How to be creative every day (without adding anything new to your routine)

I often hear people say they lack any time to be creative. Even I sometimes reach the end of the day dejected because I never found the time to sit and write. Recently, I felt especially miserable at how much I have neglected my art.

Many creatives, entrepreneurs and influences encourage us to be creative every day, to make it a habit that cultivates feelings of positivity and a sense of accomplishment. The problem is many of us rarely have the time to carve out our dream creative practice. Or if we do manage to create a routine, it never sticks.

So what is the alternative? Realise where in your life you are already being creative.

Become conscious of where you are already being creative.

We spend our days rushing around while our heads are projecting and planning out future tasks to do or worrying about this, that, and the other. When we shift our focus to the present and become conscious of our actions, we can observe how creative we are in our day-to-day lives.

Find moments of creativity in mundane routines.

Repetitive actions put us on autopilot. Cooking is a perfect example for me. I delve into the cupboards and the fridge/freezer, seeing what ingredients I have and what meals I could possibly make from them. I choose one and cook it.

If you are like me and do the majority of the cooking, you stop noticing its creative aspects, and the enjoyment of preparing a meal becomes a chore. By reconnecting and consciously focusing on what you are doing, you become more engaged and perhaps rekindle the joy in what may have become a mundane task.

Start to notice the daily tasks where you are being creative. It may be as simple as styling your hair in the morning or something more laborious, such as making bread from scratch. All these actions (big and small) required our creative input, and we should celebrate them.

Mindful Creativity

Mindfulness is a term thrown around a lot, but it simply means being conscious of something, in this case, becoming conscious of our creativity.

When we become mindful of our creativity, we can spot other areas where we can nurture it. Perhaps instead of reading a bedtime story to your child, you make one up instead. When you’re stuck on hold, you doodle on your notepad. In the coffee shop, you quickly sketch people passing by the window. When commuting to work, you let your imagination toy with the next scene in your book.

Remember, life will continuously get in the way.

Often we reach the end of the day and grumble how we had plans to write/paint/go out with the camera to catch the sunset but never found an opportunity to because life got in the way. 

With that thought, your brain sends signals around the body to start producing chemicals and hormones that will make you feel like shit because you never achieved what you planned to do. Then you feel like shit for the remainder of the day, or maybe longer.

Does it ever seem strange how much negative talk we are happy to inflict upon ourselves when we would be much more understanding and encouraging if we were speaking to another person?

Stoics knew it was pointless trying to believe you could control everything. Stuff will happen that is beyond your control, and it might make you angry or upset, but there is nothing you can do. I put the washing out to dry on a day which is supposed to be sunny, but a freak rain cloud bursts overhead and drenches everything. It makes me annoyed, but I put it out because I based my decision on the knowledge I had at the time. Sometimes you win, and sometimes you lose.

‘You have power over your mind – not outside events. Realise this, and you will find strength.’

Marcus Aurelius, Meditations

Give your creativity some gratitude.

Instead of grumbling about your lack of creativity, reframe your thoughts so you show gratitude for those small moments where you were creative. Instead of grumbling, I had to cook dinner. I can be grateful I made something surprisingly tasty with a few tinned pulses, some veg, and a bit of inspiration.

We find it easier to focus on the creative parts we want to cultivate more of. But by zooming out and reminding ourselves how broadly creativity can apply to all aspects of our lives, we can feel more positive about our creative practice.

“The happiness of your life depends upon the quality of your thoughts.”

Marcus Aurelius, Meditations

What creative things do you do daily? Please share them in the comments.

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  1. Thanks for your blog, Emma, you got me thinking.
    I always try to write my little 365, it is my tiny little bit of creativity. Where I can, I try to get a bit more done on our epic magazine, it will take two years to get every issue out there. We are already 5 months into it. I enjoy cycling to work and back. It is a 40 minute journey in which time I listen to music, write in my head, come up with ideas, and another day without a car feels like an achievement to me. I read every chance I get. Pick up a book or a mag or a newspaper, and enjoy a page or two in between doing chores – that normally sparks a need to write. I love ironing while listening to the radio or a podcast. Ideas grow from these moments. A little work in the garden can be creative. Cutting back bramble, trimming a tree, opening up space. Visiting the plants in the garden, seeing how they are. How they have grown. I’m fortunate in that my job allows me to be a little creative, coming up with ideas and making them into reality.

  2. Finding those moments of creativity in the mundane is such a crucial thing. Too many people think of creativity as an all or nothing proposition; either you’re painting the Mona Lisa or it just doesn’t matter. There are so many small creative things that we do without ever considering them to be creative!

    I like that you specifically mentioned cooking here – kitchen creativity is too often overlooked. It has the added benefit of accomplishment; unlike a lot of other creative projects, kitchen creativity puts out a finished result in a timeframe that can be measured in minutes.

    My only complaint is with myself. See, I discovered your blog yesterday…several days *after* delivering a service on the same topic to the local UU congregation this past Sunday. So it goes!

    • Thank you for the comment. It is too easy to go on autopilot, or be consumed by your thoughts that you forget to be present. I totally get why many people dislike cooking, especially when you’re in work all day and you just want to relax and unwind. But for me, even after a long day, I get a huge amount of joy from cooking. There is the creative aspect, but I equally find it very soothing and grounding. Ah, that is always the way! Too often I’ll say, ‘If only I had this yesterday…’ 🙂

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