2023-11-14 23:00:00 +0000

starting the artists way -- practices for nurturing creativity

14.11.23: Sent to a friend, who had asked about practices that help with my own creativity. I recently started The Artist’s Way course, which has changed many of my ingrained ways of thinking and practices.

hi ___!

i think i have a few practices, thank you for asking. i use are.na a lot for gathering my thoughts, and because it’s a designer/artist space, i come across a lot of things that nurture the “artist” more passively. i use it as a place for gathering more broadly (there’s two essays by ursula le guin & mindy seu about the practice of gathering that i really like). for example: https://www.are.na/anne-lee-steele/nurturing-creativity-like-a-garden.

i also read a lot of things from ‘the creative independent’ and ‘the marginalian’, which are beautiful and poetic and inspiring and transcend boundaries… especially when i’m feeling drained by institutional structures.

i also listen to podcasts that give me that same expansive sense of space. they usually have a spiritual or storytelling element. ‘on being’ with krista tippett is a classic. i also listen to many science and research-oriented ones, but those are usually for my researcher-intellectual brain, not necessarily my artist one. i’ve also been thumbing through rick rubin’s ‘the creative act’, and listening to his interviews. apparently he has a podcast as well, but i haven’t listened to that.

sometimes, i also listen to soundscapes from earth.fm while working - they tend to be very meditative. i also like the NTS breakfast show with flo, in either my mornings or evenings.

i think physically (during the summer especially), i was in this routine of swimming in ponds, doing yoga, cycling, going to a music series called the proms, and writing/reading constantly that was so good for me. it was a lot of physical and mental movement that made me more aware and present and ultimately, creative.

honestly, this ‘morning pages’ thing has been great so far, too. it’s forced me into a writing practice and made me reflect on a lot of things, and i’ve noticed my ideas be a lot sharper, and come with more frequency and in a different way that when i was moving more. also it’s forced me to confront distraction.

these are all very gentle practices that i think are nurturing something that has laid pretty dormant for years. i tend to consume more than create - because i’m not disciplined enough yet to just do the thing, or haven’t built the structures in my life yet to properly do it, or chip away slowly.

something that i’m starting now is to apply for residencies and programmes with the ideas that have come from the practices above – aiming to give myself space to explore them more fully. imposter syndrome is high, but they’re also opportunities to enunciate what i’m thinking about, regardless of the outcome!

hope these help you - i’m curious what practices you use!