Struggling to be More Creative? How to Truly Make Space for Creativity in Your Life

Dan Goodwin

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Have you ever tried repeatedly to bring certain new things into your creative life, only for them each time to be ineffective or short lived?

However many different ways you try, you just can’t seem to make them stick or take hold?

Maybe it’s been a habit of creativity you’ve been trying to develop, by writing a few pages each day? Maybe you’ve wanted to spend an afternoon each weekend on designing and landscaping your new garden? Maybe it’s a music project your working on?

Whatever the creative venture, if you have the same pattern of starting, then stuttering, then stopping again, maybe there’s something deeper at work that’s stopping you.

Often, before we can bring some new into our lives, we need to make the space for it, almost “welcome it home”.

This can mean literally, in the practical sense. For example if you want to start painting 3m x 2m canvases, you’ll need a physical space big enough to work in.

This is usually only the surface issue though. How many of us have bought a new notebook, set of paints, roll of film, or other creative materials with eager excitement, only to use them once (if at all!) and then resign them to a dusty shelf or hidden cupboard?

What else is stopping you?

Making the space can also involve time factors. If you feel you never have a free evening, hour or minute to pursue your creative projects, it’s can quickly become a very de-motivating and frustrating cycle.

One of the keys to living a life of creativity – as ironic as it sounds to many of us who aspire to the romantic image of being spontaneously creative or led by a mysterious muse - is simply to develop regular creative habits and routines. But that’s not what we’re focusing on here.

So if we’ve made the physical space, and freed up the time we need for our creative work, what other elements are there to being as creative as we wish to be?

Creating the space in your mind

For many of us, before we make a significant change in our lives, we also need to make the space mentally and psychologically.

By clearing out the mental clutter of our minds, and being in a place where we accept -

“Yes I AM creative and there IS an important place in my life for creativity!”

- we give ourselves the green light, the permission to create and to be creative. Before, even if we had the time, the physical space, and the materials, this permission, creating this mental space, was the crucial missing element.

So how can we actually go about doing this?

A great place to start is to take some time to write out what you actually want from your creative life.

Would 30 minutes each morning be enough for you to work on your novel? Would you ideally like 3 days a week completely free to totally immerse yourself in preparing your new photography exhibition?

Be honest and generous, and write out a description of your ideal creative day-to-day life as if you already live it.

Write about it as a typical day or week, what you do, where you go, who you see, and most importantly how you feel about having this creative life.

Once you have your vision, put it somewhere you’ll often see it, so you can remind yourself what you’re working towards. Also, by updating your vision every few weeks or so, you can keep it fresh and relevant to your creative ambitions, and help yourself stay inspired and motivated.

Next, list all the things you can do to make the space in your life to be like you are in the vision.

Be thorough and consider the issues around physical space, time available and the ways you can make the mental space available to accept you’re a creative person and to recognise the importance that creativity has in your life.

You now have a great starting point to begin truly making the space for your creativity.

This is not a one-off process and needs to be revised regularly to keep you creatively on track. Each of the factors we’ve talked about are important.

But even if all the others are perfectly in place, the one that will ALWAYS scupper all your creative plans is not making the space mentally and giving yourself the permission to be the creative person you are.

Start to make the space for your creative life today, welcome it home and embrace it like a dear long lost relative. Then begin doing what it takes to live your life accordingly and notice the changes that occur…

© Copyright 2006 Dan Goodwin.

Creativity Coach Dan Goodwin publishes “Create Create!”, a FREE twice monthly ezine for people who want simple and powerful articles, tips and exercises to help them unleash their creative talents. To Sign up today and get your FREE “Explode Your Creativity!” Action Workbook, visit


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