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How to be creative when you don’t have time to be creative

For time-poor writers and artists, journaling can be a quick and easy way to revive your creativity. Read my five tips on how to get started.

Things have been hectic since I last posted on here in June. I’ve moved to a new house, worked around the clock on commissioned writing projects, travelled to Asia with my family and quietly celebrated yet another 30-something birthday.

When life gets busy, I find it extremely challenging to carve out time for my more creative projects. But, even in the midst of chaos, there's one daily habit that I consistently practice: creative journaling.

Now, when I say journaling, I don't mean page after page of introspection. I wouldn’t even call it writing or art. It's more like little notes, sketches or observations—random, weird or funny—that could either relate to or inspire one of my creative projects.

But, creative journaling isn't just a rich source of material. It also helps me to keep my creative goals top of mind and preserve excitement for my projects, which is critical on those days when I simply don't have time to write or paint. 

Yep, when the world around me seems to be in complete disarray, my private journals are my best friend. No matter where I am, or how little time I have, they’re always there when I need to express an idea or simply try to understand something. And best of all, they never judge!

So, what's the easiest way to jumpstart your creative journaling? Here are my five top tips:

  1. Buy a journal. As beautiful as they are, you don’t need to purchase an expensive moleskin or leather-bound notebook. Some of my favourite ideas have been born into a $1 Kmart exercise book!

  2. Wreck it. Administer ink splashes, washi tape or whatever takes your fancy. Anything to banish those intimidating blank pages!

  3. Switch-off distracting devices. Put old-fashioned pen to paper. Use this as an opportunity to slow down your thinking-process and (gasp!) take a break from the internet.

  4. Scrap-book it. Glue-in your favourite colour swatches, magazine snippets, concert tickets, postcards, flyers…just go nuts with whatever inspires you!

  5. Make it a ritual. Even on your busiest day, commit to spending just five minutes scribbling into your journal. Apparently, it takes 21 days to form a habit. So, journaling will feel like second nature to you in no time.

Still not sure what to write or draw in your journal?  Having looked though mine, I can confess that they include:

  • Creative goals

  • Project ideas

  • Inspirational quotes or people

Plot outlines

  • Character studies and names

  • Worries or concerns

  • Dreams and memories

  • Sketches or cartoons

  • Messages I’ll never send

  • Book, film and music lists

  • Writing and drawing prompts, processes or techniques

  • Poems

  • Random thoughts and questions

  • Expressions of gratitude

  • Holiday destinations

Speaking of holidays, I had a great time filling-up my creative journals on a recent trip to Vietnam. In fact, I'll be using these as the basis for a mini-series of art posts over the coming weeks. So, for more, please stay tuned to my blog or follow me on Instagram.

Do you love creative journaling? Have you got a tip that you’d like to share? Please add it to the comments section below.

Thanks for reading!

x Victoria


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