Creative Warm-ups


Mornings have transformed for me from a time that I dreaded to, dare I say, my favorite time of the day. This new found love for the wee hours of morning didn’t happen overnight (lol) it came from telling myself that morning is the perfect time to set up a creative ritual to set the tone for the day ahead.

Many people use mornings as a time to reflect, clear the mind with exercise or meditation. Most successful people in any line of work cultivate a morning routine that guides their day.

My goal was simple: connect to my creativity early in the day.

Even though in the past I hated mornings, I found when I got to work it was my most energized time of the day. After noticing this I decided to make more of an effort to work with my natural rhythm. I have been playing around with what I want my mornings to be like for a few months and aside from having breakfast and reading, here are some of my favorite creative warm-ups that I start my day with:

Make Marks
I love to draw, color and make marks of all kinds using every writing tool under the sun. A way that I get myself in shape for bigger projects is that I start small.

I take a variety of pens, markers, crayons and draw circles, a thick line/thin line wave to better control my strokes as well as drawing random shapes and patterns. It’s a good way to get the jitters out and the blood pumping. Playing around like this with no agenda is something I do almost every day.

Empty Your Mind
Writing helps me put my thoughts into actions. For some reason, writing something down makes it seem more real.

Some mornings I write a phrase that has been brewing inside of me, sometimes even a paragraph or two.

A less traditional way that I’ve used writing in the mornings is by writing what I’m thankful for, a daily intention, or sometimes song lyrics that are stuck in my head.

Finally, a really fun abstract way to take this exercise is to write down the first 5 (or so) random words that pop into your mind. This one is so much fun because there is no plan at all. If you want to take the time to think about maybe why you wrote down the words you chose, that sounds like fun too, but you don’t have to.

Snap Something
Take a photo and maybe refrain from pushing it to social media? I mean, share all you want, but what I’m getting at is to take a photo of something that looks interesting to you.

What you choose to photograph could look odd, wrong, right, happy, sad, whatever and take it for what it is. I find this practice of unplanned photography to be a way to tune your eyes to the world around you, notice things and think a little more with your eyes.

Pairs and Groups
This practice is something that I picked up from my good friend and jeweler, Lynn Batchelder. I’m not entirely sure if she even knows that she does this, but I love it.

Basically, you start out by picking something up and setting it next to something else and seeing what kind of tension or form is made from this group of small objects. I imagine you can do this with large objects too but, it would probably take way more effort, but hey, YOLO!

Anyway, by taking an object, like a sea shell and placing it next to a cereal bowl and postcard (or whatever else that’s near you that’s calling your name) you instantly make a tiny still life of sorts. A lot of the time, I fiddle with these objects by changing the direction of objects, make them orderly then messy, try to find leading lines, flip things over to show a different color and basically create new energy.

A good way to expand on this is to take a quick photo, sometimes a frame can make a big difference by adding another sort-of object to the mix.

I hope you enjoyed this little dose of creative calisthenics and that maybe you’ll give them a try sometime. Let me know if you do!

Please share any creative warm-up ideas that you have with me in a comment or what you do in the morning that gives you a little extra energy (other than coffee, haha!) Also, if you think I’m absolutely batty for singing the praises of morning then I encourage you to design a routine that you can feel excited to experience each day. It doesn’t have to be a 2 hour thing, but it can be!

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