10 Ways to Stay Creative

10 ways creative

I wanted to list all the ways I try to stay creative, as well as other ideas I’ve been meaning to try! If you’re in creative rut, I know something here will speak to you. One of the best ways for me to stay creative is to divert from too much routine, and keep my eyes open.

Case in point, when thinking about this post I was having a rough day. I was in a fast food parking lot, and quickly pulled over to reply to a text. I happened to look up and saw this gorgeous bougainvillea hovering over my windshield, bobbing around in the warm summer breeze. The contrast against that day’s clear blue sky was a moment I couldn’t pass. I ignored the text, switched my phone to camera mode, and snapped away. A pretty good lesson in noticing the beauty in front of you, right?

1. Get outside. Take a walk at a park, get near a body of water, watch the sunset or run your feet through the grass. Go on a bike ride. Either way, being outside is a perfect, cost-free way to unwind, clear your head and regroup on ideas.

2. Partner up. A couple years back, my friend Kelly and I would meet up at least once a month for a “writing date.” This involved about an hour of catching up and eating breakfast at Panera, followed by another hour or more of writing on our laptops. This gave a tremendous sense of community and encouragement in our shared love of the craft, and a way to spur each other on and keep going.

3. Keep a list.  I love a cute journal to coral all my ideas, but the truth is, I’ll get many of them in the middle of other tasks. I’ve found the best way to keep a running list is in the notepad on my phone. It’s an easily accessible area to keep everything contained. Try a method that works best for you. The important thing is that your ideas get written down!

4. Create an adventure. Get outside your town, even if it’s just an hour away. Go see a play, check out a new coffee shop, or hit up a museum. Looking at art or just taking time to have fun with someone you love can do wonders for you soul and creativity. Don’t forget to snap some photos to document the day.

5. Revert to childhood. What are some creative things you enjoyed doing as a kid? Maybe it’s painting, drawing or playing an instrument. For me it was some kind of craft project. Even though crafting doesn’t really align with my current goals, using another part of my brain can be relaxing and spark other ideas.

6. Make a collage. Riffle through some magazines and cut out images that inspire you. Look for colors you’re drawn to, or that make you feel a certain way. Take your clippings and arrange them on a bulletin or poster board. Use it as a reminder of what sparks your imagination.

7. Mark the calendar. Just as you schedule anything else, start scheduling creative time. This can be an early morning or a certain evening each week. Maybe even a weekend day each month? It’s such a rewarding and refueling feeling to set aside specific time and work toward your creative goal. Much better than just waiting for it to come around (which is not very often).

8. Get out of your routine. Take another route to work. Go out for ice cream on a week night. Wake up early and read. Do something you would enjoy to mix up your weekly repetition by thinking out of the box. This is mostly an exercise to show that you don’t have to always abide by the rules, especially if you’ve been in a rut.

9. Use what you have. For the longest time I didn’t think I could run a blog because my laptop was old and I didn’t have a fancy camera. So I made adjustments. I use my phone for the camera and write many posts on there too. No need to wait around for the best equipment and stall your efforts. Do your best with what you have and go for it.

10. Don’t wait for perfection. Keep practicing your craft. You’ll improve as you keep going. If you wait for the perfect end product, you won’t be able to enjoy the learning that comes with the journey. Dive in and see where it takes you!

Here & There

A few things I’ve read or listened to online lately.

Sarah Bessey’s recent essay on why she stopped drinking blew me away. She so articulately described the gentle way God convicts us of our habits. I don’t have a particular hang-up with drinking daily as she described, but could completely relate to the way God spoke to her heart about reliance on something outside of Him. In this way, drinking could be replaced by an activity that blocks our dependence on God as our ultimate source. So good!

For fellow writers, I’ve really enjoyed the Hope Writers Podcast featuring author and blogger Emily Freeman, her sister Myquillyn Smith (blogger behind The Nester), their author dad Gary Morland, and their marketing friend Brian Dixon. They chat about all kinds of writerly topics, based on their background and provide a great source of encouragement and inspiration. Bonus that their dynamic together is pretty fun and entertaining.

Speaking of Emily Freeman, she recently posted a great piece on “8 Things Whole-Hearted Creative Women Do Differently.

If you are anything like me, you might struggle with regularly cracking open the bible. To help with this, I’ve used the YouVersion Bible App since my church provides a reading plan on there. I recently discovered though, that there are tons of free devotionals, even by famous authors. Two I’ve loved lately are “Wait and See” focused on waiting for God’s timing, and the “Without Rival” devotional by Lisa Bevere. Once you download the app, just tap the Discover tab and there are so many to choose from, all divided by life issues and topics. It’s awesome!

I was so inspired by this Everygirl article, a first-hand account of what it was like to work out every day for 30 days. I’ve held this goal for a while as well, and to see a journal-style tell-all made it seem much more attainable and completely worth it.

What about you? What have you been reading or listening to online lately?