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I recently finished watching Maniac on Netflix and I was left wondering how in the world people come up with this stuff.
Movie plots with twists and turns and television series that clearly have so much research behind them in addition to someone’s incredible imagination–it’s mind blowing.
When it comes to creativity–whether it’s creative writing or doing some type of art– I suck. I actually suck. I do not consider myself to be creative even kinda sorta.
But, it turns out we all have some type of creativity inside of us, and it’s actually a really important component to our development, as it encompasses doing things that are both meaningful and fulfilling.
In this article, we are going to look at 21 examples of creative hobbies that you can pick up to make something great. But first, let’s look a bit deeper into what creativity is and why it is so beneficial to our lives.
What Does It Mean to Be Creative?
When we think about being “creative,” we often think about making art of some kind or coming up with something that has never been done before–writing a story, designing choreography, etc. But creativity is so much more than that. It’s about doing things that couple invention with logic to make something meaningful.
This could mean inputting information into a spreadsheet or making a code for a computer program. The root of the word literally means to make something grow, so the opportunities for being creative are limitless. Some of the results of creativity in this world are actually some of the most significant advancements of civilization, such as the invention of the wheel and the creation of our modern-day language.
Creativity is what leads to innovation. Without it, you wouldn’t have the computer or smartphone that you’re using right now or really any other modern-day conveniences that have had a significant impact on how we function as a society today.
But let’s back up for a second because creativity doesn’t always have to be something earth-shattering. We are creative as soon as we’re born–as infants, we find new ways to navigate through life and around obstacles and use our experiences as opportunities to learn. Our creative minds expand our knowledge and give us new ways to solve problems, which is one of the reasons why being creative on a regular basis is so important.
Secondly, as a leading theorist in happiness, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi explains that being creative is one of the principle sources of adding meaning to our lives because the things that we tend to find interesting and important are usually the result of someone’s creativity. He further explains that when people engage in creativity, they feel a deeper sense of meaning than they do in everyday life and it can lead to a more fulfilling existence.
So, without further ado, let’s look at some of the best hobbies to pick up if you want to boost your creativity or you need an outlet for inspiration.
21 Creative Hobbies to Make Something Great
Whether you intend to publish a book or not, doing some creative writing is a great hobby to pick up because it lets you express your own perspective without any limitations. You have an opportunity to explore topics and characters and create an entirely new work of fiction starting with a blank slate. Writing fiction allows you to discover and unveil any type of characters, settings, locations, and storylines you can imagine.
While many question the benefits of creative writing, claiming it’s frivolous as it’s simply a matter of making up worlds and stories, there are actually a lot of benefits to having this hobby. When you write, you’re stimulating your imagination and pushing your ideas outside of the box, allowing you to refocus your energy from your everyday life and become a better problem-solver as you learn to think in alternative ways. Whether you’re a chemist or a salesman, creative writing will give you the creativity boost you need to think in innovative ways and push your current boundaries.
Resource: This book, The Emotional Craft of Fiction: How to Write the Story Beneath the Surface, will help you turn your story into a visceral and emotional experience for your readers.
As evidenced by an increase in pottery classes and the number of creations that people post on social media, pottery has become especially popular over the past few years. One reason this may be true is because pottery is a hobby that is both creative and sustainable, which has become a hot topic in our wasteful era. Doing pottery requires concentration, accuracy, and patience, as one wrong move could ruin your work, bringing you back to step one.
But doing pottery forces you to be creative as you shape your ceramic in a unique way, and even more so once it’s time to paint your creation. Working on pottery requires you to focus solely on your creation and your next move, and ends with a tangible item that can be functional in your life–such as a vase or a bowl. The creativity options are limitless.
Resource: Here are the best places to take ceramics classes around the U.S.
3. Collage Art
Do you ever feel like your art isn't quite as engaging or unique as you want? Sometimes you need to take a break to explore alternative methods of art that could potentially inspire ideas for new work, and one way to get your creative wheels into gear is to create a collage.
This method of art is one of the easiest and most approachable ways to boost your imagination, whether you’re experiencing a creative block, want to explore something new, or you just want some innovative ideas for a piece you already have in mind.
The history of collages may be inspiring in itself, as collages were originally made famous in the early 1900s by artists such as Pablo Picasso, who started to glue bits of paper and other items on his paintings. This movement changed the course of abstract art by coupling real-world materials with traditional art, which welcomed any onlookers to come to their own conclusions about the meaning of the piece.
Making collages allows for an astounding range of creativity because you can use a variety of mediums and materials. Plus, one of the really good things about making a collage is that you probably have everything you need already at home, so you may not need to buy a thing.
Just grab some paper and some type of adhesive and gather materials to create a piece of art on a flat surface. Some items that people commonly use are:
Making collages is inexpensive and usually leads to a positive result that you can use to progress your artistic talent. You’ve created this unique and expressive piece of art based on your own ideas and the connections that you’ve made in your mind, which no one has come up with before.
Resource: Here is an instructional YouTube video on how to make a collage.
Think of the endless things you can do with your voice and the type of creativity you can use to either put your own spin on an existing song or even write a song yourself. Even if you don’t feel like you’re necessarily the best singer (you can learn how, though), singing gives you an opportunity to really express yourself in a very unique way.
You can express all your emotions in the moment by freely singing. This allows you to use your creativity to naturally express anything you want. And, whether or not you choose to perform, singing will give you an opportunity to connect with the meaning of the lyrics, in addition to the character that’s exemplified within the song.
As a singer, you can take on the persona of the music and consider the emotions behind the piece. Doing this gives you a unique insight into how other people may have viewed the world at the time of writing the song, which is a valuable element of creativity.
Resource: Here is the complete guide to singing better.
5. Bullet Journaling
If you’re interested in bullet journaling, you’ve probably checked out some of the amazing creations people have come up with on Pinterest. For those of you who are unfamiliar with this trend, bullet journaling is a method of personal organization that helps you keep your schedule, to-do list, ideas, goals, and other organizational notes all in one place.
This personally customizable planner helps you stay organized and boosts your creativity at the same time. There is absolutely no right or wrong way to create a bullet journal, but no matter what, it can be home to all of your ideas and start you on a creative path that you can continue to expand upon as frequently as you want. You can watch your ideas evolve over time–and if you notice something starting to go in a direction you don’t like, you can always back up a bit.
People often make their bullet journals creative and personal by practicing different hand lettering styles by “drawing” letters rather than just writing them. This doesn’t mean that you need to be an expert in calligraphy, but focusing on the curves and lines of letters and how they work together to create a visual word is a type of art that many bullet journalers really enjoy doing.
As the pages of your bullet journal begin to fill up, you’ll notice your progress on your goals and you’ll have a collection of inspiration through the sketches and ideas you’ve written down. Bullet journaling not only offers an immediate creative outlet, it also encourages long-term creative thinking. All you need to get started is a notebook and some colored writing implements!
Resource: Here are some suggestions for the best bullet journals on the market today, and here is a list of supplies you may want to consider having on hand.
Scrapbooking is a popular hobby for creative adults, as it’s a fun and crafty way to keep a tangible collection of your memories with photos, ticket stubs, and other meaningful memorabilia. And, aside from giving you a creative outlet, it will also let you tidy up some of those drawers where you’ve stashed away things that you don’t want to get rid of but don’t really have a place for.
The process of scrapbooking will allow you to reflect on your past and feel thankful for your positive experiences. Taking the time to put your memories together in a creative way will give you a chance to relive those happy emotions as well. Scrapbooking is dually beneficial as you get to be creative while also making some meaningful family albums to be admired for generations to come.
Resource: Check out this beginner’s scrapbooking tutorial.
7. Draw In an Adult Coloring Book
Not only is drawing in these coloring books cathartic, it also gives you an opportunity to be creative with a bit of a guide. Choosing your colors and seeing your pictures come to life is a great way to focus while also expressing your creativity.
Working through a coloring book lets you express yourself in a unique way because you can experiment all you want, which will give you a healthy mental boost. As you may imagine, looking at different colors activates your brain in a variety of ways. In fact, studies have specifically shown that looking at green and blue both have significant impacts on boosting creativity and encouraging new perspectives.
Resource: Here are some suggestions for some great coloring books.
Woodworking is a great creative hobby because it lets you design something that you can actually use–and you could even make some money on the side with this hobby. A few years ago, I designed my own dining room table and then had it made by a woodworker–and as it turned out, he told me he makes a lot of furniture for the restaurants around town and makes a very good living off of it.
Of course, this could also be a “once in a while” hobby or something that you want to learn how to do to create one big piece for yourself. While you’re being creative in the woodworking process, you’re also able to put aside anything that’s on in your mind and focus solely on the craft at hand. And this isn’t just because you don’t want to lose a finger–it’s also so you don’t make a mistake that sets you back to the beginning. Woodworking forces you to take your time and concentrate.
If you do decide to sell some of your work, it will be rewarding to know that someone else respects your craft so much that they want to put it in their home. Furthermore, if people come to you with specific ideas in mind that you haven’t done before, it may spark your creativity even more.
Resource: Here is YouTube’s total beginner’s guide to woodworking.
9. Play Dungeons & Dragons
This multiplayer role-playing game puts your imagination to good use. If you’ve never played before, this video explains the rules of the game.
If you’ve ever enjoyed getting lost in a book or watching a great movie, you’ve probably been able to become so entrenched in someone else's story that it actually makes you feel something.
The thing with Dungeons and Dragons though is that you’re playing out your own story. You create your character and you’re in charge of what you look like, what your history is, how you act, and everything else about yourself.
You let your story play out through the game, explaining both why and how things happen in your character’s life, which permits you to be whomever or whatever you want. D&D only involves your creative mind (and the minds of the other players) to make decisions and improv your way through a story.
Unlike in video games, the graphics here exist only in your imagination–and everyone at the table may be imagining the story differently. Because of this, the game will never become outdated like the graphics of other games can. The possibilities are endless and your creativity is what makes this game interesting–and for many people, quite addicting.
Resource: If you want, you can start by playing D&D online.
Knitting is one of the coziest indoor hobbies you can take up. Not only does knitting invite creativity, it can also be very relaxing. Use your artistry to select various colors and types of yarn to design and create clothing, blankets, gifts, and more. There are a ton of benefits to knitting aside from just being able to design your own clothes, including:
Plus, the process can be exciting as you explore the possibilities of what you can create using only your hands. Look through knitting materials to find what colors or styles interest or inspire you, and gather your vision from your unique lifestyle, focusing on things that excite you and make you happy.
As you gain experience with the various types of yarns and fibers you can use, you will become more attuned to your own knitting creativity.
Resource: Here is a New York Times article on how to start knitting and learn to love it.
11. Screen Printing
Digital technology has revolutionized graphic art with new techniques that enhance creativity in ways people probably never imagined possible. But despite the influence that digital technology has on today’s graphic design, we shouldn’t forget the traditional process of screen printing. While new approaches to printing continue to emerge, screen printing is still among the most reliable methods and practicing it as a creative hobby has several advantages.
Screen printing results in unique creations when compared to digital printing because the ink is deeply absorbed, making it both long-lasting and vibrant in color. In the process of screen printing, a mesh material is tightly stretched over a frame where ink is then rolled over a design and set aside to dry. You can be creative in choosing your materials and colors to create whatever type of project you want.
This technique is versatile in that you can use a wide variety of materials (such as fabric, glass, vinyl, foam board, metal, etc.) to decorate all types of projects like posters, t-shirts, mugs, and banners. The ink is durable, so anything that you create can last for several years without fading.
Resource: Here is a YouTube video on the basics of screen printing.
12. Create a Vision Board
If you really want to let your creativity soar, making a vision board is the perfect hobby to pick up. Not only does this let you express your artistic creativity, it also lets you be creative when thinking about your future.
When you’re designing your vision board, you’re creating your life using whatever materials you want, from markers and magazine cut-outs to glitter and stickers. You can follow a template or just do whatever feels right for you. There is no right or wrong way to create a vision board.
Plus, your vision board can (and should) be an ongoing project. As your life progresses and your dreams for the future change, you can add to your board or start from scratch. This gives you room for limitless creativity.
Resource: If you want less mess, you can create a vision board online.
13. Create a Blog
Creating a blog can give you an ultimate creative outlet because it’s a true source of self-expression. Whatever you choose to write about on your blog directly reflects your thoughts and represents you as an individual. You can focus your blog on whatever you want, whether it’s meant to teach other people about something that you’re passionate about or you want to use it as a platform to inspire people.
You can build your site from scratch and it will always be a work in progress. Your blog will give you endless opportunities to express your creativity through your content–but as a blogger, you’re also a photographer, innovator, and graphic designer. You have to continuously come up with creative ideas for posts, take any relevant pictures that you want to add to your text, design graphics, and come up with methods of promoting your blog in order to gather a following. And–another important part–you have to come up with a creative and memorable logo to make your blog stand out.
Resource: Here is a six-step guide to starting your blog.
14. Scale Modeling
If you are detail-oriented, meticulous, and creative, this might be a great hobby for you. Scale modeling involves constructing a replica of an object or scene on a very small scale, such as a dollhouse, model trains, or Christmas villages.
People who have adopted this craft have really created a community around it, regardless of their personal appeal to the miniature world. There are many who simply have a passion for design, but don’t want to always have to make the real-life commitment. Yet others enjoy the immediate gratification of creating an entire DIY house. Some even find the most satisfaction in the collection aspect and finding unique items to add to whatever type of model they’re making.
To understand this hobby a bit better, check out this blog, created by Christine Ferrara, who has been featured in the New York Times and on Oprah.
Resource: Here are 350+ ideas for DIY dollhouses.
15. Cake Decorating
Baking cakes is a creative hobby in itself, but adding in the decoration aspect brings it to a whole new level. Decorating cakes is imaginative, enjoyable, and it gives you the opportunity to share your creations with people by passing along something everyone loves–cake! Also, since it’s often the centerpiece of parties, you can really make someone feel special by creating a cake that’s tailored to them in a specific way.
There are several elements involved in decorating cakes, including tools, baking skills, and the ability to create edible decor and frosting to make the cake look memorable. This hobby can also be considered a technical activity that is a good creative outlet, and many find it to be enjoyable. In fact, “edible arts” is the 2nd most popular hobby in the U.S., with 34% of people saying this is a hobby they have had in the past year.
With the availability of all types of cake decorating tools in stores and online such as pre-made decorations, turntables, piping kits, and molds–plus easy access to online tutorials, it’s easy to see why decorating cakes is a popular creative hobby.
Resource: Here is a beginner’s tutorial on YouTube to decorating a cake.
This is a hobby you can take up alone or with a partner– or both! Find a local dance school or community center that offers lessons, or go online to either find a class or just watch some tutorials. You don’t have to end up on Dancing With the Stars, you just need to be comfortable enough to have fun doing it.
Some people find physical movement to be the easiest way to express themselves, and if you’ve never tried to be creative in this way, you may realize that this has been the outlet that you’ve needed all along. It involves less of a commitment than writing or some other hobbies and can inspire a new sense of creativity that you’ve never explored before.
Sometimes it can be difficult to get into a hobby like this without some prompting, so putting yourself on some type of schedule for practicing or even just regularly going out to a club where there is a lot of dancing can help you make this hobby into a regular activity that’s creative and healthy (because you will be getting some exercise).
Resource: Here is a website that offers over 600 dance classes that you can do at home.
17. Grow a Flower Garden
By maintaining a flower garden, your yard can look like it's professionally tended to and you can have access to fresh flowers any time they’re in season. Use your creativity (and some research) to design your garden so you have the right flowers in the right places for optimal growth and to create the design that you’re going for.
Gardening is also a good form of exercise and it can be very rewarding as you watch your little buds bloom into colorful flowers. This is also a good activity that you can get your children involved with so they can get their creative juices flowing as well.
Resource: Here are some flowers that are easy to grow and don’t need a whole lot of upkeep.
Which leads me to…
18. Flower Arranging
Once your garden is in bloom, you should make good use of your flowers in addition to allowing them to light up your yard. Are there many things that could be more rewarding than clipping colorful flowers and unique foliages from your own yards to create a masterpiece?
Combining creativity with a love for nature, flower arranging is a calming and relaxing hobby that can help bring you closer to your natural environment. By picking out complementing colors and shapes from your own yard, you can either create arrangements for your home or you can make flower arrangements for friends and family as gifts to brighten up their environments.
Resource: Here is a crash course in flower arranging.
Photography gives you the ability to freeze time and make precious moments last forever. It also helps you take a creative look at the world around you to find small things that inspire you or things that you just find to be beautiful.
As a photographer, you can always look for unique angles and creative ways to view your subjects. Plus, it’s a practical hobby in that you can get feedback right away by viewing your digital images and adjusting your shot as needed to capture that perfect image. You can then share your photography with friends and family, whether it’s to detail a recent trip you went on or just to show some small things around the city that you’ve captured in unique ways.
Resource: Here is a TED talk explaining how photography can be used to connect people. | Learn how to take good photographs.
Do you ever dream of being on stage?
It’s ok if the answer is a resounding no.
Theatre has influenced many people's lives, allowing creativity to flourish and the development of a means of self-expression. While participating in theater, you can benefit not only by exploring your ability to act and perform, but also by getting rid of any preconceived notions or anxieties associated with performing for others.
Theater can influence all aspects of your life by stimulating your creativity and thought processes, making you more aware of various issues, and empowering you to express yourself. You may need to get out of your comfort zone, but it will improve your self-confidence. Finally, as you learn about theater, you will learn more about arts and culture, which will help bring out your creativity.
Resource: Check out this video that explains how you can be a good theater actor.
21. Make Videos
Making videos has become very popular in our age of social media and easy access to smartphones. You can learn more about video production by taking an official class, but many choose to start by creating a YouTube channel or sharing video content online through social media.
Use your creativity to come up with your content–whether you’re making more technical “how to” videos or you’re just being creative and silly in your videos for your followers. This is another thing that you can make completely unique and personal to your own interests and personality.
Resource: Here is a YouTube video on… making YouTube videos!
Final Thoughts on Creative Hobbies
There are a lot of benefits to taking up creative hobbies–and in fact, one study showed that 88% of people agree that completing a creative project brings them a sense of joy. Any of the hobbies in this article can help you cope with stress, create more structure in your day, and help your creative juices flow better in other areas of your life.
Pick the most interesting option you see that fits in with your budget and the amount of time you have available to dedicate to your new venture. Then let your imagination go and start thinking outside of the box.
If you're looking for more hobby ideas, here are some productive hobbies, hobbies for people with anxiety, for seniors, for men, for women, and for couples.
Connie Mathers is a professional editor and freelance writer. She holds a Bachelor's Degree in Marketing and a Master’s Degree in Social Work. When she is not writing, Connie is either spending time with her daughter and two dogs, running, or working at her full-time job as a social worker in Richmond, VA.