What supports Creative Joy…and what gets in the way

Yes, I am fond of Pink Pegboard.

Creative Joy Found in Pink Pegboard! Spotted at: Half & Half Cafe, Porland, Oregon USA


This week, I’ve been invited by the Creative Joy Team (that’s Susannah Conway, Marianne Elliott, and Jen Louden) to help them ignite a delightful explosion of creative joy.

The Creative Joy Team wants to refresh and renew our own connection to what gives us creative joy, to inspire you to reconnect to what lights your creative fire, and support thousands of others to find their own path to creative joy.

It was really rewarding to reflect on this. Each of these questions could be used as a quick writing prompt.

Here’s my take on creative joy:

1. What is creative joy for you?

  • Writing in Cafes around the world (recently noticed that most of my self-portraits are taken in cafes with my journal and black coffee)
  • Reveling in ordinary moments
  • Making my own sketchbooks out of discarded, recycled materials
  • A full sketchbook, brimming with ideas and learnings, plans and inspirations
  • Tea, coffee and deep conversation with kindred friends, even if we have to use Skype to get together
  • Going to galleries and seeing what other artists are working on
  • Reading books by other creative entrepreneurs who are contributing to the love + work = joy equation
  • Receiving love letters from clients
  • Supporting others in finding and living their creative dreams
  • Knowing my work makes a difference to people
  • Deep rest
  • Legs up the wall yoga pose
  • Making a Visual Strategic Plan for my business
  • Global travel off the beaten path
  • Layers of paint peeling on centuries old adobe walls
  • Expat life, being “the other”, being the foreigner
  • Anticipating the next adventure
  • Traveling light
  • Green smoothies
  • Living in small spaces with very little stuff

In short (or long), I could keep going and going on this list. There is so much that brings me creative joy.

As my friend and fellow artist Sas Colby said to me years ago and I have taken her literally:

“Know what turns you on, so you can have lots of it in your life.”

2. What did it look like this week?

  • Reveling in the monsoon rainstorms here in Oaxaca, Mexico
  • Photographing street art on crumbling colonial buildings
  • Discovering an organic farmer’s market close to my new apartment
  • Receiving emails from readers of my book and Sketchbooks that bring tears to my eyes with their trust and vulnerability
  • Getting a chance to connect and share with these wise women on the Creative Joy Team – heartfelt gratitude for inviting me!

3. What gets in the way for you?

  • Getting sick always seems to derail me. I haven’t yet learned how to really dive into rest when sick, I tend to obsess about all I’m not doing
  • Obsessing about all I’m not doing and not appreciating all I have already done
  • Eating too much sugar or wheat
  • Not enough sleep
  • Not enough alone time
  • Too much time spent on admin stuff
  • Working really long hours without a break
  • Getting hung up on technology snafus, like when I don’t have reliable a Internet connection
  • Dare I admit: Procrastinating by watching yet another mind-numbing episode of any Kardashian “reality” show

4. What feeds your creative joy?

  • Quiet
  • Endless cups of tea
  • Remembering what the precious mixture is that makes me well – props to Rumi!
  • Reading memoirs
  • Soaking up poetry like soul food
  • In-person art dates with creative souls
  • A fresh stack of magazines and a glue stick – treasure hunting for images for my sketchbooks
  • Taking a long walk with my camera and seeing the world through a “tourist” frame of mind, wherever I am
  • Daily creative practice

…As I write my answer to What Feeds my Creative Joy, I realize that this list could be a repetition of what Creative Joy means to me.

In other words, I get creative joy by allowing in all that feeds my creative joy. A very positive feedback loop.

How about you?

I’d love to hear your riffs on these questions. Please feel free to share in the comments.

The Creative Joy Team is hosting a retreat on Creative Joy near Manhattan this June that looks divine.What an incredible opportunity to study with three generous teaches all at once!

They have also put together an absolutely luscious, interactive, and highly inspiring Creative Joy Journal and Playbook. You can get your free copy using the link below (no sign up needed — please share widely!)


Susannah prepared a lovely mix tape with her post on creative joy to go along with the workbook.

You can read Jen’s riff on creative joy here, and Marianne’s here.

What a wonderful project! I am looking forward to an art date in my studio tonite with the Creative Joy Journal and Playbook…


  1. A few good things: Spreading creative joy | Marianne Elliott - April 21, 2012

    […] Lisa Sonora Beam finds creative joy’s positive feedback loop ‘I get creative joy by allowing in all that feeds my creative joy’ […]

Leave a Reply