Cultivating a creative practice is profoundly rewarding. We, at Northwest Creative & Expressive Arts Institute, believe that creativity is for everyone, not just artists, or creative “types”. Read on for some ways to get your creative spark ignited! 

10 Tips to Get Creative

By Sibel Golden, PhD, LMHC, REAT
President, NWCEAI

photo of child with wings
Find your creative wings!


1. Be Present

Mindfulness is the compassionate experience of being present, and it can happen anywhere, anytime. It is an important part of cultivating creativity. Allowing yourself to explore your creativity without judgment and perfectionism opens the way for authentic creative expression. Staying in the moment supports this process. Learn more about this is our Expressive Arts & Mindfulness Workshop

2. Journal

It’s amazing how fulfilling keeping a journal can be. There is no right or wrong to do it, which is fantastic! Whether you would like a daily practice, a theme focused journal, an art journal, it can be an inspirational way to grow your creative life.

We’re planning on offering a Journal Workshop for clinicians in 2018! Stay tuned!

3. Be Curious

Do something different in your day—take a new way home from work, explore a neighborhood or town that you’re unfamiliar with, go to a used bookstore and explore a genre of books that you never have before (Botany? Architecture?). Cultivate that sense of wonder and awe that so easily gets bypassed. Novelty, curiosity, wonder, and awe are all things that support living a creative life.

4. Be-friend Your Inner-Critic

Sound counter-intuitive? Your inner-critic wants some attention. There are many ways to try to find out what it needs to say. Try writing from the point-of-view of the inner critic. What comes up? Quiet the critic by thanking it for trying to help (it may be trying to protect you in some way), but telling it that you’ve got it, and will take it from here! Often, when it gets what it needs, compassion ushers it out of your life, and creativity takes up more space. As my son said, “It doesn’t matter what anyone else says, because at the end of the day, who’s there? You.” Pretty good advice, I think.

5. Rx

Like a multi-vitamin or exercise, do one thing a day to open up the creative channel, ie. a haiku-a-day, writing in your journal every morning, a sketch-a-day, daily play-list, inspirational reading, gratitiude, etc. Spend a contained amount of time, i.e. 10 minutes, or go timeless! Make it part of your routine. Doctor’s orders!

6. Begin

Open a cookbook, a gardening book, a travel guide, anything expansive that you’ve been meaning to explore, and start planning. It doesn’t have to be a big thing, but just the act of beginning and planning, without judgment, can be inspiring.

7. Shoot Inspiration

Go on an inspiration photo shoot. It doesn’t matter where you are—you might find inspiration at work, at home, outside, or at your grocery store! With the your senses as your guide, take photos that give you a feeling of inspiration: love, spiritual connection, joy, happiness, kindness, compassion…

8. Close Your Eyes

Paint, work with clay, draw, dance~with your eyes closed. Be in the process and experience a new way of creating. The product is not the focus here, but you may be surprised to see the result! We talk about this in our CEU Workshop: Expressive Arts Toolbox

9. Find Your Muse

Who do you admire creatively and why? It could be someone living or dead, or a character from a film, novel, play, or opera. What do you admire about this person? What are some ways that you can relate to this person? How does this person inspire you? Get out the journal and take some time to answer these prompts!

10. Find Solitude

The importance of alone time is often underestimated. It’s very different from isolation and loneliness. Solitude allows for regenerative space and time. It offers time to dream and play; to find clarity; to make way for inspiration and ah-ha moments. It is essential nourishment for creativity.


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