How Do You Make Space for Creativity?


A while back, we asked the Facebookers what they do to make space for creativity? Here are a few of their answers. What about the rest of you?

Debi Adamson Zahn: I try to keep my creative endeavors easily accessible and visible. I love graph paper taped to a table top so I can draw whenever an idea strikes. I also keep a crochet basket next to my favorite chair.

Kim Fisher: It helps to have a job that is all about creativity.

Laure Hittle: Still figuring that out. And my definition of creativity varies by season, too. i don’t know about everyone else, but i really struggle with discipline and with keeping myself too busy. It’s easy to talk myself out of creating that space. So thank you for asking this—i am going to turn off the interwebs and go work on my story.

Sally Zaengle: Get up at 5 AM.

Reagan Dregge: Say no to some things.

We say no to getting up at 5am. Does that count?

[ted id=1613]


  1. Pete Peterson


    This is completely unromantic, but it’s true. I go to Panera Bread. A breakfast sandwich and a cup of sweet tea snaps my brain into gear, and I can write for hours. I’d go every single day if I could.

    The irony is that I kind of despise Panera Bread. Their bread is terrible. Everything’s overpriced. They cut the internet off at 11am. They removed their only two palatable sandwiches from the menu (and probably replaced it with some kind of quinoa-based monstrosity). Everyone is rude. Augh.

    And yet I keep going back.

    *Quinoa is proof of the decline of human civilization

  2. Josh Duncan


    @pete, I bet you go back because the suffering helps your art.

    Historically, I’ve been terrible at making room for creativity. In the past I’ve been able to grab moments because I had the kind of job that allowed for that to happen. I could go on autopilot a little bit and my creative mind would go to work. That’s not quite so true anymore, and I’m still trying to figure out what works for me right now.

  3. Janna

    I admire Sally for her 5 am commitment. I could maybe do 6 am but there’s no way I could get up before the sun. I do like the morning though. My brain shuts down around 9 o’clock at night, sometimes earlier.

    I think the main thing I need to be creative is time. I don’t mean that as in the classic “I don’t have time to be creative” sense. What I mean is that, for me, creativity is born out of play, leisure, and meditation. I have to feed my soul in order to create. That means I have to read. I have to hang out with friends. I have to go sit by the lake doing nothing for two hours and not feel guilty about it. It’s hard to make this time a priority. So much of what the world values is productivity. As a stay at home mom, that means I’m tempted to spend all my time washing dishes, doing laundry, buying groceries, taxi-ing children, paying bills, cooking, and cleaning house. I do enjoy a couple of those from time to time, but I need space in my life for the things that can’t be checked off a list. I used to not value my work/creativity enough to permit myself these “luxuries” as I saw them, but in the last couple of years I’ve decided that adding to the beauty of the world is worth it. If we give in to this notion of efficiency above all else, then we lose a major part of what it means to be human. Which is to say we lose sight of the image of God in each other. Community, beauty, love, and all the other things that make life worthwhile are things that cannot be manufactured or produced.

    Okay, this comment is turning into a bit of a rant. I guess that’s because I’ve been sick and stuck in bed all week. Not being able to keep my house running like I like it has caused me to feel a bit useless, and having to fight those negative feelings has been tough. Thanks for the opportunity to get that off my chest. 🙂

  4. Amy Lynn


    For me, it’s getting up early and devoting “serious” time to creativity that is completely personal and private. Right now, this mostly looks like sketching, thinking, creating in my journal, for myself and no one else. And it’s hard to have that personal time which is why getting up early is necessary.

    By doing that, I’m more attuned to the urge and necessity to create, something which is so easily stifled by busy and consumerist lifestyles. It also helps keep a clear vision of what matters in my art, rather than getting caught up in commercialism and creating just to have something to show for myself.

  5. Esther O'Reilly

    I try to set aside intentional time to discover new films and artists. Even if I have to break a film up into 45-minute segments to fit it around my schedule, I need to feed myself with some kind of art on a regular basis.

  6. Andy


    I find myself not being able to focus at home and get in touch with my creative side as easily. Not sure what it is about “home” that causes this. I tend to be most creative when I am sitting at a coffee shop and partaking in my favorite past time: people-watching. I am alot more like Janna I suppose in that I need some external influence to shake me up, whether it be a Bible study with friends that shook up that creative brain, or a walk watching a storm rolling in and the lightening crashing, or watching “life” happen around me. My best poetry or songs I wrote I think were written in times of engaging in nature and not confined to my personal mess at home but escaping my mundane and feeling “trapped” and getting out to where my pen actually meets the paper. I love how Janna put it though, that play and leisure is where creativity is born. Just means I need to get out and play more. Find the next surprise around the corner.

  7. JamesDWitmer

    Two things I can’t go without and still be creative:

    1. Reading paper books, or live music. Screen books don’t do it. And recorded music doesn’t do it. I don’t guard these as well as I’d like, and it shows.

    2. A rhythm. A set time and day when I know I will be returning to face the work again. When I find one, it’s a powerful thing. But it seems life changes enough that I’m looking for a new one every 3-4 months (including right now).

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