The Magic of Using Your Studio (Even If You Don’t Have One)

Organise your space to win your creative battles

Jamie Jackson
4 min readJul 26, 2020


Photo by Joseph Morris on Unsplash

New York Times bestselling author Jerry Saltz, in his book ‘How To Be An Artist’, says that we should “use our studio” if we want to be creative.

The studio, he declares, is our “fortress of solitude” and “our sanctuary” even if our studio amounts to a dining room table or a teenage bedroom. In short, Saltz is telling us to organise our space.

Environment will always beat willpower

The environment is king, so it’s necessary to carve out an organised space to work in because temptation and distraction lie around every corner. The mind is a shortcut seeking machine and will always be on the look out for relief from energy-draining concentration. Focusing on one simple thing for more than 15 minutes is surprisingly difficult and it grows more difficult as technology morphs from helpful ally to dopamine-dealing enemy.

Colorful screens and bright graphics tempt us onto rocky shores, like singing sirens on the ocean. The only protection from their sweet song is our organised space.

If your environment for creating has too many distractions, you’ll be pulled away from your work and become shipwrecked.

Your studio — your space — is meant to prevent this. It’s why Saltz called it a “fortress”. You’re not protecting yourself from marauding barbarians and the insolent armies of France, but rather marauding distraction and the insolent nature of procrastination.

Ok, this all sounds a bit prescriptive and dry I realise. I have never liked the word “organised”. It’s a nagging idea that you haven’t got your shit together, it’s a tut and an eye roll of a word, it’s an unreachable level of perfection. Who can ever say they’re truly organised?

But put it this way, regarding your studio, the word “organised” shouldn’t conjure up images of clean, white surfaces and objects at perpendicular angles to each other in some sort of fastidious, geometric perfection.

In reality, “organised” means an environment optimal for the task at hand.



Jamie Jackson

Between two skies and towards the night. // Email me: jamiejacksonati [at] gmail [dot] com