Jennifer Syme Cramped Creative - Creative habit
My guest today is Jennifer Syme also known as The Cramped Creative. She’s a writer and creative who runs a website encouraging others to find their creativity and build their creative habit. In this episode we discuss her book Freeing Your Inner Creativity and online course Find Your Creative Freedom, as well as the strategies she teaches people to help them build a creative habit. Jennifer also shares her tips for generating and keeping track of ideas, and her favourite resources for the creative person.

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What you will learn in this episode:

  • Practical prompts for developing creative habits
  • How to deal with gremlins
  • Tips for generating and keeping track of ideas
  • Jennifer’s favourite creative tools and resources

Practical Creative Prompts to Build a Creative Habit

inner creativity book - creative habitGo outside and draw or take a photograph of something in nature that inspires you, and using that picture come back inside and do something creative with it.Try different creative things that you haven’t tried. If you’re a writer try drawing or vice versa!

It doesn’t matter if you’re any good at it. Take the pressure off of being any good because that idea that they need to be good at something is what holds people back. It’s all just about having a go and seeing where you end up with it.

Get outside to get inspiration flowing again. Get into fresh air, be quite active. Do something mindless but active, e.g. weeding the garden, cleaning the bath. There is science behind mundane tasks leading to creativity.

On Gremlins

Everybody has gremlins, but some of those prompts (e.g. draw with your non-dominant hand) are to help get over those gremlins.

The gremlin is the inner voice that says ‘you can’t do this’. The trick to getting you past that is by doing small things. Doing something different comes in there as well. Jennifer says as a writer she wants to write, but if she decided to draw or take a photograph the gremlin ignores that because it’s not something that it sees as a threat.


Jennifer’s ideas come mainly from life. She often imagines the ‘what if’s in the mundane.

For others seeking to generate ideas, Jennifer says, “Keep your eyes and ears open and let your mind play with those ideas. Giving yourself the time and space to do that is key.”

Jennifer suggests also deliberately unplugging from all the distractions so you can really look or listen in to what’s happening around you. So often nobody’s paying attention and that stifles creativity. “Look for inspiration rather than sitting wishing the bus would come.”

For keeping track of ideas, although she does use a notebook she doesn’t write in it very much. Mostly Jennifer uses EverNote on her phone as it captures so much more than a notebook and also syncs easily with the computer. This is important because the tags make it much easier to find later on.

Creative tools and resources

With a self-confessed stationery fetish Jennifer has a lot of notebooks and nice pens. She also uses a couple of apps frequently: Scrivener and Ulysses.

Jennifer’s recommended books are On Writing by Stephen King and The War of Art by Stephen Pressfield.

Courses she has found useful were the Strathclyde University Online Writing Course and an in person Urban Writers Retreat called The Writer’s Playground.

If you want to learn more about Jennifer Symes you can find her at  on Instagram and Facebook