I am a big believer in both Creativity Prompts and in Morning Pages.  I love them and have used them both.  Morning pages were a big part of my life several years ago and I’ve used creativity prompts in this blog and will again in the future.  Creativity Prompts can be fun and send you off in different directions, which is why I want to share how to spark your creativity with prompts and morning pages. Both can be used to:  Build a habit; develop your skills and allow for breakthroughs.

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Build A Habit

Whether you are a painter or a writer, practicing your craft every day builds a habit.  If you are using a daily creativity prompt and you do it daily, then you become used to writing or painting every single day.  It’s as simple as that.  At least it sounds simple–I know that execution is much harder.  But building a habit is important and you should stick to a schedule.

Years ago, I didn’t have a habit of writing.  I would write something occasionally and then bemoan the fact that I wasn’t writing.  But there was no discipline there, I just wasn’t doing it  Then I read The Artists’ Way by Julie Cameron and learned about Morning Pages.  I started to get up earlier every morning and write three pages, without fail, even if all three pages only said, “Why am I doing this?”  Eventually, I was able to start writing other things, but the goal of Morning Pages is to get the crap out and jump start your engines.  It also helps to build a habit of writing.

If Morning Pages aren’t your style, then try Creativity Prompts.  Allow yourself to work on one Creativity Prompt each day.  Develop that habit of writing, or painting or collaging or whatever art form you’re working in.  The point is, it didn’t matter what I wrote, all that mattered was, I created a habit that 16 years later, I still follow.

Develop Your Skills  

Creativity Prompts and Morning Pages not only help you develop a habit, they also help you develop your skills.  They aren’t there for you to create your masterpiece.  They’re there for you to practice, so you’ll know your masterpiece when it comes along.  This is true whether you’re a writer or an artist in another medium.  Practice.  Practice.  Practice.  Overnight success takes years.  Years of practice.  Years of rejection.  Years of trying again.  I love what Natalie Goldberg said about practicing in Writing Down the Bones.  “It is odd that we never question the feasibility of a football team practicing long hours for one game, yet in writing, we rarely give ourselves the space for practice.”   Writers write.  Painters paint.  It isn’t the sale of a piece that makes you a writer or a painter.  It’s practicing your craft that does.

Allow For Breakthroughs

No matter the habit you create or how much practice you put in, there sometimes comes that moment when you are blocked.  Not necessarily unable to write at all, but you’re stuck on a specific piece.  Maybe a character isn’t fleshing out the way you want, or you have a deadline looming and you haven’t even started.  Creativity Prompts or even Morning Pages might seem like you’re goofing off, but in reality, they are more important now than ever.

Sure, it might not make sense to use a prompt about space travel when you’re working on a piece about the Old West.  Or, writing all the crap that comes to mind onto three pages just seems like a waste of time.  But, so what!  Just go for it.  It can help to shake out the cobwebs, give you a different perspective and possibly help you to move forward or even throw out what you’d been working on so you can do something new.

Do you have a regular habit of practicing your writing?  Your art?  Let me know what you do.