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20 Apr 2020

Grow 7 creative habits: A youth guide

By Michael Moore, spoken word poet

We’ve been in lockdown for weeks now and for the young creatives of the world, what’s it been like?

Liberating to see the world as your canvas,
Exhilarating to find ways to break the status quo, but also
Crippling to not know where to start, how to move forward, or if doing stuff is even worth it.

Oh, and it’s also frustrating waiting for inspiration to hit.

While it’s nice to think creative genius means amazing ideas spontaneously explode in your mind, more often than not, creative genius is sparked by a few good hard goes.

Sweat it out. Sometimes literally.

The more you work at it, the more your creative habits grow and the better a chance you have at coming up with those amazing ideas.

So young creative, here are 7 creative habits that can lead you to your next best work. Active wear optional.

Prep your space and tools

This doesn’t have to be dramatic.

You don’t have to clear out the garage or repaint your room. Prepping your space can be as simple as clearing the table, grabbing a pencil and a piece of scrap paper from an old 1B5. It could be moving a few couches up against the wall and blue-tacking your phone to the TV to record your next Tik Tok smash hit.

Innovation is a key part of preparing your space. You may not have all the stuff you need right now, but you do have what you need to make that stuff, like your imagination for one.

Building your space is the first step. Now you’ve started, let the creativity roll.

Step inside the creative matter

Your next task is to shift into your imagination.

Start by asking yourself,  “What message do I want to share?”

Knowing what message you want to share, now ask yourself, “What world can I ‘step into’ that will allow me to share this message?”

Doing this helps you step into the ‘creative matter’ which also helps ground you into square one. It takes a moment to pivot into your starting point and it’s from here where you can unearth artefacts of inspiration.

At this point, you may need to do a bit of research. Watch a bunch of Youtube clips, read a book or listen to music to climb inside the creative matter.

I often listen to other poets before I write a spoken word piece, their voices, word selection, flow and passion move my head space into poetic high definition and before I know it, I can’t help but look at a tree and see it transforms into words.

Look from a unique perspective

Now that you’re standing inside your ‘creative matter’, look around. What does the world look like from here? Are you a painter on a cliff overlooking the ocean or a DJ in a club?

Who are you and how do you feel? How old are you? What’s your mood?

I will often write from the perspective of my teenage years and go to a dreamlike reality of my teenage-hood. When I’m there looking through the lens of my 17-year-old-self I find so many gems of motivation to bring into the present for creating.

What diamonds lie in your memory waiting for you to rediscover?

Feel the rhythm and create

Now that you’re looking at the world with inspired eyes, it’s time to create. I use three very specific tools as a writer, but these are useful for any creative practice.

Tool 1: Observable world
Use your new perspective to view the observable world around and find metaphors or meaning.

Whether it is an epic scene or something simple, you control how you present what you see. As a writer I might transform a trestle table under the weight of a family reunion feast into broad shoulders carrying the load of family troubles.

Tool 2: Memory
Look for past moments, people, places and times that have inspired you.

This tool allows me to think beyond myself in my writing and begin to think about others, honouring moments and places shared.

Tool 3: Emotion
Articulate and capture your feelings within your creation. With the right emotion I can fine-tune, beautify or exaggerate.

Feel the rhythm of these combined tools and let your intuition into the creative process. Go with what you feel and enjoy the ride, this is how I write my own worlds into life. For example:

“In that moment when my brothers broad shoulder sunk into the ribs of the wide loaded prop trucking forward with gritted teeth, time stopped and from the sideline I heard my brother gasp in release, as if to liberate his troubles into the body of his opposition, crumbling his spine and putting him to sleep on contact.”

Refine your creation

You’ve now been enjoying the process of creating, of combining beats, blending colours or testing the range of your voice.

Now, if you’re not happy with the raw product you can refine your work. This is your cutting room, edit until you feel content.

Refining can be hard. In some ways it is a process of perfecting but just be careful not exhaust yourself trying to make it perfect.

Make the call to stop

Why? Because if you’ve come this far then you’ll need a way out, a way of saying to yourself I’m happy with this creation, either for now or completely.


If you’re up for it, share your work with other people. They may provide feedback that can help you improve your creation, or it could be exactly what someone needed to see, hear, taste or feel.


Working on these 7 creative habits won’t be easy at the start, but it will become second nature over time. You may feel like your first (and second and third and fourth) attempt is rubbish, but that’s all part of the process. After those first few spluttering attempts, you’ll see the magic flow.

Be brave and get creating.