The Most Important Elements of a Creative Workspace, According to Author Elizabeth Gilbert

updated May 3, 2019
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After penning three best-selling memoirs and self-enlightenment books, Elizabeth Gilbert might know a thing or two about how to organize an office space in a way that leads to optimum creativity.

Recently on her Facebook page, the Eat, Pray, Love and Big Magic author shared a step-by-step tour of all the personal elements in her home office and how/why they inspire her—along with her tips for the most important elements of a creative workspace, and why you should always be creating no matter what highs or lows you’re feeling or going through.

In her Facebook post, Gilbert writes:

The spaces that we make for ourselves in which to be quiet and creative MATTER. They don’t have to be big rooms. It can be just a little corner, like this room. But the space should be clean, and everything in that space should remind you of who you are. There should be nothing in that space that doesn’t bring your senses to life.”

Gilbert is currently researching a book set in the 1940s theater world in New York City, and shows the “thousands of index cards, filled with research” both organized in file boxes and strewn across her “beloved old desk”, which she “built the room around…so that it can never be removed. Kind of like Odysseus’s bed.”

One intrepid fan and self-proclaimed office supply nerd identified the organizers as Semikolon by Pierre Belvedere, and while the writing desk is obviously vintage there are several similar styles on Marketplace. The walls of her office are spartan, save two works of art that speak to her with “powerful female energy, focus and silence and beauty.” One is from an Indonesian artist from the 1920s named Bramasto, and the other is from a contemporary American artist named Julia Marchand.

Gilbert also shared her favorite lamp, which is shaped like a sail and “reminds me to be free”; her favorite token, the emblem from her first car, which “reminds me to be brave”; her plant, which “reminds me to be alive”; and her robin’s egg, which “reminds me to be vulnerable.”

In her post, Gilbert also writes:

“What I want to say is this: Whatever your life brings to you, respond with creation. If you are celebrating, create. If you are grieving, create. Only create. Always create. Constant creative response. This is the engine of resilience.”

And Gilbert knows a thing or two about both love and loss: Less than a year and a half after announcing her split from husband of 12 years Jose Nunes (the “love” part of her best-selling memoir turned movie) to marry her best friend Rayya Elias, Gilbert lost Elias to pancreatic and liver cancer in January.