Below, you’ll find 15 ideas for tapping into your creativity, playing, getting inspired and maybe even seeing the world through a brighter, more magical lens.
Margarita Tartakovsky, MS an associate editor at PsychCentral.com, an award–winning mental health website that’s been around since 1995! Honestly, it’s my dream job. I write all sorts of articles on mental health and psychology for our main blog, World of Psychology. I also pen two blogs on Psych Central—one on body image and the other on creativity. Often I write the words I need to read. I write to let others know they’re not alone. You’re not alone in feeling alone. You’re not alone in feeling anxious. In having a really loud inner critic. In having a hard time navigating your grief. In having a hard time.
Editor: Nadeem Noor
- Look for wonder and magic within your home’s walls. For instance, here’s a favorite prompt from the super creative book Creative Writing: A Journal with Art to Kickstart Your Writing: “You are certain that your bookshelf comes alive at night. But everyone in your household is convinced that you’re just imagining things. Until you set up a small camera and, well, things get weird.”
- List three things you find to be interesting.
- Find a few favorite quotes. Write them down on Post-It notes or index cards. Leave the notes or cards in different places where you’ll need to read such words. You’ll find some quotes here, including this one from Anton Chekhov: “The role of the artist is to ask questions, not answer them.” And this one from Carl Sagan: “Writing is perhaps the greatest of human inventions, binding together people, citizens of distant epochs, who never knew one another. Books break the shackles of time, proof that humans work magic.”
- Make up a magical story using a scene from your day (or try any of these ways to enliven monotonous-feeling moments). Maybe while doing data entry at your cubicle, a fire-breathing dragon enters the building and starts wreaking havoc. Maybe your boss turns into a butterfly. Maybe your train goes back in time. Maybe while washing the dishes, you jump inside a giant bubble created by your soap.
- Connect to how you’re feeling. What sensations are you experiencing? If your emotion could talk, what would it say? Draw a picture with words. Channel your emotions into a color, into a story. As Natalie Goldberg beautifully writes in Writing Down the Bones, writing “is an opportunity to take the emotions we have felt many times and give them light, color, and a story. We can transform anger into steaming red tulips and sorrow into an old alley full of squirrels in the half light of November.”
- Take a photo of something you’d like to remember (or try these other four ways to start the day with creativity).
- Draw what your secret garden would look like.
- Pick a friend for this project: Have each of you fill an envelope with different images, scraps of paper, stickers and any other things. Swap your envelopes, either in person or by mail. Then make three collages from these random materials. Or let this activity spark a writing project. In your envelopes include lists of random phrases—from overheard conversations and even spam subject lines (love that!). This tip comes from Danielle Krysa’s excellent book Your Inner Critic is a Big Jerk: And Other Truths About Being Creative. (And you can check out other activities from her book here.)
- Think about the thoughts, struggles, worries and fears you had when you were a child. Then create a children’s book that speaks to that and offers support and encouragement.
- Enjoy an artist date.
- Make breakfast using a surprising ingredient, which is the last thing people associate with breakfast foods.
- Write about the mundane. Write a story or a paragraph or simply a list. As Sam Anderson writes in the intro to Annie Dillard’s essays, “We don’t need great writing to tell us that obviously amazing things are amazing, just as we don’t need high-powered telescopes to tell us that the sun is warm. What we need from great writing, most urgently, is an understanding that the mundane itself—snails, fireplaces, shrubs, pebbles, socks, minor witticisms—is secretly amazing.” While you don’t need to aim for great writing, Anderson’s point is an important reminder that mundane is actually magnificent and worthy of our attention and celebration.
- Make something you’ve never made before.
- “Feast on your life,” as Derek Walcott writes in his poem “Love After Love.” Interpret this in any way you like.
- Ask yourself: What am I creating to share my talents and gifts with the world? This question comes from Natalie MacNeil’s Conquer Your Year: The Ultimate Planner to Get More Done, Grow Your Business and Achieve Your Dreams. Write your answer in your journal. Or create a collage in response.