Leaving the Studio Ready to Go

One of the tricks I teach my creativity coaching clients is to leave your studio ready to continue work. Yes, I actually suggest you don’t clean up and leave it neat and tidy.


Tom Humber’s studio, ready to work.

A tidy studio with everything put away requires work before you start your real work. You have to gather supplies, plan your project, find the parts you need. During all that time, you can find excellent excuses for things that have to be done first. (See yesterday, under “dust bunnies.”)

Here’s how you leave your studio: as if you were coming back in a few minutes.

Yes, you rinse your brushes or secure the needle and thread. Of course you save the file and remember where you left it. But stopping before you are done leaves the door open to yearning for more.


  • Leave something open and ready to be worked on
  • Leave your tools ready to pick up and get back to work
  • Leave yourself a note of what work you want to start
  • Write something encouraging about your work and leave it where you can see it
  • Turn on a light so when you pass the studio in the evening, it will look inviting


  • Leave a long list of what needs to be done to make your work perfect
  • Write a list of everything you dislike about this piece, so you can “fix” it when you come back into the studio.
  • Pile up supplies to be put away before you start
  • Leave old coffee cups and plates in the studio, that encourages you to pick up the dishes and leave and maybe not come back

Whatever you leave out, create an atmosphere of wanting to return, something that will welcome you. That way, when you perform your ritual, something will be calling you to the studio.

Two other articles in this series: Create a Studio-Ritual to Jump-Start Creative Work and Rationalizing Yourself out of Studio Time (with Dust Bunnies).

–Quinn McDonald has overcome studio fear several times.

Studio photo: http://tomhumber.blogspot.com