I know a lot of creative people who feel stuck simply because they can’t always express themselves the way they want. That’s why it’s important to cultivate a creative lifestyle no matter what.
Creative means a lot of things to a lot of people. To me, it’s all about getting to express yourself the way you want and having the time and energy to explore new things. I do know that day jobs don’t always accommodate that.
When I worked on a college campus, all I had to do was take a walk in between classes to blow off steam and feel a little inspired. I could go to the library and peruse the first editions in the decks with the glass floors, or I could walk through all the public art on campus. But when I worked in an office, it was stifling and we weren’t even allowed to listen to music while we worked.
It’s with that memory in mind that I bring you this post today all about building your own creative lifestyle and 11 things you can try to make it happen.
What Is a Creative Lifestyle?
The creative lifestyle meaning I’m after today is the one where you get to follow your heart most of the time. I do acknowledge that it’s not always possible, at least, not in the moment.
To me, a creative lifestyle looks like starting my day in a way that works for me. That may mean reading a book while sipping coffee, or it may mean working out. It could mean listening to a playlist to pump me up for the day, or it could be me going to the library to just look around.
There’s no set definition, but there is a feeling, and that’s the feeling of freedom to do the thing you need to do to feed that creative part of yourself.11 Things to Try for a More Creative Lifestyle Click To Tweet
11 Things to Try for a More Creative Lifestyle
Depending on the day and the season, the things that make me feel creative may change. But having the option to engage in many creative things is always welcome. These 11 things always make me feel good and get me excited to write more.
001: Try new things often.
I am not one of those people who is good at things on the first try. Not even close. But still, I like to try new things. Like some new kind of art or even a board game.
It really doesn’t matter what it is. The key is to do something where you are a fish out of water every once in a while. Doing something new shows you a new perspective and makes you think about things differently. You learn to solve new problems. And when you go back to whatever it is you normally do, you do it differently or approach it with a new mindset.
And sometimes, you find a new thing that you genuinely like to do, and you get to keep doing it. I recommend checking out these artist date ideas from The Artist’s Way to help you find something to try, or to help you build a weekly routine where you try something new often.
002: Schedule around your art/craft/trade/pursuit.
I’ve talked about this a million and one times, and I’m sure every planning post on this blog is all about putting the thing that you love first.
Whether you’re looking to maximize your weekend by making more space for your creative pursuit, or you want to get better about time blocking or you need more time-saving hacks, you gotta think about the desired end goal. What do you want to have accomplished by the end of the day/weekend/week/month?
Putting your art first keeps it top of mind, and doing that also makes it harder for you to put it on the back burner. I won’t say that it’s easy to build this habit, especially if you’re exhausted and burnt out, but making your art a priority at least in your mind will shift how you do pretty much everything else.
003: Change routines often.
This is something I’ve recently been doing, and I love it. But also, I hate it.
Routines are great for putting specific areas of your life on autopilot. Having a routine when I take a shower means I don’t forget to wash my face because I did things out of order. And having a routine when it comes to cleaning up the kitchen after dinner is great because then I can run through it all really quick, checking all the boxes and making sure I did it all.
But in creative work? Routines can put you in a rut so fast. Changing up your routine can make it easier for you to solve creative problems or get unblocked. And it’s a good way to find out when you feel more creative, especially as seasons shift and your energy levels change through the day.
But it is hard to do, and that’s why I don’t always like it.
004: Refilling the well is mandatory.
Consume things that inspire you. You should do this even if you don’t consider yourself a creative. Read books that make you want to write them. Watch movies that make you want to film one of your own. Listen to music that makes you want to perform it.
When you consume stuff that inspires you, it makes it easier for you to keep making your art. And the easier it is to keep making it, the more you will make.
005: Say no often.
Part of scheduling your art above everything else is saying no to other stuff. Say no often and with impunity. The creative lifestyle doesn’t have a ton of room for doing things you hate or that don’t actually need to be done. You know who has a lot of time for that? That person at your day job who relishes making meetings with no discernible purpose and who doesn’t actually have any functional job skills.
But boy, do they talk themselves up in those 4-hour meetings…
006: Keep your eyes on your own paper.
Everyone is creative. Everyone does cool stuff. You can’t run to try what others are doing at the expense of your own stuff. Now, you can try new things every now and again, and I already told you to do that. But let’s not abandon projects, okay?
Keep your head down and get your work done. There will be time to play when you’re done. You can try stuff when you’re taking a break or when you don’t have a project on your desk. But if you’re almost done with that magnum opus? EYES ON YOUR OWN PAPER.
007: Show your work.
Once you’ve finished something, you need to share it. Letting the world know what you do is important.
Now, notice that I said “show your work” and not “seek validation from outsiders.” You can’t build a house on someone else’s land, and you can’t build your creative identity on the opinions of others. But you can build a creative lifestyle by creating stuff, sharing it with the world, and repeating the process.
008: Check in with your intuition daily.
You can use tarot for this, or you can learn to check in with your gut. Checking in with your intuition looks different for everyone, so figure out how you do it. Does sitting on your porch with a cup of coffee every morning open a channel to the spirit guides for you? Does meditation help you better understand those vibes around you?
It doesn’t matter how you do it, but learning to check in with your intuition can smooth out the kinks of your creative process. You won’t spend nearly as much time doubting yourself and you’ll know exactly what your creative project needs.
009: Use your imagination like a kid.
I’m a daydreamer to my core, but I also enjoy playing Dungeons and Dragons. Getting the opportunity to imagine new worlds and play around in them is a fun way to let my brain play in a low stakes way. Because I use my imagination daily as a writer, that’s the day job. But getting to play with it in other ways is how I stretch those muscles and keep them sharp.
010: Dress the part.
A lot of my self-expression was once beaten out of me by the idea of professionalism. I love that somehow putting on a cheap polyester blend top with gray slacks means professional. I know that not everyone has to work in really conservative environments with strict dress codes, but if you have, I feel for you.
Dress for the lifestyle you want. Wear bright colors and funky scarves. Let your accessories be fun. You may not be able to go all out in your daily life, but make sure that every single day you wear something you love and not just because you have to. Personally, I’m a fan of high tops and blazers.
011: Follow creative impulses whenever they strike.
Inspiration, like opportunity, knocks. And you gotta let it in.
So when you have an idea, chase it. Sure, don’t abandon what you’re working on, but take some notes. The more ideas you record as that impulse hits, the more you have to work on when your current project ends. And that’s that thing about the creative lifestyle. You gotta keep creating every single day. So make it easier for you to do just that.Part of a good creative lifestyle is following those creative impulses whenever they hit. Click To Tweet
How Do You Live a Creative Lifestyle?
How do you make your life a little more conducive to creativity? What’s your secret for checking in with your intuition? When was the last time you tried something new?