When I start writing, I’m fully immersed in my own little world, especially when going deep into manuscript writing. That’s the power of finding a creative outlet. When the world around you fades, your mind can wander in all the right ways–a euphoric feeling that enraptures you, unrelenting in its grasp.
Our world does not promote creativity, instead focusing more on production. As a result, many spend each day moving from one task to the next, not allowing the mental space to dive into what can bring us joy on a more elevated level.
Sometimes our creative outlet is clear, beckoning us forward as a higher calling and providing a sense of purpose. Other times, these endeavors need some seeking to be found. And that’s ok!
Look at Laura Ingalls Wilder, who published her first novel in her 60s about her childhood experience on the frontier. It’s always possible to reach for your dreams or try something new.
Creative outlets for adults can range widely, from painting to landscape design. Heck, I consider avid gardeners to be the painters of horticulture. There isn’t a limit on where you can find your next creative outlet.
Another benefit is that creative outlets also do wonders for mental health. So if you feel life’s gotten a bit stale and you want to expand your horizons, here are a few questions to ask yourself to finding a creative outlet.
7 Questions to Finding a Creative Outlet
1. Are the resources to pursue this creative outlet available to me?
Resources can be time, money, or availability of workshops or classes in a geographic area. While I’m not suggesting limiting your creativity, you will need realism in pursuing a new activity, especially if you’re a toddler mom like me whose child constantly follows them around.
Identifying resources for finding creative outlets for mental health may seem like a basic question, but it’s essential in determining the best creative outlet for you. I am a mom of a young child and grad school student, so it’s difficult for me to commit to creative outlets with a performative quality, such as stand-up comedy.
I believe humor is often an overlooked quality necessary for navigating the world, so sometimes I think it would be cool to perform stand up. However, I also enjoy writing more than spoken word projects. So I choose to inject humor into my writing world, sharing it graciously with all of you. Ding ding ding! Welcome to my world of comedy gold.
2. What inspires me or brings feelings of hope or joy?
Inspiration can strike at any time. It often happens to me while at the gym, so I’ve gotten some of my best writing ideas there. Strangely, that’s where I’ve gotten every idea I’ve had for novels. While my longer projects stay shelved due to the pesky editing phase, writing them still serves as some of my happiest memories. I even took a writing retreat cruise in 2016 and met some phenomenal writers.
This question may take some time to sit and think about. What activities previously have brought you inspiration, joy, and hope? While it may not be apparent immediately, the following questions can assist in getting you a step closer to discovering creative outlets for mental health.
As a mom it can be difficult to assess your needs when caring for a little one, especially when tired. Be sure to check in with yourself to get a burst of energy to try something new.
3. What gets me in a zone where life’s problems and trivialities fade away?
Creative trances are available to all of us. Each individual has unique experience and set of skills that shape how and where they can experience such a state of consciousness. There are no limits on what can spur such thinking, from sports to innovative scientific ideas. The best creative endeavors are those that get your daily problems to take a vacation.
It’s also always possible to try something new. With creative outlets for adults, you may want to call back on the distant past as children experience joy and inspiration frequently when the world is so new to them. What did you enjoy as a child that could become a creative outlet?
4. Are there skills I want to improve with this creative outlet?
Creation for creation’s sake is a valid way of spending time, despite what our hustle-bustle culture promotes. There is a benefit in stillness and rest; the outlet you find doesn’t need to bring in money or make you the next Picasso. When a hobby brings joy, that is a treasure in and of itself.
But a creative outlet can also become a resume or skill builder for your career. From public speaking to graphic design, there can be real-world applications in the skills gained through creative outlets.
So take a while to consider development opportunities that can come about from pursuing your next creative outlet.
5. What do others say I’m good at?
While your next creative outlet for mental health doesn’t rely on others’ opinions, the people closest to us sometimes see our strengths more than we do—particularly those who have known you for quite some time.
Thinking back to compliments you’ve received from trusted family members or friends can provide some insight that may aid in your decision.
6. Is there a passion I’ve been too afraid to pursue due to what others may think?
Alternatively, from looking to others for what you’re good at, is there something you’ve always loved doing but kept hidden due to others’ judgments?
It’s far easier to critique others’ pursuits than to be persistent and vulnerable enough to have your own. So maybe there have been moments when you discovered something you loved, but others laughed it off or just plainly told you it sucked. Well, you flip it around and work it.
The perfect example is David Wallace’s Suck It from The Office. That dude sold Suck It for 20 million. So even if you have your version of a Suck It, it can still be valued by the right people. And that value could be as simple as getting joy out of your next endeavor.
7. What pushes me out of my comfort zone?
I’ve always had a strange sense of humor, leaving many questioning what in the world I’m talking about. It takes a lot to keep up with me, and most of my jokes are only understood fully by my husband and siblings.
So my jokes are left mainly for those I have trusted relationships with. However, I’ve found my best writing often injects quite a bit of humor into it. So while it can be daunting to share that with others, especially on the internet for all to see, it has improved my writing tenfold. It also led me to rediscover my joy for writing when I had largely abandoned it many years ago.
For me, blog writing wasn’t necessarily something I had considered doing as a creative outlet for mental health, but it has led me to some interesting places along the way. Blogging as a hobby has changed my life in many ways.
Those are the 7 Questions to Finding a Creative Outlet!
What creative outlets have you discovered recently? Or are there some you’ve had for a long time? I’d love to hear about them in the comments.