As an artist and a writer, I know firsthand the benefits of having a consistent creative practice. From my experience (and backed by research) I particularly enjoy the physical and emotional boosts I notice in the form of improved immunity, reduced stress and anxiety, and increased happiness.
These amazing benefits are FOR SURE why you I’d encourage you to start (and maintain) a creative habit. But today, friends, I’m going to let you in on another reason you should be carving out time to MAKE something on the regular.
YOU were born to create. Yes, that’s right. We are all born creative, and I believe that it’s our soul’s purpose to create. There is magic inside you, and it’s time that you share it with the world.
And for this, I’m not talking the creating you do for work. Or the meals you cook for your family. Or the amazing shower you threw for your best friend’s sister’s dog. While all are creative outlets, I am sure, those are creations you mainly do for other people. Yes, you like being good at your job, and serving love for your family through amazing meals, and that shower, TBH, was the very best thing EVER.
But, today, let’s talk about creating. JUST FOR YOU.
A painting made on the fly. A meal cooked from scratch. A hum of an original song. A short story or journal entry. Even curating a playlist of all YOUR favorite songs. With no expectations. No audience in mind. No perfect Instagram or TikTok to document your work for the world to adore. The options are endless for how you choose to express yourself these days.
Let’s talk creating for just a bit. You and me, talking. And then, you go MAKE something. Creating, not consuming.
Today, I’m sharing the wisdom of a few of my creative friends on how this practice keeps them grounded. How they carve out time in their days to make, consistently. And how going with the flow will be helpful in the days ahead and in deciding what you want to learn next.
1. Try new things.
Let your interest and curiosity guide you as to what you want to play with next. Try new things, take risks, keep practicing the things you love and let go of the things you don’t.
A master of this philosophy is of course Kate Arends herself. I love following her latest projects and passions on Instagram to see what new hobbies she’s tackling today.
“Life is busy, and one way I’m able to fit creative pursuits into my days and weeks is by setting aside short, approachable increments dedicated to them. As an example, I’ve been learning to play the piano lately, and I’ll set aside small periods of time to practice that feel really doable for my schedule. I also try not to get into creative pursuits unless I’ve already tackled one or two of my big priorities for the day—like waiting to play the piano until after I’ve finish writing, as a reward to myself.” – Kate Arends
2. Consistency is KEY.
Having a creative practice ONLY works if you are carving out time to make it happen. Soon, the dopamine hit of joy, play, and reduced stress will motivate you to keep going. But at the beginning, being intentional with your time is a real and valid hurdle. Setting aside some time, to explore your hobby, most days, is key to building discipline and play in your days. New York artist and creative director Sarah Von Dreele describes her process in these words:
“My exploratory process is very iterative, and I draw upon an innate sense of endurance. However, by allowing myself to pause, be it for an hour or a week, I am able to create a more consistent and effective creative space.” – Sarah Von Dreele
3. But, be flexible and gentle with yourself in the process.
Remember, you are here for the fun. The play. The reduction of stress. If you’re struggling to fit it in, to stick to a schedule, to push yourself each time you sit down to create, it’s going to suck the fun and goodness out of it. Learning to make creating a priority while also leaning into the ebbs and flows of schedules and life is a balance that is crucial to build as you are creating this habit.
Dallas-based multidisciplinary artist Amy Opsal has found that letting go and staying flexible are key to consistency.
“I’ve had to let go of past expectations to fit creativity into these current, uncertain days working at home with kids. I’ve tried setting a timer first thing in the morning while kids are still sleeping, exploring new mediums to keep me inspired, inviting the kids to join me in the studio, and just focusing on maintaining a practice—not production.” – Amy Opsal
4. Focus on the process, not the outcome.
I know, radical, right? Very rarely do we take our eye off perfection. Off beauty. Off of curating the perfect finished project to document and share.
But in the creative process, getting in touch with your heart and the WHY you are committing to this journey is key to enjoying the process. To leaning into the joy, the play, the unknown. To discovering new hobbies and new techniques, to making mistakes, and to having fun along the way.
Alexis Joseph of Case for Making says it best:
“My creative habit brings me a feeling of endless potential and curiosity.” – Alexis Joseph
Out of this curiosity, she’s reinvented herself MANY times. From architect and artist, to shop owner and paint maker, this interest in learning and following her interests is oh-so-inspiring.
5. Find your why.
Knowing WHY you show up to create daily is an amazing reminder to keep coming back to your practice. Whether you create for stress reduction, to play with colors, to try new things, to reward yourself for all the other adulting in your day, being clear on your why helps as you are building new habits and will sustain you as you continue.
For artist, Kimberly Michelle:
“I am a “free spirit planner”—which means I create a list of tasks each night before bed. Then I allow myself the freedom to organically complete tasks during the course of the day. Creating at least 5 days each week is a must for me. It boosts my spirit and melts away stress. 😆” – Kimberly Michelle
In these days of so much change, transition and heightened awareness in our world, having space for you to play, express yourself, practice self-care, and have fun WITH NO EXPECTED OUTCOME is needed. It’s necessary.
Creating is as soothing for your soul as meditation.
As good for your heart as a hug.
And as beautifully fulfilling whether the THING you make turns out amazing or ends up being recycled.
So, go, go, go. Go make something. Just for you. And enjoy the process along the way.
Jill Elliott is a creative consultant, strategist, and thinker constantly seeking inspiration and balance. As a writer, artist, and founder of The Color Kind she seeks to inspire others to live creatively every day. She can often be found making art and messes alongside her 8-year-old daughter and Goldendoodle puppy.