Creative Space: Rachel Halili



When I started freelancing six years ago, I found comfort in working at coffee shops. It had the ideal workspace environment—air-conditioned rooms, good lighting, relaxing tunes, and nice ambiance, among other things. 

Today, traffic is worse, prices are higher, and not all coffee shops offer free and stable internet. Working from home is now more practical than ever. When I started building my personal creative space, I noticed an improvement in my productivity and my overall well-being. 

The workspace

I have two desks—analog and digital. This was inspired by Austin Kleon’s workspace.

I use my analog desk for writing, making collages or browsing through books, while the other desk is for my digital work. It’s where I keep my hard drives, speakers, tablets, cameras, etc. Having two different spaces helps me in balancing and managing my screen time. 

Inspiration

When I’m in the city, I get a lot of inspiration from the world wide web. But I also keep a collection of postcards, maps, and random free cards from my travels. I store them in boxes and open them whenever I run out of ideas and want to take a break from the screen. I also tape photos on my wall which I change seasonally. 

Lately, I’ve been interested in indoor plants and it has created a brighter and healthier environment for my room. Music is also a huge part of my creative process. Here are some of my favorite playlists on Spotify: Life in Transit, Creative Flow

Routine

As a freelancer, every day is different. Some days are spent at home, while others are spent outside doing errands, attending meetings, or getting out of town. But an ideal workday for me would be waking up at 7 am, working from 9 am until 4 pm in my own creative space. Working out in the afternoon and meeting up with friends in the area, getting home by 10 pm, and falling asleep before midnight. 

When I get to follow this schedule, I feel most accomplished and productive. Some may find it boring and slow-paced since it’s mostly spent in my neighborhood, but I find joy in staying at my creative space. With my line of work, the more time I get to stay home, the more work I am able to accomplish. 

I used to feel detached from the world when I started working from home. Through the years, I’ve learned the importance of being rooted in different communities. Playing sports regularly, attending gigs, and meeting up with low maintenance friends are some things I do to stay connected. Going to co-working spaces and networking meetups every now and then also help in making my work collaborative and exciting.

Struggles

On most days, working from home may feel like you’re not doing anything with your life. I do errands for the family or get asked to do favors for friends a lot because it seems to them that I have all the time in the world. 

There are times when ideas flow and projects come like rain. But there are days when my workload feels like a desert.

I start comparing myself to the lives of my friends who chose a different path, wondering if I am doing the right thing. When those days come, I’ve learned to go through it by taking a break. I try to simply walk outside, learn a new skill, or catch up with a friend over merienda. I used to think that not working on a weekday and doing recreational activities was a waste of time. But creating will always be a process and the downtime is part of it. 

At the end of the day, you are the only person who defines what productivity and success means to you.

Latest Projects

The Starting Point journal and WTN Planner 2020 are two projects I am excited to launch soon. These journals are products of happy creative flowing days as well as creative block days in my workspace. It’s been a journey creating these unique collaborative projects, going through revisions after revisions while experiencing self-doubt every now and then. But being surrounded by supportive friends and family has always been my anchor in my creative pursuits. 

You can start your own creative project. All you need is to create an environment where you feel comfortable mentally, physically, and emotionally. Once you are able to establish that safe space, creativity and ideas will start to flow. Making space may mean building a physical place by adding personal touches of inspiration or intentionally making time during the day, like mindfully jotting down ideas during your commute home. 

We all encounter creative blocks and self-doubt, but what separates working artists from aspiring ones is that they show up and do the work. They don’t let the bad days define their worth as an artist. I hope you find yours.

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Story and photos by Rachel Halili

 

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