8-1

Really need to do this after non stop shooting since Friday.

The bad part is I still need to do school work.

Am going to take the advice though!

Thanks for keeping us on our toes Chase.

Joseph says:

“Be regular and orderly in your life so that you may be violent and original in your work.”
Gustave Flaubert

Really good tip!! Works for me to :-)

bruceh says:

I start backups as part of the list. Then I can relax…

Zachary says:

Amazing advice. As usual.

fas says:

awesome advice, very handly for most.

Ed Z says:

this is *so* true. Any type of clutter is psychologically stressful – whether it's physical (room/desk filled with junk) or mental (disorganized "to do" lists etc…)

I also find that when I am able to de-clutter and de-stress my environment my productivity and creativity skyrocket.

awesome advice. I am about to go on a nice walk by myself before shooting a wedding this afternoon

this is sooo true. have a project that requires concepting, vs just showing up and shooting but I've been so busy that I haven't been able to create any ideas. definitely going to try to pause this week…and maybe sip some wine too. :)

laanba says:

This is so true. I usually feel trapped like I can't get out and explore my world when my apartment is a shambles (as it is now). I feel so much better about everything when my home life is in order. I'll work on it this weekend.

Amber says:

Wow, it's so insightful. Thank you Chase Jarvis of Chase Jarvis dot com, lead photographer at Chase Jarvis Photography, creator of Best Camera by Chase Jarvis, copying everyone else's camera apps but making out that Chase Jarvis is the only one that knows how to do it best: without you I'd be stuck in a rut and surrounded by dirty dishes.

You are my God, Chase Jarvis.

*sigh*

Alvah says:

Wise words- it's easy to get swept up in life and lose sight of the basics. A walk by yourself is always top notch therapy, and a sip of wine never hurts!

Christopher says:

I couldn't agree more! Thanks for making me feel slightly more normal!

rushcapture says:

Yep defiantly, what I find annoying though is that others tell you that your just procrastinating, it is not that i just need a clean space to work sometimes.

Matt says:

Thanks Chase, well written.

Tom Scott says:

Breathe

Pick a moment
Pick a day
Fill it 
Squeeze it
Don't delay
Make the most
Of a bad situation
Run and hide
From a dissolving creation. 
Hoard and collect
Never recollect
The days once spent
In den and tent
The times that formed
The years that bound
Enabled you
To surface
Be found. 
And only now
In spaces sought
Can you still know
As best you ought
The truth, the light
The capacity to thrive
Take a minute
Breathe
Now life
(Hold tight).   

- peace, Tom

Travis says:

I noticed today that I'm controlled by my stuff. I spend my life managing, sorting, moving, guarding and hordeing stuff. I feel like at times I can't find stuff because it's under other stuff. Yeah- too much?
As my computer desk gets enveloped with this stuff, occasionally I'll just spend time and clean it up- put everything where it all belongs, and it really helps me become more productive. Weird, but it works.

Ramina says:

Chase, that picture is awesome!

harry says:

You have to let the brain work it's self. Probably the walk in the rain worked rather than the tidying (though a tidy studio is a happy studio) That's why jogging or taking the dog for a walk or going on a long drive with the radio off are good creative moments.

Greg says:

I'm in the middle of doing exactly what you describe — returning tons of email, packing for a trip (sort of similar I think), and reading through unread blogs (which is how I'm reading this actually). Funny how timing works sometimes. Completely agree for the record.

Yeah, sometimes to to something totally different relax us and we can focus issues in a different way.
BTW I like the photo of the couple of cups and the pizza?

Kensai says:

I temporarily dug outta my life's clutter. I cleaned out my inbox, cleared off my desktop, returned some voicemails, I made lists. It gave me a moment. A breath. I went for a walk in the rain, carefree for the first time in weeks. And sipped a glass of wine.

I promised to myself to do this every weekend. It's really important for my sanity. :)

Also, making folders and cataloguing my hundreds of photos/videos is paramount as well. For me Sunday is Backupday. For everything!

Sonnydelight says:

10 whole dollars?!

Great advice! :D

Kate says:

So true, like spring cleaning, clear out the attic and see what happens. :)

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