Sunday, 3 September 2017

daily habits that increase creativity

Creativity can be fleeting. One nighttime burst of inspiration can be followed by weeks of creative blocks, or ideas lacking direction. Whilst there is no surefire way to become and stay inspired, there are habits that you can engage in that will help you. Every artist experiences periods of creative blankness. They can last for several hours, or several years.

Even if these habits do not lead directly to creativity, they can improve your mood and imagination, and give you more experiences to work with.


Reading is vital to all creative work. As a writer and a literature student, I am obviously biased, but learning more about the world and other people's lives can never be a bad thing. 

Don't just read books that directly relate to what you are interested in either. Delve into the history of things to gain a fresh insight or see something from a new angle. Often creative blocks rise from a feeling that everything has already been done and it is impossible to be original. However, by reading widely you may stumble upon an idea that you can work with to create something truly unique. 

Look out for books focusing on the works of lesser known artists to find new role models. The year I spent only reading books by women opened my eyes to literary geniuses that are often overlooked in the canon and gave me a greater sense of belonging as a female writer.

Turn off your phone

Smart phones and social media mean that we are saturated with potential inspiration at all times. It is so overwhelming that, more often than not, apps like Instagram breed envy rather than creativity. 

Turn off your phone and spend some time creating something for yourself with no end goal of sharing it with anyone. I find that I do my best writing in my journals because no one is ever going to read it and I am therefore less self-conscious. 

It is important to take time out from social media occasionally. Recently I have only used social media to promote my zine after realising it was having a negative impact on my mental health. I will go back to it when I’m ready, but it’s important to know when you need to take a break.

Listen to music

Music can inspire such a spectrum of emotions. If you find it distracting to work whilst listening to music, try a genre you wouldn’t usually listen to. Music without lyrics and film scores both work well.

See what words and images to come to your mind when you are listening to an ambient soundtrack. It is amazing what our imaginations can create from virtually nothing. This exercise should also be done with your phone switched off.

Get outside

Walk, run, skip, whatever, just get outside. Haruki Murakami runs 10 kilometres everyday because he believes that, when writing a novel, “Physical strength is as necessary as artistic sensitivity.”

Running is a good way to clear your head, but if you want to become more perceptive, just go for a walk with a camera and a journal and observe. People watch, see the way the sun/rain/clouds make everything around you look, appreciate nature, pretend to be a Romantic poet. 

Work at the time that suits you best

When you study the daily routines of successful artists, you will find that most are either morning people or night owls. There is a widespread belief that getting up early is somehow more virtuous and productive. Getting up early can inspire a productive day, but if you know you work better at night, then there is little point forcing yourself to wake up super early. 

There is no formula to creativity. The discipline of a routine does help, but find out when you naturally work best and schedule creative activities during that time. Don't try to force someone else's routine on yourself, or you will just become miserable. 

1 comment:

  1. lovely post! It's hard to keep creative whilst studying - these might really help me actually!


If you comment I'll always love you and we can hang out and bake vegan cupcakes and drink tea and listen to sixties records. Go on, you know you want to...