Chuck Close may be able to turn his back on any room and get to work, but shutting out the world might not work for you—or not work all the time. You may not have a Parisian atelier with floor-to-ceiling windows (or need one) but there are ways to make the space you do have more inspiring and conducive to creative work.
In his biography of Leonardo da Vinci, Walter Isaacson quotes da Vinci describing an artist at work: “The painter sits in front of his work at perfect ease. He is well dressed and wields a very light brush dipped in delicate color. He adorns himself with the clothes he fancies; his home is clean and filled with delightful pictures, and he is often accompanied by music or by the reading of various beautiful works.” (In psychology, enclothed cognition covers the influence of clothes on the mind of the person wearing it.)
You can also experiment with the temperature, and be mindful of how that influences your thought process. Singer-songwriter Ester Dean says, “I always have an electric heater behind my feet, but I like to be comfortable so that I can be vulnerable.”
Because this is a book about creative doing—which means creativity in the physical world—test some things out that play with your senses, to see what affects your creative mind. Light a candle or apply some essential oils. Create a playlist of songs that pump you up, and then try music that calms you down. If your work is mostly done on the go and on the screen, you can also take some time to make your virtual environment—screen brightness, wallpapers, and software—more conducive to creative work. Whatever or wherever it is, make your environment a place you want to spend time every day.