What does it mean to live a creative life? What does it look like? The answer that resonates most is Barnett Bain’s, in his The Book of Doing and Being: “For me, a creative life means that I actively reach out to meet the world. I allow myself to have an impact in the world, and I allow myself to be affected by the world. I allow others to feel the consequences of my being alive, and vice versa.”
It’s about being yourself boldly and out loud. It’s about putting our stamp of individuality on everything we do, whether that’s writing a novella, structuring your time, setting a dinner table. It’s about giving and taking from the world, and being a committed and conscious participant in that active exchange. Living creatively requires us to own our own unique style of giving, to be totally at home in it. That’s how I see it. Here are 30 journal prompts for contacting your creative self.
1. Roald Dahl said those who don’t believe in magic never find it. What is your definition of “magic”? In what ways does it exist in your life?
2. What does an “opportunity” look like? How do you know one to see one?
3. Author Carol Lloyd says “each day has symbolic meaning.” How do you respond to that? Do you agree?
4. What “makes” time expand and what “makes” it contract? How is your concept of time a tool you can use to support your creativity?
5. It’s said that the key to accessing unlimited creativity is being able to be present. What memories have the power to pull you into the past?
6. Define forgiveness. How is forgiveness a key part of your creative journey? What has it allowed you to do?
7. What is one thing you’ve lost that has made you capable of loving more fully? More resilient? More compassionate?
8. Where are you spreading yourself too thin?
9. What skin are you shedding now?
10. What does playing small feel like? In what ways do you tend to play small?
11. Why does the world “need” very old people?
12. Why does the world need very young people?
13. What does your inner child want to tell you right now? In what way (medium, form) does it want to tell it?
14. In what ways do you dismiss yourself? What part(s) of you are you dismissing?
15. How has your idea of what motivates you changed since you started?
16. What is “creative abundance”? Which beliefs restrict your creative abundance?
17. What survival skills do you need for living a creative life?
18. Is it possible to integrate your talents, rather than choose among them?
19. Is it “bad” to live as a creative generalist? What does that lifestyle look like?
20. Make a list of your bad habits. Invent a job that monetizes them.
21. What is something you have lost that has made you capable of loving more fully?
22. Make a list of ten stories you need to tell before you die.
23. Are you on friendly terms with faith? Describe your relationship.
24. What conversations are you shutting down? Why?
25. I don’t want ________, but I do want __________.
26. What question would you like an answer for in this moment? Who could help you get to the answer?
27. Freedom is about __________.
28. Liz Gilbert said “dress(ing) for the novel you want to write” is one way to seduce the muse. How does your appearance play into your creativity?
29. Make a list of the “essences” (moods, atmospheres), you want to bring into your work.
30. What seeds have you planted in the past year? 5 years? 10? What’s ready to be sown now?