100 Things Creatives Can Do With Their Time

March of 2020. We find ourselves in an extraordinary, unprecedented time. With the current sequestering and social distancing now going on, there seems this invisible, heavy fog of uncertainty and unknowing and even fear. The streets are empty, the schools are quiet, the businesses are still, the churches are online. We’re all smart enough to know this threatening pandemic will eventually pass, and yet there is the underlying feeling that nothing will ever be the same again. How will this affect our economy, our finances, our country, our future? These questions hang too, like a heavy fog.

In the midst of it all, we artists have an uncommon opportunity, for time—which always seems in short supply—has suddenly been forced upon us. Time. Sequestered, isolated, uninterrupted time. What to do with all this time?

My suggestion: Don’t waste it. Instead, push back at the uncertainty and the fear. As an artist, as a creative, act on this opportunity to contemplate, create, express, design, ruminate, refresh, be inspired, dive deeply into life.

Here are one hundred things creatives can do with their time. Some are quite small and some are quite huge. But all of them will hopefully exercise your creative muscles and fill your soul. Enjoy.

  1. Write a short story.
  2. Compose a song.
  3. Turn the radio up and dance.
  4. Take up watercolors.
  5. Try your hand at origami.
  6. Knit a scarf.
  7. Learn a new recipe.
  8. Share that meal with your neighbor.
  9. Record a podcast. (Hint: Start small.)
  10. Design your own greeting cards.
  11. Learn a musical instrument.
  12. Build a bookcase.
  13. Read a book of poetry. Out loud. In a thick British accent.
  14. Play LEGOS with a child.
  15. Netflix “hidden gem” suggestion for inventors: “The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind.”
  16. Go organize your studio. (You know it needs it.)
  17. Write thank you notes to the people who inspired you. Mail them.
  18. Put on a live stream concert.
  19. Walk around your neighborhood and recognize things you’ve never seen before.
  20. Write a blog post about it.
  21. Start that new novel. (Everyone’s got one in them.)
  22. Discover a new recording artist. (Hint: Ask a young person if you’re stumped.)
  23. Do chalk art on your driveway for your neighborhood.
  24. Write a list of things you think are beautiful.
  25. Learn to juggle.
  26. Read a classic book. (You know, the good stuff.)
  27. Sing to your spouse or family member. (Especially if you’re not a singer!)
  28. Listen to some inspiring Ted Talks.
  29. Go to the park and bring your sketchbook.
  30. Or your still camera or video camera.
  31. Or your easel.
  32. Dance in your kitchen. Force everyone to dance with you.
  33. Start that Patreon page you’ve been talking about.
  34. Make up a bedtime story.
  35. Illustrate that story.
  36. Bind it into a book and give it to a child.
  37. Visit an online museum. (Hint: Some of the most amazing museums in the world have online galleries.)
  38. Write a letter to yourself that you will open in 20 years. Be honest and bold.
  39. Sew something. Like a tablecloth or a skirt. Or just darn those socks.
  40. Learn the optional keyboard symbols on your computer. (Here’s one: On OSX, option “g” makes a © copyright symbol.)
  41. Start an art journal
  42. Go outside and photograph everything that looks like a cross (or a circle, or everything red; you get the idea).
  43. Learn to draw or write with your non-dominant hand.
  44. Build a homemade flute.
  45. Read a movie screenplay. (Hint: There are literally thousands available online).
  46. Build a simple but sturdy artist easel.
  47. Recall a funny story about your childhood. Write it down.
  48. Update your computer and clean out your files, including your inbox. (Yes, even artists need to practice good computer hygiene.)
  49. Paint a wall mural in your home. (Hint: Get permission first!)
  50. Netflix “hidden gem” suggestion for culinary artists: “Julie and Julia.”
  51. Go outside and plant some flowers.
  52. Don’t forget to paint all the flowerpots.
  53. Do a prayer retreat one morning. Bring an art journal and capture your thoughts.
  54. Put on a cape. Play that character out.
  55. Create a still life out of things on your office desk, or your bathroom sink, or your garage counter.
  56. Draw the still life. Then paint it. Then render it in PhotoShop. Then describe it in writing. Compare and contrast.
  57. Express differently. If you are rock, learn some jazz chords. If you are modern dance, learn some ballet moves. If you’re realism, try abstract.
  58. Make a list of things you’re thankful for. Use it as a prayer list.
  59. Buy (or download) a coloring book. (Hint: It’s okay to color outside the lines.)
  60. Netflix “hidden gem” suggestion for actors: “The Hollywood Masters.”
  61. Read up on the meanings of different Christian symbols. 
  62. Learn how to draw some of those Christian symbols.
  63. Update your artist website. (You mean you don’t have one?)
  64. Pull out that ukulele that you’ve got stashed in the closet.
  65. Try sculpting. (Maybe start with Play Doh and work your way up.)
  66. Build yourself an easy, cool-looking craft desk.
  67. Create a family crest with your children.
  68. Learn a new computer program like Garage Band or an app like Mandala Maker.
  69. Turn your novel into a screenplay. Or vice versa.
  70. Refinish some furniture.
  71. You can write haiku. It will help you pass the time. Creative, I am.
  72. Learn to draw a Celtic cross.
  73. Netflix “hidden gem” suggestion for musicians: “20 Feet From Stardom.”
  74. Go outside and close your eyes and listen really hard.
  75. What’s gathering dust in your closet? dust it off and put it to use.
  76. Dance three different emotions.
  77. Find a hymn book and sing some old hymns.
  78. Scrapbook.
  79. Rewrite the lyrics to a popular song, but make it a parody.
  80. Turn your kitchen utensils into percussion instruments and play along with your iTunes.
  81. Video yourself playing a character.
  82. Do it in costume.
  83. Illustrate a Bible verse.
  84. Read a biography of a famous artist.
  85. Climb up onto your roof to give yourself a different perspective of your world.
  86. Try your hand at calligraphy.
  87. Write an original verse for “Amazing Grace” that summarizes your life.
  88. Netflix “hidden gem” suggestion for foodies: “Jiro Dreams of Sushi.”
  89. Rearrange the furniture.
  90. Or better yet, design your own furniture.
  91. Play the home version of “Chopped”: Find three ingredients in your pantry and make a meal out of it.
  92. Make a stop motion video. Better yet, do it with a child.
  93. Describe a smell without using another smell to compare it to.
  94. Create a postcard for your hometown. Send it to someone. Wish you were here!
  95. Design your dream house. But limit it to a tiny home.
  96. Netflix “hidden gem” suggestion for musicians: “Quincy.”
  97. Lay in the yard and make shapes out of the clouds (thanks for the tip, Emily.)
  98. Learn a magic trick.
  99. Bake a birthday cake and decorate it lavishly. (Hey, it’s someone’s birthday somewhere!)
  100. Take a nap.

I don’t have to remind you that time is a gift from God. Every day is offered to us as an invitation to enter into His creation and His presence (Ecclesiastes 3:1-8). It is not to be lived out in fear and unknowing, but in His delighting presence.

May your time be filled with creativity and inspiration and shalom.

[Note: Do you have one to add to this list? Add it in the comments below! Photo by Per Lööv on Unsplash.]

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