Maintaining your creativity

I’ve been thinking a lot about creativity recently—what it is, how to obtain it, and most importantly of all, how to keep it. I read a great blog post the other day on T.O. Weller’s blog Never Too Late To Write (, where she talks about keeping your muse happy. In the post she talks about the importance of keeping your muse entertained, to keep her functioning at her best. She recommends taking her on occasional outings, to cultural institutions, bookstores, but even the local burger joint will have something interesting to offer her, if that’s what she wants. Because creativity requires us to have fresh experiences, which in turn enables us to see things in a new light. And the creative process can be hard to pin down.

This reminds me of a book I’ve been reading called The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron. In it she recommends taking what she calls your ‘inner artist’–in effect your muse—on a weekly ‘artist’s date’. This ‘artist’s date’ needn’t be expensive, or an outing even, it might just be trying something you’ve never done before, like planting a flowerbed or making something. The purpose of this activity is to nurture your creative side, which may also be the less rational, more playful part of who you are. And, let’s face it, if you are a writer or an artist, it’s all too easy  to get bogged down in the deadlines, the details, the sheer volume of work you hope to do but can never quite manage.

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Julia Cameron suggests that by caring for our ‘inner artist’—looking after him/her—we can all become much more inspired people who are open to having new experiences that will then allow us to meet our artistic practice head on.

This would seem to suggest that embracing our creativity, with all its eccentricities and erratic behaviours, may also be a more efficient way of working. It’s this possibility which interests the rational side of me and made me willing to give it a try.

I’ve even gone on a few ‘artist’s dates’.

Visiting The Painted Hall at Greenwich. Isn’t this ceiling amazing?

The Painted Hall, Greenwich, London credit, Ben Mossop

The Painted Hall, Greenwich, London, detail credit, Ben Mossop

Making Turkish pizza. It’s important to feed your creative side too.

Visiting a city farm. Interacting with nature and animals always makes me feel more creative.

Geese at Freightliners Farm, Islington, London credit, Ben Mossop

You can see how fickle my muse is, can’t you?

I have to admit that since I have begun making a conscious effort to embrace my creative side, to nurture my ‘muse’ or ‘inner artist’, I have felt more productive.

So, how do you maintain your creativity? And do you think you have a ‘muse’ or ‘inner artist’? Do you find that you’re more productive as an artist when you’ve had some time off, to go for a walk in the park, to visit a museum, or just to make a big mess in the kitchen? I’d love to hear your experiences so please do leave a comment below.