Do you get your best ideas in the shower? What about on walks or in nature? Hi, my name is Carrie and here on Artist Strong I help artists like you build your skill and develop your unique artist voice. Today we dig into two strategies from the book The Happiness Track you can use to uncover new ideas for your art.


In the book The Happiness Track by Emma Seppälä she talks about research which uncovered the best “idea” times of the day. And guess what: it’s not the same for everyone.

Surprisingly, if you are a morning person, your ideas likely come more quickly at night.

If you are a night-owl, your idea time is right when you wake up.

These groggy, quiet times give your brain a chance to relax and play with thoughts in a more non-linear way.

Seppala even shares a story about Salvador Dali. Apparently he liked to hold a coin above a metal tray as he fell asleep. The idea was as he fell asleep he would drop the coin. It would startle him awake and he could then take notes of the different ideas and visuals that came to him during this in-between time of awake and asleep.

Personally, I’ve been taking advantage of this research without even realizing it existed: I’ve always found my brain full of ideas just as I’m about to fall asleep.

There were times when I once wrote poetry and would have entire poems formed during this time. For that reason, I always keep a journal by my bedside so I can write down the dozens of ideas that come my way during what I like to call the in-between.

Have you tried taking advantage of that time period of just between awake and asleep? Share your experience in the comments below.

Now let’s discuss the second way to find strong ideas for your art. I’m pretty sure this isn’t the kind of strategy you expect to hear today either. Seppälä’s research also uncovered a lot of information around self-compassion.

I have to say that in my decades of working alongside and with different artists we seem to be very lacking in this self-compassion department, which I believe to be the root of any and all creative block.

Instead of giving ourselves a break or showing kindness to ourselves when we feel stuck, many artists start to panic and fear their creative well has run dry.

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Working harder and forcing things does NOT foster creativity (which is the premise of Emma Seppälä’s book). And since so many of us consider self-compassion a luxury, she shared the many, many benefits uncovered in her research. They include:

  • Greater psychological well being
  • Less anxiety, depression, and stress
  • More happiness, optimism, curiosity, creativity and positive emotions
  • Better health
  • Lower cellular inflammation in response to stress
  • Reduced cortisol
  • Increased heart rate variability
  • Improved professional and personal skills
  • Stronger motivation
  • Better relationships
  • Reduced fear of failure and willingness to try again
  • Enhanced willpower
  • And greater perception and reduced tendency to become overwhelmed during times of struggle

So the next time you start to think your creative well has run dry, perhaps it’s actually your well of self-compassion. Ask yourself what you can do to show yourself some kindness.

If today’s strategies resonate with you and you want to learn more about Emma Seppälä’s book The Happiness Track please consider investing in this book through my affiliate link below this video, which will help me continue to create free content like this for you.

I’d like you to take action today. What is one way you can show yourself a wee bit more self-compassion when you feel stuck in your art? Share a specific activity or action in the comments below, then be sure to share this video with any artist friends you know who could use this message today.

If you haven’t already taken Artist Strong’s archetype quiz, understanding your archetype can help you create better, stronger ideas for your art.

Uncover your artist archetype and get all kinds of free resources tailored to your unique situation as a creative by taking the free quiz today. Click on the link below to get started.

Thanks for watching and I’ll see you next week!