Making space for creativity

Posted on December 14, 2023 by Sarah Robertson

In 2020, a year of disarray and upheaval for us all, I started The Artist’s Way; a practical and valuable 12-week experience in discovering and recovering your creative self.

It was a challenge to stay the course at times. But most Sunday nights, I would meet online with a small group of artists and writers to chat about what we had uncovered around our creativity that week. As a rallying cry for progress over perfection, what followed was a shaping of my life and work around my vision and values, which helped me get curious and creative and find a deeper-rooted connection with myself and others.

The most notable shift, perhaps, was acknowledging the importance of making space for creativity. Whether I wrote for 20 minutes upon waking, solved a creative problem during a midday walk or took the time to listen to a guided meditation, there was a growing sense of fulfilment in my days.

Discover how my experience of The Artist’s Way played a crucial role in helping me value my time and my space, and read on for insights from three guests, each offering their unique take on self-nurture along with practical tips to foster creativity in a world that frequently prioritises productivity.

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Once I decided to prioritise my creativity, it became easier to adapt my approach to life and work and fit it in. I said no to things that drained my resources and yes to things that replenished me.

1. Valuing time

Committing to The Artist’s Way was an exercise in setting radical boundaries and honouring them. And I felt empowered to make changes as a result. Once I decided to prioritise my creativity, it became easier to adapt my approach to life and work and fit it in. I said no to things that drained my resources and yes to things that replenished me. Time always felt scarce, so I realised I’d have to be intentional about tiny, precious moments in my day. Everything The Artist’s Way taught me reinforced the importance of this.

The practical things I did to make more space for myself included disconnecting from digital devices in the evenings, giving myself small, achievable tasks such as writing a caption, taking a daily photo, or clearing mental clutter through yoga.

2. Prioritising play

One of my biggest takeaways from The Artist’s Way was a commitment to having weekly ‘artist dates’ with myself. Sometimes, this involved meditation at home or walking in nature, which soon became daily habits. Occasionally, I might turn to making a vision board or reading a book I wouldn’t usually read. I even tried my hand at watercolours and worked on improving my calligraphy skills. What was most important to me was engaging in activities that brought about a sense of calm and play because anything that supports our minds will ultimately reflect in what we draw from or bring to the world.

But it’s also important to be kind to ourselves and remember that if we can make room for one small thing each week, it’s a step towards believing in the importance of our creativity and developing better habits.

3. Shaping creative spaces

Is there a place in your home or work where you can dedicate yourself to creativity? Maybe your dining room, office or living room? Or are you lucky enough to have a whole area for your creative practice? The space I choose to be in changes depending on my mood, but if doodling, reading or writing, the sofa is usually my sanctuary. It wasn’t until I started The Artist’s Way that I noticed how nurturing and welcoming that corner of my nest felt. With my plants around me, a favourite playlist and a scented candle, it can transport me to a place of connection.

Our environments are vital to our creativity. If your spaces don’t feel inviting, change things by moving furniture around, placing inspiration on the walls or breathing life into a room with plants. These ideas offer simple ways to get your mind working differently.

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Quiet moments are easily pushed aside in favour of doing, and it can be hard to be when constant interaction and digital connectivity are demanded of us.

4. Illuminate your senses with Nina of Recess Living

Nina of Recess Living and Creating Recess joined me for Notelets on Nurture, my Sunday series on Substack, and wrote about savouring slowness in business. One of her tips for cultivating creativity was to make space for aromatherapy.

“Aromatherapy offers the perfect opportunity to enjoy moments of quiet and space within the busyness. Wind down your evening with blends from The Homework Store or handcrafted small-batch creations from Essence and Alchemy. Research shows that inhaling essential oils with natural plant extracts has a positive impact on your mental and physical wellbeing, and can be used to relieve stress and anxiety.”

This reminded me of how much I used to love using rollerballs, especially as I sat down at my desk in the morning. It was an intentional yet meaningful opportunity to create a slow and soothing moment in my day. Nina’s work at  centres on creating mindful moments that allow us to unwind and maintain a sense of wellbeing in our modern lives.

5. Creative solitude with Hannah Ashe

Quiet moments are easily pushed aside in favour of doing, and it can be hard to be when constant interaction and digital connectivity are demanded of us.

Creative multi-hyphenate Hannah Ashe, in a collaborative Substack post about creative solitude, commented: “Every day, I ensure that I create space to listen to an audiobook or podcast whilst doing something else. It could be walking, driving, cleaning, gardening. Anything where I can lose myself for at least 30 minutes in whatever I’m listening to, or my own thoughts, is a daily requirement.”

Much like Hannah, I enjoy moments of quietude because, my goodness – in this fast-paced world – don’t we need that time and space to fill our creative cups? Solitude, I believe, is an essential ingredient for our wellbeing and creative output.

6. Glimmer hunting with Sara Duigou

One of the greatest gifts of my year, and something that has enhanced my creativity because it helps me settle into a moment, is the concept of ‘glimmers’.

I recently invited Sara Duigou to write a piece about glimmer hunting for This Creative Life, where she suggested we “Actively look for moments of emotional comfort. A smile from a stranger, a pleasant tune, or the feel of sunlight on your skin. Take note when these sensations occur, and you will begin to combat your inherent negativity bias, sparking more ease, joy and warmth in your day.

When I first heard of glimmers, I made a pact with myself to get curious about these subtle moments of magic. Glimmers are fleeting, but in my experience, they can give us an opportunity to tap into our creativity through tiny moments of reflection.


Incorporating just one or two of these practices into your daily routine could pave the way for a sustainable blend of everyday tasks and creative needs. These suggestions can bring enjoyment and playfulness into your personal and professional life while giving you time and space for pursuits that truly excite and nourish you.