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Things I do to foster creativity and get inspiration as an artist.

In a world where everyone is trying the next best life hack to optimize productivity and creativity, I encourage you to focus on the basics and slow down. I don't have it all figured out, but I know my best ideas come to me when I’m not actively searching for them, and my mind feels quiet. Here are some things I do to foster my creativity.

A Healthy Routine for My Physical and Mental Well-Being

I've always prioritized my health, but as I've transitioned into a business owner role, I believe even more in the power of health and exercise for creativity. Feeling my best = creating my best.

My best ideas often feel stuck deep within my subconscious, and I need to move to release them. When struggling with a problem, I take a walk. As I move, ideas start pouring out, and I can hardly jot them down quickly enough in the notes app on my phone.

The gym has become crucial to me lately. Training is one of my top priorities alongside creating art and surfing. Building strength has never been so rewarding. After hours of sitting at my iPad or computer, hitting the gym in the early afternoon, even if I'd rather stay glued to my work, is essential. Moving and breaking a sweat helps me understand some of the daily problems I encounter. I can return to work with a clearer mind and better ideas after a good training session.

My daily routine isn’t perfect, but it goes something like this:

  • Wake up around 5 or 5:30 AM

  • Drink water, take vitamins

  • Optional 30-minute walk before 6 AM: If I can fit it in, great! If not, I allow myself extra sleep. Sleep is crucial.

  • Make coffee and start work: My brain works best in the morning, so I start work early when I’m most motivated and functioning at my highest capacity.

  • Work from 6:30/7:00 AM - 12:00/1:00 PM: With a break to eat.

  • Gym around 12:00 - 1:00 PM: Walking to the gym, about a 12-minute walk, has been a game-changer for extra steps and sunlight. This is when my brain starts to slow down, and my body needs movement.

  • Return home around 2:00 or 3:00 PM: Make food, freshen up, and try to get another hour or two of work done. Depending on my energy levels, this time may be better spent on chores or “mindless” activities.

  • Around 4:00 or 5:00 PM: Time to hop in the ocean! Surfing preffered but if there's no waves, I'll grab my mask and go for a swim. It always feels like a great way to wash off the day.

  • Evening: Shower, make dinner, and sometimes a bit of creative energy returns. I might draw or handle admin tasks between 7-8 PM. But I don't pressure myself—if I have the energy, I’ll do it; if not, it's time to chill and get to bed early.

Having a solid routine has been essential for my business and creativity. I plan my day around my energy levels, using my brain when it's most effective and my body when my brain needs a break.

Working with your energy levels rather than against them allows creativity and your best ideas to thrive.

Travel, Time in Nature, and Breaks from Work

The best ideas come to me when I’m off work, traveling, or out in nature camping. Disconnecting from my phone, email, and normal responsibilities frees up space in my mind for magic to happen. Traveling and seeing new places and people always inspire new drawing ideas. Witnessing a new culture or lifestyle, especially in another coastal surfing town, floods me with inspiration. Whether it's a coffee shop, a surf break, street murals, or local wildlife, it inspires me to incorporate each new place into my artwork.

Camping is my absolute favorite thing in the world, besides surfing. If it’s a camping trip with surfing, I’ve hit the jackpot. I love camping so much that I try to camp every year on my birthday. This was easier when I lived in Oregon where camping spots were endless and my car was 24/7 equipped for spontaneous camping. There’s great camping here in Maui too, just a bit more limited- but oh it is magical here.

In fact, my friends and I are headed to Hana to camp for the weekend and unplug. I’m excited to see what ideas come to me during this time. Being in nature, waking up outdoors to fresh air, birds, and hot coffee—there’s nothing better. It’s my personal heaven.

Tossing Around Ideas with Other Creative Friends

Working for myself and being alone all day can trap me in my own head. I don’t often have people to bounce ideas off like you would in an office environment, but it’s so important! Some of my best creative ideas, whether for a new piece of art or a new business strategy, come from sitting with a friend over coffee.

Sometimes one simple thing they say becomes just what I was looking for. The "aha!" moments I get from good company and conversation are unbeatable. I’ve been wanting to organize group meetups where entrepreneurs can get together for no-pressure coffee chats. I bet everyone would leave with more clarity and inspiration.

Lastly, Coffee

I highly recommend it. In all seriousness, coffee is responsible for everything I put out. It deserves a shout-out.

I'm off to go camping now! You should do the same—or whatever it is that fosters your creativity.


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