When it comes to creativity, sometimes the little things can provide the biggest sparks of inspiration. If you’re looking for activities to do at home, try some of these ideas for building creative time into each day. With a little practice, these creative exercises might even lead to an exciting new project.
1. Take a daily photo (hint: try something new)
Even if you take a lot of photos, this can be a great creative challenge. Try a new subject matter each day to mix up your habits. Instead of selfies, focus on inanimate objects or particular colors. If you always photograph flashy subjects, find something ordinary and capture the details. Look a little harder at everything around you. Food, furniture, pets. Colors, textures, and patterns of light. It’s about retraining the eye.
2. Collect inspirational quotes
We process a lot of information each day, so it’s easy to miss some pretty wonderful things being said. When you do come across an inspiring quote or phrase, write it down.
Read biographies and interviews featuring artists and creative thinkers you admire. If your eyes need a break, tune into your playlist and listen to song lyrics until something catches your attention, then make a note. Return to this collection of quotes anytime you need a creative boost.
3. Take coloring breaks
Yes, coloring books for adults are real and they are a wonderful way to take a break from your workday while immersing yourself in a playful visual exercise. Color inside (or outside!) the lines as you please, or add on to the designs. Just let yourself get lost in a magical world of shapes and colors.
Here’s one of our favorites in the Blurb Bookstore:
4. Create pet portraits
You’ve probably already got a head start on this one—who can resist pet portraits, right? Training your lens on your favorite animals for a few minutes can make any day more enjoyable. Plus, you can practice your photo skills. Zoom in on the whiskers, ears, eyes, or tail. Use different compositions and backgrounds. Try capturing animals in motion. Soon you’ll have enough portraits to fill a photo flipbook!
5. Do a mini drawing session
Set aside a bit of time (even 10 minutes) to draw. You can work from a photo, or something in front of you, or your imagination. Try colored pencils one day, then ink or charcoal the next, or stick to the art medium you love most. The trick is to start small (so you can finish), keep it simple (one animal, one face, or one leaf), and make it a habit. Every doodle counts!
Want to do more with your drawings? Learn how to make a comic book
6. Start a recipe journal
Food is a big part of the day—and it can fill us with comfort, joy, energy, creativity, or nostalgia. A recipe journal can be a fun way to record your favorite meals, family recipes, special ingredients, or new culinary ideas. Fill it with notes or sketches just for you, or print a special version to share with friends and family.
7. Try free writing
Writing doesn’t have to be a big deal. All it takes is one word and you’ve started! Try 10 minutes of free writing to loosen up (write down your first thought, then keep writing without stopping, editing, or trying to “make sense” of it or plan a story). Start a new page for each session, and don’t read the previous pages until the next day (or week). Over time, you’ll discover recurring themes or patterns that you may develop into a larger poem, story, or book!
Is your collection of poems growing? Get tips on writing a poetry book
8. Start a creative collaboration
Send an image to a friend or family member to start a creative exchange, and invite them to send one back that relates. You can choose a theme together (like places, colors, moods, animals, activities, foods, or favorite things) and in a few weeks you’ll have enough memories for a collective photo book. Keep it funny and sweet, or go for a truly artistic vibe—whatever inspires you.
9. Read one poem or one paragraph (slowly)
Sounds too simple? That’s because it’s the opposite of what we’re trained to do most of the time (do more, do it faster). This exercise is all about the power of slowing down. Poets and writers know all about it. Read each line carefully, and give yourself time to enjoy the imagery, metaphors, and rhythm of the language. For extra creative points, pull a random book off your shelf and open to any page. Begin reading!
10. Focus on nature
You don’t have to go far to find signs of nature. Staring out the window at the sky, clouds, trees, or passing birds can be so relaxing it actually makes room for creative thoughts to flow in (just ask any daydreamer). Better yet, step outside, even if it’s just in the backyard and really study the leaves, or raindrops, or an intricate new spiderweb. Spend a few minutes admiring natural wonders, and before you know it you’ll be ready to jot down an idea, start a new drawing, or take a photo (see exercises 1 through 10).
Looking for more visual inspiration?
Explore the Blurb Bookstore see how writers, artists, photographers, and designers put their creativity in print.