When my friend Andrea from A Work of Heart Studio and I get together to brainstorm, magic happens! Earlier this year we launched a new program called Daily Creative Practice with the intention of supporting artists and creatives to commit to their practice and shift their habits to make art-making a priority. We knew we needed a structure; a set of guiding principles to help us set the tone and intention for this program. Thus was born our 7 Essential Creative Lifestyle Principles.

I’m excited to be sharing them publicly on my blog for the first time. Isn’t that design gorgeous? That’s Andrea’s beautiful work. She’s having so much fun with Canva these days.

I’m going to spend some time over the next week or two diving more deeply into these 7 principles of a creative lifestyle to talk about what they mean and how you can implement them in your daily creative practice.

Principle #4 – Play

Because I am rebel, I’m not going to go in order. It’s a Friday afternoon and it seemed like so much fun to talk about principle number 4: Be Playful!

One of our suggestions to members of the Daily Creative Practice Program is to make a list of fun, juicy, enticing creative activities that they can do in 5 to 15 minutes. For example, I grabbed some Beanie Babies (I love stuffed animals) and some of my collage work and did a fun photo shoot.

creative lifestyle principles

So often we tell ourselves a story of how we can’t create unless we have hours and hours of free time, otherwise it’s a hassle to set up the space, get all the supplies out… we have heard every excuse in the book and YES they are excuses about why you can’t.

Ideas for Mix and Match Creative Play

Here’s a few ideas you might add to your mix and match playlist of creative ideas:

  • Write in a journal
  • Pick one or two colors and doodle
  • Start a coloring page
  • Add paint to a canvas or page in your art journal
  • Listen to a song and dance
  • Pick flowers or pull weeds
  • Go for a short walk and find something colorful to photograph
  • Lay in the grass and look at the clouds
  • Make snow angels

It’s less about the activity itself and more about the intention. When you approach your creative practice from the perspective of play, your spirits lift and you feel more relaxed. From this space, you see new ideas and new possibilities for all areas of your life.

My DOH moment this week

In my Creative Business Accelerator program, we are doing a book study of The Big Leap by Gay Hendricks. I have read this book numerous times and it never fails to inspire me and have me look at all the ways I am holding myself back in my life. This time it’s seriously kicking my butt. There was one question that really stood out for me this week and created a DOH moment!

He asks you to ponder this question: “In my work, what produces the highest ratio of abundance and satisfaction to amount of time spent? (Even if I only do 10 seconds or a few minutes of it, an idea or deeper connection may spring forth that leads to huge value.” My answer was writing. Or going for a walk.

My DOH! moment came when I realized I wasn’t prioritizing writing for my business as the activity that I love and that always produces results. Which led to a deeper exploration of why wasn’t I committing to writing more?

I have been caught up in my collage work and painting, spending every spare moment creating that I lost connection with my writing, I told myself I didn’t have time for all of it but I have all the time I need! So here I am on a beautiful Friday afternoon writing. And happy.

Whether it’s 5 minutes in a journal, 5 minutes dialoging with one of my fun collages or 30 minutes writing a blog post, this is my happy place. Over the years my writing has won awards, including a full ride to Stanford for my Ph.D. and an endowment for the humanities scholarship.

Why do we let go of the creative activities that nourish and feed our souls, that lift our spirits and bring joy to our days?

We live in a culture that doesn’t prioritize play as valuable. We live in a time that doesn’t honor creative pursuits and hobbies but only honors what will make a buck. Bleck. I’m done with that attitude.

The more art I make just for me, the better I feel and the more successful my business becomes. Play is the through line that connects all of these together. The spirit of play is an essential creative lifestyle principle. How will you prioritize play today? I guarantee it will make all the difference.