by Ellen Buikema
Does where you work affect your writing? As you’ve seen from my earlier posts, it really affects mine. I believe it is related to energy.
Everything is made of energy which vibrates to different frequencies. Ask a quantum physicist. She will tell you that atoms, the building blocks of the universe, are made up of energy vortexes that spin and vibrate to their own frequency signature.
Let’s narrow this down to something closer to home, that we can actually control.
Have you ever walked into a home and felt comfortable right away? Or, couldn’t wait to get out because something was driving you crazy? These feelings, which we sense to different degrees, are related to the energy of the location as well as the individuals occupying the space.
Why do I need good energy flow? I am a very sensitive person and the feel of a room makes a big difference for me. If I am at ease I write very well. Otherwise, I have a difficult time concentrating. I’ll give you a personal example of feeling negative energy in a room.
Many years ago, while traveling in Southern California, we visited the Mission San Juan Capistrano. The grounds and main structures are beautiful, but I a felt extremely uneasy about entering the church. It was a gut clenching, heart squeezing thing.
I talked myself into joining the line of people filing inside and the feelings of dread continued but didn’t intensify. Parents pushing a small child followed us into the church. When the little one wailed, I thought to myself, I’m right there with you kiddo. Visualizing a protective, reflective bubble helped me block off what felt like a large amount of negative energy. I was glad to exit the building.
After our journey I did a bit of research and discovered the gross brutality associated with many of these California missions. Nowadays, when I travel, I check out the history of these places in advance.
Now that we are in a peaceful home, I am itching to arrange my work area to encourage the creative flow so I can spend more time in the creative zone. Enter Feng Shui.
Quick overview of Feng Shui
The first time I heard of this system of spatial arrangement for beneficial energy flow was in the Historical fiction novel Tai-Pan, by James Clavell. The book includes a long discussion of Feng Shui regarding the location of the home, which was discovered to be on the “Dragon’s neck.” The Feng Shui practitioner gives recommendations to the book’s characters to help correct this tragic placement as “That’d be horrifical, for the dragon that sleeps in the earth would no longer be able to sleep peacefully.”
Apparently bad things happen to those living on the dragon’s neck.
A fun quote spoofed from Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings: "Do not meddle in the affairs of Wizards, for they are subtle and quick to anger." I’ve seen on Social Media as: “Do not meddle in the affairs of dragons for you are crunchy and good with ketchup.”
In other words: Never wake a sleeping dragon.
Back to Feng Shui…
I found two feng shui maps (baguas), otherwise known as the 8 areas. The areas on the maps correspond to important areas of one’s life for health, wealth, and happiness. The five essential elements are wood, water, metal, fire, and earth.
Directions aren’t my strongest skill anyway, but with all the moving around we’ve done I feel directionally challenged. I’m leaning toward the Western Bagua Map because it does not incorporate direction. It doesn’t matter which method you choose.
If you are considering exploring Feng Shui for your home or office, I encourage you to choose whichever resonates best with you. There is always more than one way to work with energy.
Other important considerations
Color is important for creativity. It may not be practical to paint the walls, so desired colors can be included in the writing cave by using photos, pillows, wall hangings, flowers, or any bric-a-brac that appeals to you.
There are also colors associated with the elements of Feng Shui:
Wood: Green, Brown
Fire: Red, Strong Yellow, Orange, Purple, Pink
Earth: Light Yellow, Sandy/Earthy, Light Brown
Metal: White, Gray
Water: Blue, Black
The colors for creativity are white and gray. The color of most of the walls in our current living situation is white-ish, so I am good to go. Light yellow and sandy brown, both earth colors, also work well. I wrote in an orange room in a previous house. I felt very good in this room, but am writing with more ease in a room of off-white walls, which is encouraging.
Shapes for creativity should be rounded. The table I used in the last house was oval, here it is triangular with rounded edges.
Decor pieces of sliver, earthenware, rocks, and crystals are all helpful to promote good energy flow. Earthy pictures without fire or water elements are also beneficial for creativity. Steer clear of photos dominant with the colors found in flames. Mountains, forests, and sandy beaches are all good.
For your writing desk the recommendation is to use a command position such that you have a visible control over your surroundings. Optimally, this calls for having a clear sight of the doorway from your chair, a solid wall behind, and a window with a nice view. If you can’t see the door from your chair, try using a mirror on the wall to reflect the door. If there is no window, use an earthy photo and be sure that you have a light source as close to natural light as possible.
The room I am using now has some skylights so I have plenty of natural light. I don’t have access to a window with a nice view, instead I have a few favorite pieces on the desk and a big fluffy dog to keep me company.
Reorganizing my workspace with Feng Shui is my New Year’s push to have a productive writing schedule in the coming months.
Now, I am curious. Do you use any special items nearby while writing to help stimulate the creative juices? Do you believe that places can carry energy, positive or negative? Has anyone tried Feng Shui in their homes?
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Author, speaker, and former teacher, Ellen L. Buikema has written non-fiction for parents and a series of chapter books for children with stories encouraging the development of empathy—sprinkling humor wherever possible. Her Work In Progress, The Hobo Code, is YA historical fiction.