• a spring clean is always a good idea — a clear space is fertile ground for new ideas.
  • ask a parent to describe the events leading up to and immediately after your birth. write about it as if you were a fly on the wall.
  • be a tourist in your own town: go to the tourist information office, pick up leaflets, and go sightseeing!
  • burn some incense and sit quietly enjoying the aroma. let your thoughts stray to wherever they want to go.
  • buy a pack of sculpting clay at your local art or craft shop, and see what you can make.
  • call a family member that you don’t speak to very often, and find out what they’ve been up to.
  • choose an album that’s been reviewed in this week’s paper and go out and buy or download it. really listen to it.
  • collect some stones or shells from a park or beach, and paint them in beautiful colors.
  • compliment everybody you meet on one thing you genuinely like about them.
  • create a piece of ’cut-up’ writing. collect single pages from different newspapers, magazines and other publications; cut each page into four and then mix and match the quarters to create new sentences.
  • decorate a shoe box with leftover wrapping paper and use it to store all your christmas cards once you’ve taken them down.
  • design and make thank you cards for all the people you saw or received gifts from over the festive period.
  • dig out your school yearbook or report book and think about how you have changed — and how you have stayed the same.
  • draw an object you look at every day, such as a marmite jar, your handbag or your overflowing chest of drawers. draw every detail, taking your time.
  • educate yourself on a religion, country or culture you know little about.
  • fill an entire A4 sheet by drawing colorful patterns or motifs — make them as simple or as complicated as you like.
  • find a picture you like. turn it upside down, and try to copy it. you’ll be surprised how differently you look at things when viewing them from a new angle.
  • flick through today’s paper and cut out words or phrases that strike you as interesting. arrange your words and phrases to make a statement or poem.
  • gaze out across a pond or stream and watch the way the fish, dragonflies and water boatmen affect the water’s surface.
  • get out of a rut: shake up your daily routine by having lunch in a new spot, or with a different colleague.
  • go into your garden or local park, pick a tree and draw it in as much detail as possible. make a date to revisit the tree in spring, summer and autumn and record how it’s changed by drawing it again.
  • go to a bar alone — be open and act confidently. you’re bound to meet some interesting characters or even make new friends!
  • go to a poetry reading or open mic night. even better: volunteer to read a poem or perform one of your own songs.
  • go to see the original of your favorite painting in an art gallery, if you can, to see how differently it looks in reality as opposed to as a print.
  • introduce yourself to a neighbor — preferably bearing baked goodies!
  • invite all your friends over at winter solstice, put on some classic tunes, indulge in too much chocolate and brandy and make the most of the shortest day of the year!
  • listen to a new song on repeat, thinking each time of a different aspect — the rhythm, the lyrics or the melody.
  • listen to talk radio and write down all the important points that are discussed — consider your stance on each of them.
  • look for a new recipe involving chocolate and cook two batches — one to give away and one to keep!
  • look outside and count how many different shades and colors you can see. think of the perfect word to describe each tone: olive, pistachio, lawn green, jungle green, mint, chartreuse.
  • look up something you have never quite understood, or have always wanted to know more about.
  • organize a book-swap club. everybody brings along a number of unwanted books, and you can take away as many as you came with!
  • pick out an object that you find cheerful and draw it using wax crayons or colored pencils with simple, spontaneous lines.
  • plan and book a weekend in the great outdoors.
  • plant a tree in memory of someone that was close to you.
  • plant tomato or salad-leaf seeds in pots to keep on your windowsill. in a few weeks you’ll be creating some delicious salads!
  • play the word association game with yourself: write down your starting word and see where you end up.
  • read ’if’ by rudyard kipling.
  • read ’the diving bell’ and ’the butterfly’ by jean-dominique bauby and reflect on the things we take for granted.
  • read ’the seven habits of highly effective people’ by steven covey, or ’how to win friends and influence people’ by dale carnegie. even better — read both! put their points into action.
  • read a book set in a country you’ve never visited.
  • read a classic novel that you never thought you’d get round to reading.
  • read a novel in a day. preferably curled up on a sofa with a supply of your favorite brew and biscuits.
  • read something by charles dickens, such as ’great expectations’ or ’a christmas carol’.
  • rent a cottage in the countryside, preferably one with a real log fire, and escape there for a night or two with a pile of good books and a bottle of wine. don’t forget to take a cosy jumper!
  • research the history of your hometown. find out about any local myths or legends.
  • revisit the neighborhood in which you grew up. take an hour or two to wander around and soak up the memories.
  • revisit the psychedelic sixties by searching online and listening to some far-out music from that decade — groovy, man.
  • send a message in a bottle.
  • smile at everyone you pass for the day, and notice how it affects the way you feel.
  • spend all day actively listening. if you ask somebody how they are, let them say more than ’fine’.
  • spend an evening at a restaurant you’ve never been to before — and order something you wouldn’t usually eat.
  • spend today saying ’yes’ to every opportunity that comes along.
  • start a family tree using photos of your relatives — or, if you’re short on photos, why not draw your family members?
  • start a journal and make a conscious effort to write in it every day, either as soon as you wake up, when you get home or just before you go to bed. include details that strike you as interesting.
  • start a nature diary and record all of the plants and animals you come across while out walking (if you don’t know the names, take photos and look them up afterwards).
  • start a page of a notebook to write down funny words that amuse you: ’fibbertigibbet’ or ’nincompoop’, for example. don’t forget to keep topping up the list.
  • take a bus ride to somewhere you’ve never been before (just make sure you check the timetable, so you can get back!).
  • take a different route to work, and take special notice of your new surroundings.
  • take a sketchbook on the train and see if you can sketch a scene or object just from a fleeting glance.
  • think about someone in your life you respect and admire — what could you learn from them?
  • think about something you take for granted every day — consider how you might do things differently without it.
  • throw a holiday-themed garden party. decorate your garden, invite your guests to dress up, and play some fitting music. nibbles and drinks must match the theme too!
  • try a type of tea that you’ve never tasted before.
  • try to go a whole day without saying anything negative.
  • visit a bookshop and select a book at random — buy it and read it from cover to cover.
  • visit a museum dedicated to something you have no current interest in — you may be pleasantly surprised.
  • visit your local library and go to a section you’d never think to look at.
  • visit your nearest live music venue and buy tickets to see whoever is playing this week.
  • volunteer to walk a friend’s dog, or to walk the dogs at your local shelter. being around animals naturally relieves stress and cleanses the mind.
  • wake up ten minutes earlier than usual and stretch every major muscle in your body. if you can, find a set of stretches to follow. it’ll set you up for a great day.
  • walk or cycle slowly down a road and imagine who lives in each house. create a dramatic story for each one — a secret addiction, a love affair or some literal skeletons in closets!
  • watch a classic black-and-white film and notice the artistry in the cinematography.
  • with time and distance comes perspective: think of something you have abandoned in recent months — an idea or a project — and try to think of ways to make it succeed.
  • write a letter to someone without using the words ’i’, ’me’ or ’my’.
  • write a story that is exactly 100 words long.
  • write down one major change you want to make. see if you can brake it down into three smaller, more realistic changes. now break one of those down even further and make one of those changes today.
sep 15 2016 ∞
sep 15 2016 +