Promptapalooza #11 – A Space to Create

Blaugust Promptapalooza 2020 is this crazy year’s crazy twist on the August blogging challenge cooked up by Belghast over on Tales of the Aggronaut. Instead of writing every day, a whole bunch of us have committed to being “prompt-bearers”, and today it’s my turn!

Tell us about your physical creative space, and how it influences your content creation.

Promptapalooza (August 10th, 2020)

I’m going to ‘fess up here. I wanted to throw this prompt back. I almost resented it – obviously, Bel doesn’t know anything about my creative space and the prompts were distributed randomly. I wasn’t being called out, but it sure felt that way for a hot minute. But I realized the fact that I reacted to it so strongly is exactly why I should write about it.

Because of this, I’m going to tell you now that tomorrow’s prompt will be presented by SDWeasel over at Unidentified Signal Source, in case you don’t make it all the way to the end.

Apologies in advance for my lack of pictures on this one. This is going to be hard to write, possibly hard to read, and I just don’t feel like I can illustrate it for you as well.

I really don’t feel like I have a “creative space”. I have a space where, sometimes, somehow, almost in spite of myself, I manage to write. My desk is small and cramped. My computer and all of its peripherals have seen better days. The floor in here isn’t level, so I am forever listing slightly to the left, and my chair actually partially blocks the access to the hallway leading to the other side of the house.

To top it off, it’s never quiet here. There’s no door I can close. I’m frequently trying to block out the television, a barking dog, half a conversation taking place on Discord, or all of the above. I do have a headset (and use it when I really need to), but extended use tends to give me a headache, and I’m clueless about how to find something more suitable.

Basically, my creative space is everything I don’t want it to be. But I make it work because the alternative – giving this up until I can get my space in order – is untenable.

I’ve said it before – I don’t really write here to build a following. In fact, self-promotion past an automated Tweet and an occasional link drop on a Discord channel or Facebook group would likely be the end of what I’m doing. No, as much I as love the interaction of blogging when it comes, it’s not why I do it.

For me, writing here about whatever strikes my fancy is structure and purpose and one of the few things I do for my own satisfaction, and I’m not ready to give that up.

Sadly, this is sort of a recurring theme for me. When we moved into the apartment we lived in before this house, I was determined to prioritize making a “writing nook” for myself. It was full of books that I loved, and good intentions. However, I was still learning how to balance a job, domestic responsibilities, and adjusting expectations due to a chronic illness, and instead of being a source of solace, it ended up being a constant reminder of my failure to prioritize creativity.

I realize now I’m going kind of far off prompt, but it’s a recurring theme for me. There’s always something more important to do, something else that space needs to be set aside for, and I couldn’t possibly make that kind of commitment.

We live in an old, poorly maintained home, and are trying to make it into a space that works for us – slowly, with limited funds, and even more limited DIY-ability. Both my husband and I struggle with different disabilities, and there are days that we can only manage the bare minimum as far as housework goes. The dogs get taken care of, and we make sure we eat something. On the better days, we struggle to get caught up, and it’s rare that we have the energy and the finances required for the bigger projects we want to tackle.

We are about four and half years behind on our five year plan, and every time we manage to squirrel away some savings, something critical breaks. This year, the savings account is going to get emptied out to replace the heating system. We do have a room, currently being used for storage, which is allocated to be my quiet place, but it basically needs to be gutted first, and that particular project is going to take a huge allotment of energy, so it keeps getting put off.

At this point, I cannot fathom just … waiting for the right type of space to create. I’ve hit a point in my life where I feel better about making do than not making anything. I may not have a creative space that speaks to me for another five years, but that doesn’t mean I should neglect the part of me who wants to write, and craft, and paint, and draw. Right now, I can’t dedicate space in my home, but I absolutely must dedicate space in my life.

I know this whole post is pretty far outside what I normally write about, and for those of you who made it this far, I have a small reward in the form of a picture of my adorable dogs. They’re also not really into the idea of me having a quiet space to make things, but they’re fantastic for my mental health, so we’ll allow it.

16 thoughts on “Promptapalooza #11 – A Space to Create

  1. Thank you for such an honest and candid post. Real life dictates what we have to do, often over what we’d like to do. I think very few of us bloggers have a bespoke office or custom studio, although I’m sure we’d all like one. Ultimately, if you can find any space that allows you to create then that’s half the battle done.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I would say there’re many different sorts of creative space. I have found it far more useful to disconnect the idea of creativity from any specific space and resort more to a mindset or “virtual space” of sorts. The fact that you’re creating is a win, and having a dedicated space isn’t in any way a failure. We all play the hand we’re dealt as best we can.


    1. Honestly, my biggest struggle is the lack of quiet and/or uninterrupted time, but I’m still making do. I am, however, looking forward to moving my setup into a room with a door I can close!

      Liked by 2 people

      1. That’s fair. With kids and all that, plus much of my writing actually happening at work, I’ve long since given up hope of quiet or uninterrupted time. Come to think of it, I’m more likely to get that at work than at hope, since my job is more of an “on site, on call” sort of deal.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Really great post. Thanks for making it.

    Mrs Bhagpuss and I live in what sounds like an amazing situation, if I describe it in a certain way: just the two of us in a five bedroom house with a large garden in a World Heritage city. In reality, it’s far, far too big for us to manage, even though two of the rooms are unusable due to a leaking roof we ignored for years until all plaster fell off the walls and the wood rotted. As for the garden at one point it was literaly so overgrown it was impentrable without a machete.

    About five years ago it got to the point where the place was verging on the unliveable. We finally started to sort it out but it’s very much still a work in progress. We began by having the whole roof replaced so that sorted out the leaking problem. The next two years we replaced all the rotting, wooden window-frames, back and front, so now we have clean, sound large, light windows that all open and lock. I sorted out the garden over several years to the point that it’s now a reasonably pleasant place to sit. Even though one end is still a jungle we claim that’s for the wildlife – it’s how you’re supposed to keep gardens these days, apparently.

    Lockdown has been quite useful in that I’ve had time to do some more work on various aspects of the property. Nothing structural, just decorating and gardening. I repainted the kitchen, doing it in small sections just an hour or two at a time. Mrs Bhagpuss is in one of the water-damaged rooms as i write, clearing out all the junk we’ve thrown in there over the years we didn’t use that space.

    All in all it’s a never-ending, constant struggle against entropy. The worst part about owning a house or being responsible for one is that nothing you fix will ever stay fixed. It all deteriorates without endless renovation. But the good part is that everything you improve improves your mood – or it does mine. Even if it’s just one cupboard tidied or one hedge trimmed. Just standing back and seeing at how much better it looks is an endorphin rush.

    I know you don’t want or need advice but I’ll just say this one thing: any little thing you can do that would make any small part of the physical situation closer to what you’d prefer – do it. Doesn’t mater if it’s just a tiny thing. The tiny changes add up. It’s kind of entropy in reverse.

    Liked by 2 people

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