10 Artist Habits to Foster Creativity...and some are going to surprise you

How you can increase your creative productivity without sacrificing your sanity? Here are 10 habits that will help foster creativity and innovation are detailed below-some of which may be surprising!

10 Artist Habits to Foster Creativity

1) Schedule time for creativity. 

Early in the day, this is generally when you're most alert and creative, so set aside the first part of the day to create something new or make progress on a specific project.  This can apply to a variety of creative endeavors-whether it's developing new ideas, writing, art or something else entirely.

If mornings aren't your best time for creativity because you're groggy from sleep, then try scheduling creativity at other times in the day when you have more energy. You may find that after lunch or mid-afternoon is a good time for you, or that creativity comes easier to you at night.

Experiment until you find what time of day works best to get your creativity going.

2) Find an environment that inspires you.

Whether an environment is full of light, color, music or art, find what helps bring out your creative side.  This is how some people are able to come up with new ideas or make progress on a specific project faster.

If you're not sure what type of environment would work best for you, then experiment with different types of items to see which ones work best. You can try adding plants around your desk or maybe pictures of people who inspire you next to the computer screen. Mix different colors throughout the room and put some music on in the background. Or remove all distractions from your workspace entirely for 15 minutes to see what happens! It's all about trying different things until you find what works best for you.

3) Take walks outside to get away from distractions like computers and phones for a while.

Get some fresh air, spend some time in nature and clear your mind of everything before coming back to work plus it's great for brainstorming ideas with no distractions.

I recommend doing so without listening to a podcast - but if you must, listen to Artists Soar! (my shameless plug :) )

Another way to foster creativity is by letting the ideas come naturally instead of forcing them. Sometimes creative endeavors are stalled when there's too much pressure or expectation involved. The best creative endeavors happen on their own, so leave plenty of time for them to flow.

This doesn't mean you can't work on your project at all-you just need to let the ideas flow more naturally on their own without any pressure or expectations attached. It's not always easy, but it will lead to better results in the long run!

4) Avoid anything that requires extensive attention during your key creative time like writing, coding or solving complex math problems. These are sustained efforts so they're best saved for later in the day when your energy is slowly dwindling.

5) Make sure you have plenty of sleep so you can maximize your productivity during waking hours. You'll also notice that you're more creative after sleeping!

Sleep is something else that can really help you to maximize your creativity and productivity. It provides the space required for your brain to process all the thoughts you have during nighttime hours-so it's important not to neglect this valuable time!

Some people like to work on creative activities at night, but others find that they can't do so because it destroys their sleep. If you aren't getting the required eight hours of good-quality sleep each night, then you won't be able to maximize your creativity and productivity throughout the day!

6) Take breaks to stretch and breath.  

As an artist, you need to take care of your body. If you don't, it will affect the quality of your work. However many artists are too busy to find time for their own physical therapy routine. As a result, I've compiled 4 stretches from the UCLA Recreation Youtube Channel (they provide short and to the point stretch video demos) that can be done by anyone who spends a lot of time sitting at their desk or on the floor working on art projects.

These four simple stretches will keep you healthy and productive as an artist!

4 Stretches for Artists

The first stretch is the shoulder roll. This can be done by sitting up tall with your shoulders down and your spine straight. Take a deep breath in, and as you exhale, slowly roll your shoulders forward until they are positioned in front of your ears. Hold for a few seconds before releasing them back to their starting position. Repeat this five times.

The second stretch is the neck stretch. Again, this can be done by sitting up tall with your spine straight and shoulders down. Take a deep breath in and as you exhale, tilt your head to the right until you feel a gentle stretch in your neck. Hold for a few seconds before returning to the starting position. Repeat on the other side. Do this five times for each side.

The third stretch is the chest and upper backstretch. This can be done by standing up tall with your shoulders down and your spine straight. Take a deep breath in and as you exhale, bring your hands to the back of your head touching lightly, hold for 5 seconds.  Gently move your elbows towards each other for an upper back stretch, hold, the move your elbows back to the original position with a slight push further behind, opening up your chest and hold for five seconds before releasing. Repeat three times on each side of the body.

The fourth and final stretch is a combination of wrist and hand stretches that feel amazing!  Pin this video for later - it is a must do!!

It doesn't take long, but 10 minutes of stretching and your body will thank you for years to come.  

7) Don't drink or do drugs. 

The alcohol and drugs that are used for pleasure often come with a negative side effect: they inhibit our creativity. When drunk or high, it's near impossible to produce the kind of creative thought needed for problem-solving and inventing new ideas. As such, many people may find themselves drinking more than usual in order to be creative.

There are many benefits to limiting your alcohol and drug intake - or removing them altogether. You will:

  • Be able to think more clearly and be more productive.
  • Have more energy and feel better overall.
  • Have better quality sleep (Sleepfoundation.org) - habit #5.
  • And, finally, you'll be less likely to experience negative side effects like hangovers and addiction.  

So if you're looking for a way to become more creative, it's time to limit your intake of alcohol and drugs so you can enjoy their positive effects without sacrificing creativity!  

For more information about living an alcohol-free life, check out Euphoric Podcast and Book.  I speak on Episode 56 about "The Myth of Booze and Creativity" and my experience with removing Alchohol from my life. 

8) Let the ideas flow naturally instead of forcing them.

Leave time for this process-don't try to rush or control it.  The beauty of many of the creative projects we start, is they don't have to be finished on the same day. 

Instead of rushing the process, let the idea marinate in your brain.  Talk with fellow creatives that you know, like, and trust about your idea so that you may begin developing a hive mind.  When you start talking with other creatives about your vision for the piece, you start creating a buzz about the topic and then they provide additional ideas and insights that will cause your work to have greater reach.    

9) Be playful and experiment with new things.

This can involve different mediums, techniques or even just taking a new approach to an old project.  

For example, if your medium of choice is oil painting, and you excel at it, trying painting with a different medium. 

Be open to new things!  Be open to failing (LET'S CORRECT THAT)...learning what works and what doesn't work. 

And that leads us perfectly to #10.

10) Don't be afraid to fail. It's how you learn and grow in your creative endeavors so don't be discouraged by setbacks. 

Life, like art, is a constant experiment.  Enjoy the process. 

The final takeaway from this article

Creativity is key to innovation and progress, yet it can be difficult to maintain productivity while also preserving your sanity. Luckily, there are a few simple habits you can adopt to make the process a little easier. By scheduling time for creativity, finding an inspiring environment, taking mind and body breaks, and using humor and playfulness, you'll be well on your way to increased productivity and innovation.

Give it a try!


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10 artist habits to foster creativity

4 artist stretches and other good habits for artists


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Stephanie Weaver Fine Art Artist

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I don't call myself an artist, and maybe after you read my story you won't call yourself one either.

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