The Calculated Creative

11 Hobbies That Will Help You Stay Creative

The next time you feel in a creative funk, try picking up one of these hobbies rather than defaulting to boredom.

Staying creative can feel like a chore.

We all have a million things competing for our attention, and sitting down to paint or write often takes a backseat.

But having creative outlets is important – it keeps our brains engaged and helps us see the world with fresh eyes.

So if you're looking for ways to spark your creativity that don't feel like work, here are 11 ideas to try.

You might just find a new passion!

1. Gardening

Get your hands dirty—literally! Gardening allows you to cultivate new life, which can inspire you to cultivate new ideas as well. You get to make choices about what to plant and how to arrange your garden landscape, exercising spatial reasoning and design skills. Tend to your plants daily and study how they grow and change. Don't let perceptions of gardening as a boring hobby fool you. Unleash your inner botanist and let your garden give rise to new mental growth!

2. Photography

Photography encourages you to see beauty and intrigue in the everyday. Grab your phone and start snapping photos wherever you go. Train your eye to recognize intriguing moments and compositions that can ignite creative thought. Try different angles, lighting, and subjects. Venture out at sunrise or sunset for magical lighting. Play with editing apps to layer and alter images. Print your best shots and display them to constantly inspire you.

3. Cooking

Cooking engages multiple senses, making it a vibrant creative outlet. Experiment with unexpected ingredient pairings and flavor combinations as you would with paints on a palette. Research recipes from different cultures to try new techniques too. Pay attention to plating and presentation in addition to taste. You're guaranteed a delicious finished product to enjoy. Cooking also necessitates imaginative problem solving when things don't go perfectly. All that time in the kitchen will get your creative juices flowing!

4. Woodworking

The smell of sawdust and feel of handling natural materials like wood and stone awaken the senses. Woodworking also requires spatial reasoning and vision to design and construct pieces. Start small with basic projects to understand your materials and tools. Sketch plans and make models before undertaking more complex pieces. Let the imperfections and knots in the wood guide you creatively. Show off your carved, sanded, and finished creations as functional art.

5. Mixology

Mixing cocktails requires a keen sense of flavor and balance—not unlike mixing melodies in music or colors on a canvas. Study the flavor profiles of different alcohols and mixers. Name your drink concoctions after inspirations like historical figures or fictional characters. Garnish with herbs and fruit to delight both the palate and the eyes. Elevate your bartending game to level up your creativity. Host friends for a mixology unveiling party!

6. Poetry

Poetry distills ideas, imagery, and moments into compact, evocative phrases. Flex your metaphorical muscles by penning a few lines each day. Start by describing mundane objects in your home in poetic language. Maintain a daily poetry journal to capture inspirational snippets and turns of phrase. Learn famous forms like sonnets, haiku, and free verse, but also invent your own structured styles. Poetry will help build your linguistic dexterity to communicate with precision and imagination.

7. Improv Theater

Making things up on the spot pushes ideation, ingenuity, and quick thinking. Even if you're shy, improv builds confidence to pull inspiration out of thin air. Sign up for classes at your local theater or community center! Start by doing silly improvised scenes with friends at home. Set challenges like incorporating specific phrases or emotions. The skills translate to brainstorming sessions at work too. Say "yes and..." to adopt a spirit of open creative play.

8. Jewelry Making

Working with small, intricate parts to create wearable art is tremendously fulfilling. Experiment by combining found objects like buttons and chains with beads and wire. Develop fine motor skills and vision through precision of assembly. Display your custom necklaces, bracelets and earrings on a jewelry stand as inspiration for new pieces. Try using unconventional materials like discs of wood, dried flowers, or strips from old paintings. The only limit is your imagination!

9. Candle Making

Experimenting with scented oils and wax types taps into scientific discovery and artistic vision. Customize candles for specific moods and occasions. Arrange and present your candle collections like priceless museum treasures. Give the gift of luxurious scent experiences to friends and family. Expand to making soaps, lip balms, and lotions too. Open an Etsy shop to fund your hobby and get direct product feedback from customers.

10. Foreign Languages

Learning new vocabulary and grammar structures creates fresh neural pathways as you practice thinking outside your native language patterns. Speaking a foreign language also gives you a whole new lens for self-expression, and deepens understanding of your own and other cultures. Immerse yourself by setting devices and entertainment to your language of study. Keep a journal, write poetry, or chat with language partners. Getting fluent will unlock even more of your creative, expressive power.

11. Coding

Coding a new app or game features logical puzzles similar to any artistic endeavor. You get visual feedback as you create interfaces, animations, variables, and functions. Start small by modifying existing code and noting effects of your tweaks. Attend coding meetups or take online courses to learn best practices from professionals. Imagine the app or technology you wish existed, then bring it to life by wielding coding’s creation power. See your screen designs materialize before you can inspire a whole new artistic vision.


The Takeaway

The next time you feel in a creative funk, try picking up one of these hobbies rather than defaulting to boredom.

Stay curious and keep making things – your brain and mood will thank you!

Make Your Work
Suck Less

Pulling back the curtain on the creative process to help make your work a little less terrible. A 3-minute read delivered each week on Monday morning.

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