18 Simple Ways to Nurture Creativity


No matter what your age or your life path, whether making art is your career or your hobby or your dream, it is not too late or too egotistical or too selfish or too silly to work on your creativity.
— Julia Cameron, The Artist's Way

Last year, around this time, I was facing a slump.  I didn’t feel confident in my work, I wasn’t sure where I was headed in life, and I kept asking myself the essential question: Who am I? 

At the strong suggestion of a friend, I went through the book The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron with a couple other friends and it has truly altered the way I view myself, my creativity, and my spirituality, which I now see are all beautifully intertwined. 

The Artist's Way leads you through a 12-week journey, which, for me, lay a foundation for a much longer and deeper inward journey that continues to affect the way I approach each day.  Nurturing my creativity has become an essential part of my life.  In expressing myself, I suppose I find myself, for I cannot express something that I do not know.

I recommend this book to anyone and everyone.  I find myself often going back through it to find new inspiration and ask myself the questions she poses at the end of each chapter.  This morning, a small group of ladies from my office met to begin going through this book, and our creative spiritual journeys, together. 

I’ve chosen several of these questions/small tasks and supplemented them with a few of my own in the hope that it will nudge you toward your own inner artist and toward a fuller expression of your Self.

18 Ways to Nurture Creativity:

1.  Keep an image file/inspiration board.  Cut out pictures and quotes you love and hang them somewhere you'll see them regularly.  Collect lovely things and hang them there, too.  Pinterest is a lovely, easy way to keep inspired.  I've included several of my favorite images from Pinterest throughout this post.

2. List 20 things you enjoy doing.  It can be from anything simple like reading a book to a big dream like like skydiving.  Choose 1 thing and do it this week.

3. List 5 people you admire - anyone from your mother to someone famous you'll never meet.  Write why you admire each person and observe the commonalities.

4. If you had 5 lives, what would you do and who would you be?  Write down your 5 lives.  Choose one of these and take a small, related action to that life this week.  For example, if you want to be a cowboy/girl, go buy a hat or a belt buckle or Google where to go horseback riding in your area.

5. Reflect on your week and write down the 5 major activities you spent your time on.  Beside each activity, write how much time you think you spent at it this week.  (For example: Browsing the internet...12 hours, Working...35 hours, Running errands and housework...15 hours)  Ask yourself how you would like to spent your time differently.  What can you change and how can you change it?

6. Think of 5 traits you liked about yourself as a child.  Write them down.

7. Look around and ask yourself what is physically cluttering your life.  Clear out what you don't use or love.  Too many clothes?  Give some away.  Papers cluttering your desk?  Organize them and throw away what is no longer relevant.

8. Buy a notebook and carry it with you.  Write down quotes you love, ideas that come to you, or things you want to try.

9. Ask yourself, "If I had enough money and enough time, what would I do?"  Write it down.

10. What are your top 5 favorite films, books, or stories?  Write them down and then ask yourself what they have in common.  Is there a particular theme they share?

11. Ask yourself: Who are 3 people who make me feel my self-worth?  Who are 3 people who make me doubt myself?  Categorize these as your creative cheerleaders and your creative downers.  Learn to embrace your cheerleaders and to protect yourself from your downers.

12. Keep a dream journal.  Whenever you have a dream, write down as many details as you can remember as soon as you wake up.

13. Identify your habits that suck away your creativity.  For me, piddling around online takes up too much of my time.  For others, it may be Netflix marathons or just listening to the creative downers in your life.

14. What brings you peace?  Write down everything you can think of.

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photo by Angela Kesp

15. What is your ideal environment?  Mine is a cozy, quiet cabin in the mountains or a forest.  How can you bring an element of this into your life this week?

16. Identify 10 tiny changes you want in your life.  For example: I want to hang some photos on the wall.  I want new bed sheets.  I want to re-paint my toenails.  I want to trim my bangs.

17. What is your ideal day?  Write down how you would spend the hours in your ideal day.  Choose one small thing and do it this week.

18. Think of an artist or piece of art you love. It can be a movie, a poet, an author, a photographer, a blogger, etc.  Find out where this artist gets his/her inspiration and look it up.  Chances are, you'll love the authors who your favorite author loved.