Want to avoid feeling burned out and drained? Then you need a set of tools and practices that will nourish your creativity. I asked 16 of my favourite creatives to share some of the things that they do to keep their creativity alive and well-fed…
How to Nourish Your Creativity
Read, listen and observe.
I read and I listen and I observe. (I guess that’s three things!) By reading, I’m absorbing someone else’s view on the world, their language, their observations and I’m getting out of my head. By listening and observing, I’m noticing the world, what’s not working, and what the people (specifically, my people!) need, so that I can create more than that. I always get reinvigorated by getting out of my head and noticing the world and the people around me!
– Tara Swiger, taraswiger.com
Focus on simple tasks
Notice when you are in the shower, or taking a walk, or on the toilet, and suddenly you are struck with a moment of insight. This isn’t by accident. When we are able to simply soft focus on a simple task, such as showering, our brain is able to slow down, so the unconscious brain is able to leap into action, and create powerful connections we previously hadn’t seen.
– Matt Cooke, Creative Warrior Living
When I first started working for myself I was terrible at nourishing my creativity because I’d never needed to sustain it for the long term. Now giving myself time for my ideas to simmer, to make sure I’m rested, and inspired is non-negotiable.
I meditate, read, take classes from people I admire and love to craft and learn new skills. I also try not to work unless I’m really inspired and excited. When my creative batteries are charged my work is better, and I have more to give my clients. It’s been crucial for me to take how I feel into account when I’m looking at my success.
– Kyla Roma, kylaroma.com
I make an active effort to try new things. Each year on my birthday I make a list of 25 new things I want to try and then I slowly work my way through that list over the course of the year. Each time I get out of my comfort zone, I feel so much more creative!
The way I keep my creativity alive is to spread it all across my life! By which I mean not boxing it off to one area and saying I’m only creative when I’m doing that. I paint, but I also flex my creative muscles in everything I do, from writing emails to cooking to folding the laundry! I’m always asking, how can I make this more interesting, fun, or effective? Opportunities to be creative are everywhere all the time; once you make that mindset shift life gets much more interesting.
– Tara Leaver, taraleaver.com
My creative practice is an ongoing, ever-evolving, changing and growing one. I begin – always – with the breath and with a quiet centered purposeful connection to my body and innermost self. My physical yoga-asana inspires me. My spiritual meditation practice guides me. Trust and intuition light my way.
– Marcie Scudder, marciescudder.com
Meditation is my path to living creatively. When I feel overwhelmed by the rush of my everyday life or when I feel stuck I take a seat to just sit and be with my breath. My sitting practice helps me pause and get some distance from the rush I am experiencing and in doing that I often connect with an inner wisdom to navigate my right now more mindfully & creatively.
– Aarathi Selvin, Pause for Perspective
Trust in the tools
My job – a commercial and documentary photographer – is so reliant on my creativity, my ability to see things, see an image out of whatever I’m photographing and also to see and share the client’s vision for what they want. Sometimes, when I’m not holding my cameras in my hand, I can find it quite overwhelming, thinking ‘what if I’m not feeling creative or I’m just not going to ‘see’ anything, what if I can’t find the shot!’. Over the years, I have taught myself not to panic and to trust that with the camera in hand, everything changes; it gives me confidence and it changes the way I view things, how I approach a scene and also how I see light. Light is THE most important thing and this I search for constantly. It can change an ordinary scene into something utterly beautiful and unique, you just have to look for it.
– Eliza Deacon, Eliza Deacon Photography
Space nourishes my creativity. That means I let myself have a good sleep because so many of my creative ideas emerge in that space that hovers between sleeping and waking, sometimes in the middle of the night and sometimes in the early morning. That means allowing for downtime during the day to calm the usual mental activity so ideas spontaneously arise in the quiet spaces in between. Space gives birth to my creativity.
– Sandra Pawula, Always Well Within
I make sure I give myself the precious gift of enough solitude and quietude as often as possible. As an introvert, I need to get away from the noise and chatter so that I can dive deep into my inner world, replenish my energy and travel into avenues of creative ideas and splendid discoveries.
– Cigdem Kobu, Peaceful Triumphs
Take yourself offline
Talking blogging and business offline is one of the biggest things I do to nourish my creativity. I’ve got a few blogging and web design buddies who I try to grab lunch/Skype with on a regular basis. It’s incredibly helpful to get away from work, bounce ideas off someone else, hear what they’re working on, and chat about the good and bad of being an online entrepreneur. I always end up inspired and whip out my phone to take notes. And any business activity that can include dessert or drinks is A+ in my book!
– Sarah Morgan, xosarah.com
My life requires creativity and beauty. It’s one of the ways I feel connected and in full expression of who I am. And as you know, for creativity to flourish, it must be fed. So, the most important thing that I do to nourish my creativity is simply: showing up. I give it space for it to flow through me. Whether that means dedicating time for the studio, pulling out my notebook to sketch while I’m sitting in a waiting room, or just being present and mindful so that I notice when moments of inspiration strike. Showing up for creativity means that I’m devoted to this work. And that allows for more beauty and magic in my life.
– Kristal Norton, KristalNorton.com
Experiment, play and “waste” time
– Emma Cameron, resilienceflow.org // emmacameron.com
– Col Mitchell, colmitchell.com
Listen to music
I often quote a traditional Irish fiddler called Martin Hayes. He says creativity is in the “simple wisdom of knowing what is all around you and playing that” To nourish my own creativity as a contemplative photographer, I listen to fiddle music and it reminds me of my own roots and the soulful depths of the very ordinary. Music is heart stirring and magical. It moves from being something to get lost in to something to jump up and dance to, and I do both!
I talk about contemplative photography here.
Here is Martin talking about roots, music and simple wisdom.
– Catherine Drea, Foxglove Lane Studio
Meditate on ideas
My visionary art comes from my soul and heart, so to nurture the flow of creativity I either do Soul Force Meditation or go on a Shamanic journey. In meditation all except what is of my essence dissolves in the silence. In a journey I take a specific question to spirit for a resolution. In both practices I receive an image, idea or experience of what will come into form.
– Kathleen O’Brien, kathleen-obrien.com
How do you nourish your creativity? Leave a comment and share your ideas!
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Image: danist oh