Living a Creative Life
I used to live for the weekends. Now, instead, I incorporate these exact things in my day-to-day mindset and routines to add excitement into my life, to workout my creativity muscles on a regular basis, and I do them all without adding more To-Do’s or stress into my week. Whatever your day-job is, these are the things that will help you add more creativity into your life.
If you want to change something about your life, you must be intentional. You must decide to change, and fully commit to that decision, if you want to have any chance of it actually changing. Therefore, if you’re wanting to live a more creative life, you must decide and commit to being more creative every day.
One way that I intentionally bring creativity into my life is by exercising. It gets my mind moving and re-energizes me after a draining day at work, so that when I get back home I am excited and motivated to get started on my new idea.
Another thing I do is intentionally set aside time every couple of days to create something new, and protect that time at all costs. Try keeping a running list of projects that you want to try, or ideas that you have throughout the week, so that when it comes time to sit down to create, you’re not stuck trying to come up with a new idea.
Be Curious and Try New Things
Kids are naturally very curious and therefore very creative. They have big imaginations and a desire to learn. They ask questions, keep an open mind, and use what they learn to come up with new ideas and wild stories.
Some of my most unique ideas have come when I’ve been prompted by something entirely new. A new concept, a new way of looking at things, someone else’s ideas or opinions; it all comes together to shape who we are and what we believe. Continually having our mind opened to these new concepts will also open our mind to new ideas.
I’m an Enneagram 7, and so I’m always looking for the next thing to try, or the next thing that’ll be fun. Traveling to new places, making things with my hands, trying new foods, and talking to people from other cultures or backgrounds are some of my favorite ways grow, and eventually these experiences spark new ideas. So, be like a child and really open your eyes to your surroundings, be curious and see what wild new ideas come to you.
Look for Inspiration
Wonder at your surroundings, inspiration is easy to come by when you look for it. One of the best places to find inspiration is within your own life; what do you find interesting? What makes you laugh, think, cry? How do you feel about that big situation in your life? Gathering inspiration from your own life will guarantee that it’s unique to you, while still being relatable to others.
You can also gather inspiration from your friends or online communities. I look online for people who are doing awesome things, or accounts and blogs that make me laugh. I take note of things that I read or that people say that make me pause and think, make me laugh, or make me feel something. These things often lead to larger or more complex ideas that I turn into illustrations or blog posts.
My favorite place for inspiration is nature. I’m constantly noticing something new – like the bright new growth on the tips of the tree branches in the springtime – that I might miss if I wasn’t paying close attention. Sometimes nature shows up between the cracks in the sidewalk, at the farmer’s market, in the sky on the drive into work, or in a picture frame, captured by someone else’s perspective.
Keep your eyes open, you never know when you might see something inspiring. Here are my favorite places and ways to be inspired:
Visiting museums or artist studios
Listening to music and letting it flow around me
Bringing beauty into my home via artwork, flowers, and home decor
Looking at well-designed magazines
Scrolling through my favorite Instagram accounts, and Pinterest
Wes Anderson movies (or similarly directed movies)
Letting the sunlight in
Never Stop Learning
Learning something new leads to new ideas, new projects, new creative hobbies, and gives you the tools to further your craft or creative endeavor. Learning is another way to intentionally bring more creativity into your daily life.
Here are some of my favorite ways to learn new ideas that inspire me creatively and give me the tools I need.
Reading inspiring and thought-provoking books
Taking online classes like Skillshare
Signing up for e-courses from my favorite artists and designers
Listening to podcasts
Think about your career and day-to-day life, and how it aligns with the dreams you had for yourself as a child. When you were young, you didn’t have all the biases and societal-pressures or financial pressures or any other pressures that you may have now. You just did things for fun and dreamed about what you’d want to do when you were older if nothing else mattered.
Just because you grew up and you do have pressures now, doesn’t mean that you can’t dream big and strive for those dreams. While you’re dreaming, consider your childhood dreams and favorite activities, as they may very well give you insight into what you truly enjoy.
My dream as a child was to help others and make a difference in the world; my hobbies were arts and crafts, and I was almost always outside. As an adult, I’ve lost the physical art of making things, and am instead always attached to a computer. Thinking about my childhood dreams helped me find my purpose, and helped me realize that I may get more joy and passion out of my work if I incorporate hand-crafted elements, or nature into my designs.
So start dreaming, consider your childhood self, and then don’t be afraid to strive for what may really bring more joy and creativity into your work and life.
I once read that “There is nothing more harmful to creativity than an empty tank, a heart of haste, or detached living.” Surround yourself with things and people that bring you joy, that dream with you, encourage you, lift you up when you’re down, and fill you up. We all know that one can’t pour from an empty cup, so why do we expect to create from an empty place?
We must love ourselves first, love our life, and only then can we create things that we love. So do the things that make you happy; learn how to make your favorite coffee drink, buy fresh flowers when you’re out grocery shopping, watch your favorite episode of Friends...again. And get rid of anything that doesn’t bring you joy and fill you up inside, and if you can’t get rid of something, find the positives and choose to be joyful anyways, for your own sake and the sake of your creativity. No one else can take better care of you, than you.
My Favorite Resources for Living a Creative Life:
Read: Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert
Learn: Skillshare – An online platform with all sorts of creative courses that you can take. Use this link for your first 2 months FREE!
Challenge: Homwork by Lauren Hom – Weekly creative challenges delivered right to your inbox.