Some people have all the luck: no school to show up for, homework to do, sports to play, jobs to hold down. What you really need is more time, enough to just sit and bask in the brilliance of your creative ideas. Right? I’m not so sure.


What if J.K. Rowling had said she didn’t have time to write? She found ways to make space. And you can too. These nine simple steps will help you to capture your creative ideas, to prepare for them to find you and to let go of your need to be in control of the process.


Capture. Make space to capture ideas when they appear.

  1. Wake up writing. First thing in the morning, before you turn the light on, take a creative pause. These dark minutes are when you’re most open and receptive. Are you wasting them? Notice what’s floating in your conscious awareness. Set your alarm 10 or 15 minutes early (yes, early!) to enjoy the pictures and capture them on paper.

  2. Carry a cool notebook. Brilliant ideas can’t be planned for. Are you ready when they arrive? Whether you use a traditional Moleskin, a homemade recyclable or an everyday essay book, carry it with you or miss the moment. And don’t forget your pen!

  3. Talk to your phone. An idea can take many routes from the recesses of your mind out into the world. Have you tried dictation? Speaking the idea into your phone versus writing it can sometimes give it space to dance and play. Hearing your own voice can give you confidence when the blank page intimidates you. Mix up your methods. And have fun with them!

Prepare. Make space by preparing yourself for ideas to find you.

  1. Pay attention. The richest material you’ll ever find is right there on your doorstep. Do you notice it? One of my screenwriting teachers had us go to a public place, tape record a conversation and then transcribe it. This was his way of showing us what real, believable dialogue sounds like. The world’s best dramas are on stage around you all the time. Don’t miss the show!

  2. Upgrade your friends. Your writing is directly affected by your family and friends. What kinds of conversations do you have? How do you use them? Seek out people who inspire you. Don’t be afraid to feel your attractions. Engage with people you don’t understand. Challenge yourself to think in different ways. Give and receive encouragement freely. You’re worth it!

  3. Maximize your mistakes. What do you do when you make a mistake? Shriek in horror or let it lead you. I’ve heard jazz musicians say that a wrong note can either fall flat or take the band in a whole new direction. It all depends on what you do with it. Develop your skill to respond to your mistakes creatively.

Release. Make space by letting go of your need to control the process.

  1. Do your chores. There are two primary energies at work in the creative process: One is active and the other is receptive. So much of what we do today is mental, active, focused. But your creative process needs the other energy just as much. And, believe it or not (no, this is not a paid parental announcement), mindless activities like sweeping the floor, washing dishes, cleaning your room are the perfect opportunities to exercise the receptive. See where they take you.

  2. Walk on the wild side. How do you get where you want to go? Your answer will likely depend on where you live, what the weather’s like, how far you have to travel. Sure, walking pretty basic, but it is also an amazing harmonizer for your entire being. Not only is it totally green, it’s also totally creative. Feel your feet on the ground and be present for each step.

  3. Sleep well. Young children always hate to go to sleep for fear they will miss something exciting. But sleep is your mind’s creative playground. Whether you remember your dreams or not, you dream every night. And through your dreams, your mind processes and plans what happens during the day. So, buy your ticket and enjoy the show. You’re the star!


Every day can be productive when you use your creative priorities to navigate through the distractions. No matter what your life is filled with today, you can use it to create. And you can open up the small (often wasted) spaces in every day for creative inspiration to strike.


Every day is a new chapter. What will you write with yours today? Take one of these steps each day for the next nine days, and see what happens. Come back and leave a comment to let us know how it’s going.

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