fueling creativity: 7 healthy habits to adopt in this shiny new year


the beginning of a new year is a time of reflection for a lot of people, and even though i tend not to keep track of time, i think it can be really beautiful and important to slow down and observe how far you've come.

this past year was one that brought with it many valuable lessons and opportunities to explore. i tried news things, wrote a couple books, visited new places, and established new habits. out of all those things, i think one of the most valuable things i learned in the past year, was something about myself as a creative.

if you're a writer or a creative of any kind, you might be familiar with the feeling of being so closely connected to your work that you become one with it; its success becomes your success, and its downfalls become your downfalls. this can sound harmless at first, but from first hand experience i know that it can not only negatively affect your craft, but it can negatively affect your day to day life - at least it did for me.

last year, i began to notice a pattern: when i didn't feel in the mood to write, and on days when writing just wasn't working out for me, i was generally unhappy with everything else i did, and my day felt completely unfulfilled. my modus operandi became: if i can write today, then i'll be happy.

but my biggest revelation came when i began to notice that the days when i actually wrote best, were days when i was happy first - not the days when i waited for writing to "make me" happy. thus, the moto of my subconscious has changed: if i'm happy, then i can write well.

becoming aware of this simple, yet deeply profound truth has begun to completely transform how i look at my craft and how i fuel myself creatively. my mission has shifted from writing in order to sustain happiness, to sustaining happiness in order to write.

now of course this can raise all sorts of questions about how and where we find lasting happiness, but i'm not going to get into that now, i'll leave it up to your own seeking and soul searching. i also wrote two books that touch on that. but for now, i do want to talk about a few of the habits i've adopted that have helped enormously in fueling my flame and keeping me excited about getting out of bed in the morning - things that stoke my internal happiness and in turn, help me write epic stories.

so here we go:

ONE | start your morning motivated

as soon as you get out of bed, you have to set the tone of your day. we always have a choice here...we can chose to roll over and grab our phones and lay there scrolling through instagram, taking stock of other people's lives...or we can take a moment to observe our own. start with DEEP breaths. maybe even tape a positive mantra to your bathroom mirror as a reminder while you check out that beautiful face. if you don't have a morning routine, that's okay, just set aside five or ten minutes to listen to something positive and inspiring. I recommend something like this or this.  

TWO | get moving

this tags on perfectly to #1 - if you don't have an exercise or workout routine of some kind, i would highly recommend establishing one - ESPECIALLY if you're a creative. there's a ton of research being done on how daily exercise can positively affect your brain and enhance your creativity. it's also a huge combatant of anxiety and depression, so if you struggle with either of those things, grab hold of this and use it to create healing. lately i've been starting my day with anywhere from 15 to 30 minutes of yoga, and some mornings i like to go for a brisk jog to get my heart rate up and my blood flowing. both have helped me to shed any anxious energy and head into my day feeling fresh. 

THREE | cut back the caffeine

speaking of anxiety, think about cutting out that second (or third, in my case, heh) cup of coffee. caffeine can act like an anxiety amplifier. it also reduces blood flow to the brain. a few years ago i dropped caffeine altogether, completely purging from my "coffee addiction" for a few months and my family said I was like a different person. but you don't necessarily need to drop your lovely morning coffee ritual altogether (can you tell i love mine??) i've found that keeping it back to a cup...okay, sometimes two, has helped me tremendously, leaving me healthier, and much happier.   


FOUR | eat more raw food

and by raw, i'm obviously talking vegetables here - definitely not recommending that you chow down on some raw hamburger meat. raw fruits and vegetables are loaded with vitamins and antioxidants that are often killed when cooked, so when you can, don't cook them. this time of year (for those of us in ye ol' cold north) it's easiest to find frozen fruit and add it to smoothies. eating right is what's going to fuel your body and ultimately your mind. if you don't know where to start, going raw, and raw & simple are great books.

FIVE | declutter and simplify

this is one i'm constantly working on. keeping a clean space just makes me feel more creative. i like my office to be more than just a work space. when i walk in, i want to feel like i just entered the creative zone. my walls are vibrant colors, my desk is (relatively) organized, and fairly decluttered. i feel a lot more at ease in a clean, tidy space than i do in a messy one. so use a simple tidy-up to create a peaceful space for yourself to unwind and create cool stuff in. don't overwhelm yourself though, start with one area at a time, and work your way up from there. you'll have a fresh space before you know it.


SIX | turn your phone off 

or leave it in a drawer somewhere. but in either case, detach from the device. you'll be blown away by how creative your mind can get when you're not glancing down at every vibration and new message, or getting distracted on Instagram. i actually made a video about how i was able to write a 130k word novel by ditching my phone.  

SEVEN | carve out time to write and/or work on your creative project

again, this tags on really well to #6... find the meaningless things that are sucking up your time and eliminate those. often we spend far more time than we're willing to admit on social media, or watching tv. let's ditch those things and turn them into valuable, useful time for our books or creative projects instead. you'll be amazed by how much time you end up with. if, even after eliminating as many of these distractions as possible, you still feel like you don't have enough time to be creative, maybe think about waking up early in the morning (...like i did to write this very blog post you're reading. ;)) here's a great video about how valuable it can be to set an earlier alarm.


okay, rad soul, there you have it: seven little (big) things that have helped me a lot over the past year - things that i'm definitely still working on and getting better at, but hey, that's why i'm carrying them straight into this bright new year. i hope they add a little light to your day and maybe even boost that creative mind of yours.

do you have a morning routine of any kind? what motivates you the most? what would you add to this list? how about we keep this motivating conversation going down in the comments - i would love to hear what you'd add to this list (and maybe even implement them into my daily routine...)



stay stoked!
kate 



17 comments

  1. such a great post!! I'm surprised at how I've accidentally started implementing a lot of these, so go me, though being more consistent and intentional is always good. :)

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    1. WOOOHOOO! Go you, Evangeline :) I BELIEVE IN YOU! thanks for being here <3

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  2. That was so thought-provoking -- sustaining happiness in order to write. Wow. That's really right.

    I love nighttime walks, but I'm not able to do them anymore now that we live in a different part of the city. I do need to get on that daily exercise thing, though. Just walking my dog and talking out my creative issues to her helps me solve a lot of problems and come up with cool new ideas.

    I actually just cleaned my desk the other day, and I feel so much happier sitting there and making stuff. I'm going to run to the store tomorrow and grab some thumbtacks so I can put up my prayer flags and goats in sweaters calendar, and then it will be the perfect space :) I'm generally pretty messy, though, so this is aNOTHER thing I need to work on. Actually, I need to work on most of the things you listed here. Like: I am vegetarian, but that does not mean I eat vegetables, it means I eat carbs. I'm going to college in a few months, and I've kind of been putting off these lifestyle changes because I know it will be way easier when I'm living on my own. But I should start doing them now to get in the habit. *pushes up glasses* Scientific studies indicate it takes 21 days to establish a habit. I bet I can do that.

    Eleanor | On the Other Side of Reality

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    1. High five, fellow vegetarian!! :D Way to go you, starting the new year right. I've heard that about developing habits too - it's amazing how it doesn't take that long for our brains to forge new paths! So glad this post could act as an encouragement. :) Thanks for being here and for sharing!

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  3. All of these are wonderful tips, not only on how to stay creative, but to feel more at peace and grateful for your life. <3 I really need to work on establishing a workout routine, so thanks for the push! I hope 2019 is a year of great creativity for you! <3

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    1. EXAAAACTLY!! I agree <3 I am so glad you got somehting you out this post, Melissa! Thanks so much for reading and for your kind words

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  4. Thank you for writing this post! It was such a lovely, peaceful read and your aesthetic is #OnPoint. I totally get where you're coming from with looking to writing for happiness. I used to feel so burnt out and bummed if my writing wasn't going well. You're totally right that we have to look at it the other way around! Love these tips and definitely have seen how much time magically appears when I unplug and put my phone away. Keep writing! Hope your 2019 has been great thus far. :)

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    1. AHHHHH THANK YOU SO MUCH, ERIN! And Happy new year!! <3 I completely get what you mean...it can be a tricky mindset to get out of, but it's sooo important to break the cycle. I'm so glad this post could be an encouragement! Love you, dude!!

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  5. This was so good, thank you, Kate!! I really really identified with this (except in my case it was music):"On days when writing just wasn't working out for me, i was generally unhappy with everything else i did, and my day felt completely unfulfilled. my modus operandi became: if i can write today, then i'll be happy." That was me a while ago, and it's not healthy. But God is gracious, and we're breaking that mindset.

    One thing I can't do without is my Jesus time: just fills me up all the way! And music: if I listen to something encouraging in the morning it inevitably lifts my mood :)

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    1. WOOHOO! Stoked to hear that you're developing new and healthier mindsets about your incredible craft, Jeanette. :) That's awesome that you're a musician! What kind of music do you like making?

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    2. Thank you! :) I play violin and I LOVE CELTIC FOLK MUSIC. I think I was born in the wrong country xD

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  6. Oh man I LOVE reading your blogposts, Kate: they just make me so very happy and motivated.

    One of my goals this year is to set a morning routine and actually stick to it: it /did/ take me until today, January 7th, to set one, but I really like knowing what's gonna come after each thing I do in the morning. I really think it's going to make my days that much more productive, if I get everything I need to get done in the morning, done.

    (I love your pictures btw!!! as always, but still!!!) Happy New Year, kate!

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    1. Happy new year, Hanne!! Go you - that's awesome that you've developed a morning routine! I always consider January a bit of an experimentation month; it's a great space to try different methods to accomplishing your resolutions/goals and see what works. I am so glad this post left you inspired!!

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  7. THANK YOU !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! aldjfklskfj xoxoxo

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THIS IS A CONVERSATION. this blog is not just about my words, it's about your words too - think of it as a community. a circle of friends getting together 'round a campfire. i would love to hear what you thought of this post, chat with you, and get to know you better! and be sure to check back, because i reply. :) oh, and if we haven't talked before, don't forget to leave a link to your blog so i can check it out! your comments literally make me smile SO BIG you have no idea. thank you for being here <3