New Year’s resolutions, beginning with a sacred space

Just the other day I read a post on an excellent blog that I follow regularly by Jeff Goins – the title of the post was Your Clutter Is Killing Your Creativity (And What to Do About It). It was ironic that that post came along when it did because I had just done what the post recommended – clean up my workspace and create an area conducive to creativity and work.

The value of sacred spaces

I’m a big believer in sacred spaces – those places where you can get into the zone instantaneously and do what you set out to do. My car is a sacred space for prayer as I spend so much time in it due to my commute, and I’ve placed special icons in my car to help create the proper atmosphere. The minute I enter this “sacred space,” I am in the mood for prayer.

Creating a sacred space for writing and reading

I needed to do the same when it comes to reading and writing. I had all the pieces – comfortable rocking chair, a small desk for my laptop, a bookcase for my books, and a large window looking out onto the deck and the bird feeders.

However, the pieces were not assembled in an orderly and pleasing manner. So as part of my New Year’s resolution, I organized a sacred space for writing and reading.

#1 – Collecting and displaying my library

I can’t tell you how nice it is to sit at my laptop and see my library in front of me. It’s small, but has plenty of room for growth.

I’ve just started collecting antique books and now I can display my favorites:

This miniature of Moods (original version) is one of my favorite collectibles.

I just acquired Under the Lilacs (along with A Garland for Girls) the other day, with beautiful color plates just like in An Old-Fashined Girl.

#2 – A comfortable place with pictures to inspire

My writing and reading area is comfortable and contains pictures to inspire me . . .

#3 – A way to organize my reading

. . . and a place to organize my reading (4 new books from the library yesterday!):

#4 – Making the resolutions

The sacred place is set, ready for my New Year’s resolutions:

  • To write for a minimum of 10 minutes every day
  • To expand my reading to include authors that inspired Louisa May Alcott, including these basics:
    Uncle Tom’s Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe
    Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
    Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen
    The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne
    Great Expectations by Charles Dickens
    (I know this is a tiny list for a whole year but I’m a painfully slow reader, and this is in addition to my Louisa reading. Guess I will have to add getting to the gym at least twice a week a resolution so I can get more reading time in!).
  • To complete my research and finish a first draft of an essay regarding a member of Louisa’s family
  • To find out more about writing for older children

Creating the sacred space was the easy part, now it’s on to the hard work! Wish me luck. :-)

Do you have any special resolutions for 2012?

Happy New Year to all of you!


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12 thoughts on “New Year’s resolutions, beginning with a sacred space

  1. SilverSeason says:

    Thank you for your pictures of your reading and working spaces. I agree with you: having a well-set-up place to read and work helps with both activities. I have my “nest” at one end of the sofa with a good light, a bookcase, pencils and bookmarks, a place for my coffee.

    I love the illustrations in older books like your Old Fashioned Girl and Under the Lilacs. Do you know who the illustrator was?

  2. This looks beautiful! I’m inspired just looking over your shoulder! Your reading list looks good, except for maybe The Scarlet Letter. Did LMA really read that? I think I read somewhere that it gave Nathaniel’s wife Sophia a headache. Just as long as you’re not one of those people who feel compelled to finish a book (my husband is that way, but I’m not at all).

    • susanwbailey says:

      I was wondering if Louisa read that book. I read it back in the 7th grade and remember it being the only book I liked in school except for Johnny Tremain. :-) I’m reading a children’s book about her journal and she lists all this stuff she read as a child – taking notes. :-)

      Glad you like my space. :-)

  3. Jillian ♣ says:

    I love the bookshelves and all of those collectibles. Beautiful!!

    I’m very, very excited to see that you’ll be reading some of the literature Alcott would have read. Jane Eyre!!!!! I can’t wait to see what you think. :-)

    (I love The Scarlet Letter.)

    • susanwbailey says:

      The last time I read Jane Eyre I was in the 6th grade. In fact, I created a bit of a protest over it. :-) The teacher decreed that all the girls would read Jane Eyre and the boys would read Treasure Island. I asked why and asked if I could join the boys. She said yes. Unfortunately I got cold feet and ended up returning to the girls and Jane Eyre! Hopefully now as a seasoned adult, I will appreciate the book more fully. :-)

      • Jillian ♣ says:

        I would have protested too!!! Simply on principle! :(

        I hope you love it. I didn’t read it until 2010, and I can’t wait to reread it. Have you read any of the others on your list? The Scarlet Letter, etc?

      • susanwbailey says:

        I read The Scarlet Letter in 7th grade and it was the only book in school I really liked except for Johnny Tremain. It read easily and moved right along.

        I saw Pride & Prejudice on TV and liked it a lot. Looking forward to trying that one out. But I’ll try Jane Eyre first, that is, after I get through the Steve Jobs bio I got for Christmas and the stack of books I just got out of the library. :-)

      • Jillian ♣ says:

        Well, I can’t wait for your thoughts! I’m reading the Dickens and Stowe in 2012 as well. Happy New Year, Susan! x

  4. Jillian ♣ says:

    Oh, and Austen! I didn’t see that until now. Super curious to hear your thoughts… :)

  5. What a lovely and delightful collection of books you own. If I had that bookcase and that selection of old books… oh, the inspiration that would hit! Your workspace looks wonderful. Best of luck with your resolutions for the year!

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