Wonder Boys

How Do You Get in a Creative Mood?

How Do You Get in a Creative Mood?

Just as runners have their high, artists have that mood or hypnotic state that enables them to create material at will. I’m talking about that sweet spot, where we don’t mind losing a few hours of sleep (or the entire night) just because that idea light bulb refuses to turn off. Even if you’re not an artist, there are certain things you can do to help yourself get in the mood to create. We’ve scoured the web and our brains to find some ways to make creation more accessible. Here are a few easy tips that might encourage creativity:



Pick a good environment to do your work, like a home office or library. Go to a place you can call your own, even if it’s under a tree (probably a frozen tree at the moment). Somewhere that you feel comfortable and most importantly, free of distraction.


Pick a time, any time.

It’s nice to be able to work on your project whenever, but some of us have a full schedule. Cut out a small chunk of time each day that is strictly for you and your work. Ditch the iPhone 5 and the flat screen, and make sure you handle any personal matters that may interfere with your creative time before hand.


Get outta here!

Seriously, get out. It’s not easy to get different ideas if you don’t see different faces/neighborhoods. Last month, the Digest caught up with Robert Nardolillo, a local watercolorist, who mentioned that just walking around Hoboken was something that got his juices flowing (view the full interview here).


Listen to some music.

That song you can’t stop listening to just might be what you need. It doesn’t have to be relevant to what you’re writing/sketching. Hit repeat and hope that the artistic trance follows. I personally prefer headphones to speakers on this one, just because it tends to shut the world out a bit more.



This can be anything from drawing a sketch on a Starbuck’s napkin to spending hours creating the blueprint for your next novel. Brainstorm even when you’re not brainstorming; observe everything you see. That guy from the train in the worn 1990s Levi’s with the outline of a full wallet that used to be in the back pocket might be your next protagonist.


Check out some creative prompts.

My freshman creative writing professor in college used to give us these bizarre writing exercises that involved us making prank calls to strangers. Though many of them ended up being pretty hilarious, we achieved something. It got us thinking about new characters, voices, settings, etc. Check out these writing prompts from Poets & Writers or these art journal prompts for drawing and painting at Blacksburg Belle.


What gets our writers at the Digest in the mood to create?


Lauren B. – Editor

Reading the work of someone who blows me away me with their skill, or reading restaurant menus. Sometimes those two things happen at the same time.


Lauren S. – Writer

I get inspired to write when I spend time outdoors (whether it be hiking, snowboarding, or just enjoying a few drinks). Beautiful weather and mother nature allow me to reflect and get my best writing out.


Sebastian K. – Writer

I get in a creative mood when I read a good book or watch a good movie. Also when I witness something surreal that no one else seems to have noticed.

Photo cred: The feature film Wonder Boys