4 Mar 2014

How Do You Stay Creative?

Musee Carnavalet - Vicki Archer

musée carnavalet in the marais, paris


Creativity is an interesting concept… a widely used word to mean so much and to be applied to so many.

Creative…  I think of “creativity” as the wherewithal… the elusive ingredient that makes it all happen… the driving force… the inexplicable… for without it, life is dry and meaningless.

Every person is creative in their own way… with their unique signature… there is no set definition, no rules to be adhered to… Creativity just is.

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Creativity has a mind of it’s own… it’s never a set piece and never predictable. Like the elements of nature, creativity cannot be contained.

Creativity can be the source of profound joy and at the same time a great hindrance.

Lives are lived and lives are lost in the name of creativity.

~ ~ ~

How do we stay creative? How do we nurture our creative intuition and enable ourselves?

For me it’s simple… Beauty is my creative trigger. A mere glance in the right direction can spark a million thoughts…

Beauty manifests itself in the everyday and in the extraordinary… to me, that means that creativity is never far away.

~ ~ ~

That’s not to say that creativity can be taken for granted.

Creativity can disappear on a whim… feel neglected and offer up the cold shoulder.

Creativity can be equally as elusive and as magical as a rainbow.

Like all rewards, creativity requires work. I don’t believe that it can flourish unaided. Creativity deserves and demands respect…

~ ~ ~

If beauty is my catalyst then I must have my eyes wide open, I must truly see and observe my surroundings… and I must travel through life with an open mind.

What are your secrets, your triggers to creativity? xv


To read more about creativity visit here… It’s a subject for conversation today…

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Heather in Arles

Your writing has been even more engaging than ever lately – I didn’t think that possible! But you give me much to think on…especially on this subject dear to my heart. I love in Francine’s post that she used the word “curiousity” and that most certainly applies to you with your interests in…everything! I used the word “generosity” and that most certainly applies to you too…

We are both also so very fortunate to be able to spend time in Provence where fuel for the creative fire is positively everywhere…

Anita Rivera

I’m with you, Vicki. Beauty triggers an idea, and recently, that which is NOT typically beautiful triggers creativity even more. Because I believe that being creative is the balm and hope for a world that makes war on both a grand and smaller scale. Creativity is to be reckoned with if we are to use it to build, even if it’s to inspire a good idea in a passive observer. I cannot live happily without at least trying to MAKE something, whether with words or a gift made from paper…..

Thank you for always having the conversation! Anita

Linda B.

Vicki, I think you have expressed my own thoughts about creativity and beauty in many of the same words I use. I also love the comments added above mine, and agree with them.

Creativity is lifeblood. If we stop being creative, we are so deadened! In my life, I try to celebrate every creative act, from making artwork to cooking dinner to putting on just the right, interesting mix of clothes for the day or choosing just the right shade of lipstick. Most of my creativity is bound up in my work–teaching. I became a teacher many years ago because I realized that working with young people gave me the opportunity to be creative nearly every moment I was interacting with my students. When a lesson is going well, it feels the same on a soul level as when I am drawing or painting. Perhaps this is because I need to be completely present NOW, in the most human, creative way possible.


So much to say about creativity – I’ll try to keep it brief but creativity requires a story and then involves expression, emotion and grace.

When I was a young girl, I would lose myself in creating, sewing, designing, baking, writing and it was the fuel to my identity and would soften any sort of hurt of suffering around me.
When my Grandmother Elsie passed away, I remember everyone around me being so sad, I was only a few years old. She kept a shoe box lid in her dining room buffet full of crayons and that old yellow manilla paper along with Hershey’s chocolate bars. I knew where to go to keep myself busy while my mother and Grandmother would drink coffee and talk. Lost in the waxy scent of crayola, blank paper and the aroma of chocolate – I felt like Alice down the rabbit hole….I would create pictures and then I would get praise or be told how “talented” I was and still to this day it seems to be my drive. When you work at something you create and you can lose yourself, time has no clock and the mere act or one’s craft takes over. I do think the people around us can influence or encourage one’s creativity. I owe a lot to my Mother who inspired me to keep busy and never be bored. I would also admire my other Grandmother Elizabeth who raised 9 children, she would bake, cook, can, garden and kept her home very tidy – a bit too sterile for my Mother’s taste but her home was a place of devout faith, order and “always enough” to share. She was tough and old school in many ways – she worked up until 93 years of age. Her Germanic ways showed in her strength and hard work.

Finding creativity for me does require a bit of order and discipline.

I can look at something ugly and find beauty or it can be the conduit to my creativity. I don’t think creativity requires beauty. Don’t get me wrong, beauty is nice. I love beautiful things. For me chaos, discord, or emotions can cause me to create. I can be upset by an unsolvable problem and then the act of creating can somehow restore order. My desire to create something to bring about happiness, order, smiles is sort of like baking a pie. So many variables in order to get the consistency of the dough just right, the butter needs to be cold, the dough does not like to be overworked and then the filling requires a bit of creativity. The oven temperature, the humidity and all things – working with what you’ve got to create something.

It takes work, order, commitment to create for a living but when there is praise, recognition and pay, then it’s life’s best reward.

Susan Sugar

I could not agree more. Creativity can flow with a simple look in the right direction. The I have those moments when I am truly stuck. That’s when I know I need some fresh air and a good nap.

Thank you for brightening my days with French Essence. xo

Ivy Lane

Beautiful post Vicki! When I need a creative “jolt”, I either head down for a run in the park, travel across town to the Cleveland Museum of Art, or shop at the West Side Market. Nature, art and food really get my creative juices flowing. :)
I love interior design and fashion and it amazes me how all these things relate….


This BIO posting, my last as it turns out, has been an eye-opener for me. I have such an emotional relationship to the idea of creativity. A love-hate one. Very complex. Lots of food for thought, and also maybe needing to give myself a little quiet space.

D. A. Wolf

Creativity as a source of both joy and hindrance… That couldn’t be more true!

And if not nurtured, it does indeed give us the cold shoulder.

I am often amazed when I see the natural creativity in children, and wonder how it is that we squelch it by the time they’re teenagers. Creativity is to be cherished and fed, not squandered.

And like the others, I think the sculpture is gorgeous!


Your words today are very poignant and touching, Vicki..even more so because you are writing about this ‘gift’ of ours which is creativity.
Im very lucky to work in the creative world, in interior and floral design..and find huge inspiration through many forms..Paris is one, furnishings, flowers, art, gardens, classical architecture, the list endless
But it really is true that you say , we must not take our creativity for granted but embrace and nurture it each day. I think it is important to create also for one’s self..as well as for others

I don’t know how to thank you, but I do so from my heart for I only found you through pictures of your garden one day last year. It is truly one of the most exquisite gardens, and home I have ever seen, and you have been a joy and inspiration to me ever since..


An interesting and thought provoking post yet again Vicki! Yes, our creativity must be nurtured, but I need it to nurture me! I have always been very creative, I have sewn my own clothes since I was a little girl, always changing the design and not following everyone else’s example of the same garment. Becoming a Florist later in life allowed me freedom to express my creativity in another way. It was at a time when I NEEDED a new creative direction, and so it nurtured me! I find inspiration in all things, beautiful or ugly, and the most unexpected inspires me to create something. Constantly looking, being open minded and never dismissing an opportunity or ‘pigeonholing’ a thing or person or event keeps me creative. I need to stay creative to stay alive!

Suzanne de Cornelia

Thank you for this big beautiful topic so gorgeously expressed, and one close to my heart. The universe is creative and I’ve always defined myself as creative in a spiritual sense. Three women fed this in me from a young age.

Waiting eagerly for that first glimpse of my grandmother emerging from the train for her annual visit when I was very young. Then there she was with a sensation of glamour. That smart hat, the tiny slim figure. The impeccable outfit, gloves, the scent of gorgeous perfume, enchanting gold charm bracelets. With her came the comprehension of how a person can be a riveting walking wordless story that lasts in memory.

My beautiful mother, everything she did was such perfection. She was trained by French nuns and had that quiet focused attention and sense of assurance in everything she undertook with often deliberately understated results.

Dear Sister Cabrini, my high school art teacher. I loved and admired her. A joyous, beaming life-affirming spirit. She said, “Everything you do, if it’s wrapping a present, or setting the table do it to your most beautiful upmost and it will add up to a beautiful life.”

I’ve always believed that my defining trait is creativity and it’s allowed me to do many things I otherwise wouldn’t try. And to be satisfied with results if they are the best I can produce with current abilities and resources, knowing both can grow with effort in time.


You are so right to say that everyone is creative Vicki ……. we all have that creative streak and it can come out in so many different ways. It is personal to everyone and should never be criticised either. Things of creativity and beauty are different to each and every one of us .
….. and, absolutely love that photograph of Musée Carnavalet …. beautiful. XXXX

Peggy Braswell

creativity is a gift from God + everyone has it + making a dinner or a flower arrangement + I love that everyone has it! xxpeggybraswelldesign.com

Virginia Blue

You know I have been thinking long and hard about the difference between “inspiration” and “creativity” as part of the thought process of this task which Marsha set us.

And I think that perhaps your observation that “creativity is never predictable” is possibly the key to the difference between them. Inspiration IS predictable…we are all inspired by beautiful things, yahdy yah….it is predictable that seeing something beautiful will inspire somebody to recreate it….but creativity, yes, I think it has more of a life force of it’s own…that unpredictability of which you speak…which leads chemists to randomly think of a new formula, or an engineer to think of a new engine…none of these outcomes are predictable.


I agree with Peggy I feel creativity is a gift which I think my son has! He’s a visual artist and his work always amazes me as does other artists, he’s fortunate enough to have a piece showing in the Melbourne Now Exhibition entitled Don’t Worry. The creativity of artists in this exhibition in Melbourne Australia is outstanding.


for me, creativity comes from within. it’s a stirring demanding to be acknowledged and expressed. i haven’t lived a day on earth without it and cannot imagine approaching any of life’s questions or conflicts without its help for resolution!



Your thoughts and words are poetic. I have to rely on the words of another. This quote is from James Webb Young’s 1939 guide to producing ideas and the relationship between curiosity and creativity.

Every really good creative person whom I have ever known has always had two noticeable characteristics. First, there was no subject under the sun in which he could not easily get interested – from, say, Egyptian burial customs to modern art. Every facet of life had fascination for him. Second, he was an extensive browser in all sorts of fields of information. For it is with the [creative] man as with the cow: no browsing, no milk.

Marsha @ Splenderosa

Vicki, maybe this is the best topic for discussion we’ve ever had with so many commenters really delving into the subject. Which means everyone enjoyed this so very much. Your post is beautiful and I am so late to visit. The good part of this for me is that I had an opportunity to read all the comments. Yes.

helen tilston

Dear Vicki
This is a subject very close to my heart. To be creative I feel one must be quiet, observe with eyes open. Inspiration can come from seeing a beautiful dress in a store window to walking along the seashore and observing the pattern of waves, to listening to the song birds and walking through a garden.
There are just not enough hours in the day.
Have a wonderful week in Provence
Helen xx


What a beautiful post! I like to remind myself to be as present as possible and notice things around me. Take a quick photo of anything that makes me smile during the day so I remember these things which fuel my creativity.

Clare x

Colleen Taylor

Vicki, I can not shut my creativity off eve if I tried. You see, I am am artist and I paint for a living, always have, always will. It has been my saving grace through throughout my life. I love what I do with great passion. To me, creativity is everywhere I look. It can be a burden at times since my brain does not always know how to shut off. Beautiful post!


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