3 great tips to cultivate creativity in all areas of your life - Fuel, Ritual, and Practice.


Today I have the next guest in my series on Cultivating Wholehearted Living - thriving in the second half of life. Jennifer writes a really interesting blog called Unfold And Begin, and advocates for the use of Vision Boards for life planning, she even runs workshops on how to create and use them for goal planning and other creative outlets.

Jennifer is sharing some of her tips on how to bring more creativity into our lives - so on that note I'll hand it over to her to tell us her three steps to cultivating creativity...


Please don’t think that only an artist needs to cultivate creativity. It just isn’t true. Creativity is about bringing two or more things together in a new way. It can be art, science, math, cooking, writing, music…the list is endless. But how do we cultivate our creativity?

We’re all creative. It’s in how you dress or bake or even how you decorate. It’s also in how you solve problems. My favorite example of creative problem solving is shown in the movie Apollo 13. During a crisis, the scientists on earth had to figure out how to fit a square box into a round hole. They did it under pressure only using the items that could be found on the space craft.

Proof that even rocket scientists are creative. They must be...they imagined rockets could blast off into space in the first place and just recently flew a drone helicopter around Mars! Sure, it’s an extreme example. But have you ever gone through your junk drawer to find that exact piece of something that would help you solve a problem? Ever duct taped something into place? That is creative problem solving.

But creativity needs to be cultivated. If you don’t, you might find it harder to come up with those creative problem-solving ideas. Or that new story, or painting, or cake, or…whatever it is that you’re working on.

Let’s examine 3 ways we can cultivate creativity: fuel, ritual, and practice.


We all know that to make a car go we need to put fuel into it. Whether that’s gas or electric, depends on the car. But either way, something goes into the car to fuel it.

The same is true of creativity. Something has to go into your brain-your creative core in order to fuel it. Reading, exercise, games, museum visits, tours, laughter, sunsets, sunrises, puppy dogs, kittens, games, children, family, friends…anything that gets you interested is fuel.

One of my favorite things to do is spend time with children who are playing because their imagination knows no bounds. They make up games on the spot, change rules during the game (usually with complicated guidelines) and create elaborate backstories for the dolls or unicorns they are playing with. The best part is they invite you into this wonderful world that they created. It’s a surge of creative fuel going directly into your system. Try it some time.

Mary Lou Cook: "Creativity is inventing, experimenting, growing, taking risks, breaking rules, making mistakes, and having fun."


Don’t let the word scare you, but also realize that there should be a ritual to your creative time. Whether you go to the same room or use the same pen and/or notebook or even the same time each day, it’s all a ritual.

For me, coffee is the ritual. The coffee is for my husband. He’s a morning talker but I’m a morning writer. My ritual is to brew and make the coffee and then bring him a cup of coffee in bed. It’s his incentive to stay in the bedroom because I work in our living room. We have an open floor plan. If he’s in the kitchen making coffee, he sees me and wants to start talking. But if I wake him up with a cup of coffee, he’s still a little too groggy to say much, and he doesn’t have a need to come out to the main living area. My ritual is to make the coffee and bring it to him. Once that’s complete, I can start writing.

coffee in bed

After Maya Angelou’s husband headed off to work, she would leave and go to a small hotel room to write. That was her ritual. Dancer Twyla Tharp considers her ritual getting up early, getting dressed, going downstairs, and hailing a cab. Once she is in the cab her ritual is complete because she’s on her way to the gym to warm up her body to prepare it for creative dance.

All these are just examples of people getting themselves ready, preparing to create. For someone else it might look like walking into a coffee shop or going out back to a shed to paint or even pulling out all the pans, bowls, and ingredients needed to bake. The ritual looks different and personal to each person.

But why is a ritual important? It brings you into the moment and prepares you for what’s to come. A ritual focuses your attention on what’s next. It also marks time, such as the beginning or ending of something. For our purposes, the ritual is marking the beginning or start of our creative project. We might also have an ending ritual such as putting everything back in its place or bowing our head and saying thank you. These rituals are our transitions to and from our creative space.


How do you get better at anything? Practice.

I was recently reminded of this in 2020. For years, my sister tried to teach me to crochet. I had no patience for it. But I think what I had no patience for was my complete wreck of a project. I wanted a perfect scarf and not some misshapen glob. While she was alive, she never gave up hope that someday I might enjoy it.

Queue 2020 and the pandemic. During quarantine, it was getting harder and harder for me to write. But I needed to do something creative, so I turned to crocheting again. This time I stuck with it and made a crooked scarf. The 8-year-old girl who saw the scarf in her favorite colors thought it was beautiful asked if she could have it.

Of course, she could. Her sister got upset that she didn’t get a scarf, so I made one for her. It looked less crooked. Practice. By the end of the year, I was making daisy flowers. Did I have to pull them out and start over? Most, yes. But I kept going. More practice.

Did you know that Vincent van Gogh first painted in the style of the Hague School and the old Dutch masters? Browns, blacks, greys, whites. One might think…drab. And certainly not the style of post impressionistic painting and explosions of color that van Gogh is most remembered for. For a year, van Gogh practiced painting flowers to accustom himself with color. A year! When was the last time you spent a year practicing something?

Sit down and write. Or sit down and knit. Or stand up and paint, or bake, or dance, or sing, or work on your math to solve the Riemann Hypothesis. Practice gets the creative juices flowing so that you can advance your work.

practice, practice, practice


Creativity doesn’t just come out of nowhere. That inspiration you hear about, those “overnight” successes? That happened because someone cultivated their creativity. They fueled themselves up, followed their ritual, and practiced their craft. Are you cultivating your creativity?


Meet Jennifer

Jennifer Koshak blogs at Unfold and Begin where she writes about creative inspiration and vision boards. She recently started creating products to make vision board creation easier for everyone.

Blog - Unfold And Begin
Etsy Shop


I've turned off the comments on my blog posts, but I still love to hear from you. Feel free to pop on over and comment on my Cresting the Hill Facebook page  whenever you like, or send me an email anytime at leanne.crestingthehill@gmail.com.
Or feel free to pop over to Jennifer's blog and leave a comment there.

3 great tips to cultivate creativity in all areas of your life - Fuel, Ritual, and Practice.

3 great tips to cultivate creativity in all areas of your life - Fuel, Ritual, and Practice.
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Cresting the Hill - a blog for Midlife (Middle Aged / 50+) women who want to thrive