Morning Practices to Spark Your Creative Energy

If you are as voracious as I am about maintaining a creative life, then you’ve probably heard a few stories about how other creative people structure their morning, their day, their life, etc. It seems like we are all searching for the perfect routine. We want to know how successful creatives stay focused and invite the muse in.

I like to say that I’ve got to create a life that nourishes my writing life. Athletes train for their events, and writers need to stay on top of their game too.  

Did you know that Simone de Beauvoir would start her day with tea around 10 a.m. and work until 1 p.m? Then she’d take lunch with friends and go back to work from 5 p.m. until 9 p.m.

Ernest Hemingway would write every morning “as soon after first light as possible… and write until you come to a place where you still have your juice and you know what will happen next and you stop and try to live through until the next day when you hit it again,” according to a Paris Review article in 1958.

Ludwig van Beethoven made a strong cup of coffee each morning, counting out exactly 60 beans for his morning cup.

Georgia O’Keeffe would wake at dawn to sip her tea in bed, then take a morning walk around her New Mexico neighborhood. Then, she would get to her studio and start painting.

You can read more about many creative geniuses and their routines in the book, Daily Rituals: How Artists Work by Mason Currey.

One super important note from his book: most artists throughout history have kept a day job, so don’t use the excuse of time to let your creative dreams go. Toni Morrison developed the habit of writing at 5 a.m. because it was the only free time before her kids would wake up and she’d have to go to work.

Ok, so here’s a version of mine. Please know that it is always subject to change. Some days I get inspired and write first thing, other days I get up and catch an early yoga class.

7 a.m.- 8 a.m. Wake Up
Linger in bed and try to remember my dreams, say a short prayer of gratitude for a new day, look out the window and see nature, remember it’s all really a dream. Drink water. Switch my phone from airplane mode to on and check Instagram—I love seeing pictures and inspirational messages first thing in the morning. Check email. I keep trying to break this habit, but I’m just too damn curious.

8:15 a.m. Morning Pages
I like to capture my thoughts first thing in the morning alá Julia Cameron (who I studied with in NYC for a year). Learn more about MPs in an article I wrote for Omega Institute.

8:45 a.m. Stretch, Breath, Meditate.
I don’t have a formal practice, but try to stay quiet and let any feelings or thoughts come to the surface that might need some attention. I like to practice alternative nostril breathing to ground and create balance in my body.

9 a.m. Move it!
I tend to take a walk, go on a run, or do a workout video in my office. Big ups to:,, and

9:30 a.m. Joy Party Breakfast
I make a smoothie, fry a duck egg, heat up leftover veggies, or if I’m super lucky eat a “breakfast cookie” and make a matcha latte. I try to make my breakfast with a joyful exuberance for the day, so I might play music and dance around, make jokes with my boyfriend and be super goofy, or listen to a podcast. 

10 a.m. Work, Work, Work, Work, Work
I like to start my day with one project that can be completed in the morning time. I’m super competitive (yes, even with myself), so I like to begin the day knowing I can soon check something off my list. It can be as small as an invoice or as large as a writing or researching a story that’s due that week. Many times, it’s tackling a few emails that need replies. I tend to write at least 2 or 3 to-dos for each day and try my best to make them happen.  

On Creative Abundance

Here's the scene. I've just turned off the light on my nightstand. I'm snuggled in bed thinking about my day and drifting off into dreamland. My mind is relaxed. I feel the ease of another day done.

Suddenly, the best idea ever enters my mind.

Maybe it's a title for an article, a book idea, or the menu for the perfect dinner party. Many times, I get out of bed and write myself a note. Sometimes, I repeat the idea three times in my head hoping I’ll remember it the next day. Other times, I just relish this little moment of creative wisdom. I don't sweat it. You know why? I believe in creative abundance.

Yes, just as we can call in more love, more money, or more aligned friendships, we can also call in more creativity. I’m not saying I don’t treat good ideas with reverence. In fact, I have lots of little word docs in my computer full of ideas and scraps of scribbled paper sitting near my desk. But I believe that if one good idea came to me another is not far away.

Here's the thing. If you keep filling your well, you don't have to worry. This concept comes from Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way. It’s a method of self-preservation and nurturing that fills you up so that you don’t feel depleted by your creative work. You can fill your inner reservoir with whatever pleases you. For me, it’s time noodling around a bookstore or herbal shop, baking, doing some form of movement, pulling tarot cards, playing in nature and spending time with creative people who inspire me either in-person or through their work.

Ultimately creative work is not about the idea; it’s about you. You can bring your unique perspective and voice to anything you write about. If you Google any topic that interests you right now, you’ll find hundreds of articles that all use different words, styles and voices to explain that topic to you. We all have channels connected to us. Your only job is to tap that channel when you need it.

Creative ideas also come to all of us in distinct ways. Your inspiration may make nightly visits in your dreams or it may be more elusive and require some coaxing. You may get a burst of inspiration in the shower or at a party. Creativity does not wait for you to be fully dressed, fully awake or even fully self-realized. Your only job is to hold a wide net and be willing to catch those creative ideas wherever and whenever they appear.

Clients often say to me that they worry someone will steal their idea or that they must write their book right now before someone else does. A good dose of fire under the ass never hurt a creative project, but believe in your creative abundance too. Believe in divine timing. It’s all unfolding just at the right time.

I have friend who I’ve talked with about how writing is just one expression of our creativity. I fully intend to be a painter or sculptor at some point in my creative life. When I’m baking muffins in the kitchen or shaking my hips on the dance floor, I am expressing my creative spirit. I don’t rely on one channel of my creativity to give me everything I need. I believe in the abundance.