My journey to create a platform to inspire people to make time for creative expression through simple, daily prompts
1. “I used to [write/draw/play guitar/etc.], but I just don’t make time for it anymore.”
2. “I really don’t have any creative hobbies — I’ve always wanted to try [writing/drawing/playing guitar/etc.], but I’ve been too intimidated to start.”
1. I was lacking a discrete creative sparkto turn my desire into action—each time I’d tried writing since college, I ended up staring at a blank page until I’d lost the will to write.
I had no system of accountability and validation—unfortunately, writing for the sake of writing wasn’t enough to get me started, I needed an additional incentive.
3. I couldn’t find a low-stakes entry point into writing—signing up for a writing class was a significant time and financial commitment. Even journaling felt like a big ask; I wanted to write, yes, but not about my feelings—if anything, I was looking for an escape.
The writing prompt experience seemed to check all of these boxes. The prompt served as the creative spark. The sharing served as the accountability and validation. And the distinct 15-minute time limit—with no expectation of creating a masterpiece—was the low-stakes entry point I needed to establish and maintain a creative practice.
In designing a platform that incorporates these traits, my goal is to emulate the experience that brought my own creativity to life.
I’m envisioning a social platform that encourages people to make time for creative expression through a daily, simple prompt for writing, art or music.
Think Calm for creative expression—a push notification, followed by fifteen minutes of pure creativity; you’re doing it because it’s good for you. For some, the creative burst itself will be enough. For others, there will be an opportunity to share their work with a supportive community of people engaged in the same “conversation.”
To test out this idea, I’ve launched WritePlayDraw.com—a simple, email-based community and platform. In the past week, I’ve sent three writing prompts, and shared dozens of submissions with the community. Alongside the submissions, I’ve gotten amazing feedback from the members about the experience. From a Proctor & Gamble Brand Director: “I loved writing it, went in with a no looking back kind of flow. Felt like dancing with my eyes shut.” From a freelance graphic designer: “Love this reconnection to making things for myself. I’ll be sure to keep writing.” Soon, I’ll begin sending out prompts for art and music as well.
To be clear, this is a passion project at the moment, and I’m not yet certain that there’s a business here—that remains to be seen. Fifteen minutes for creative expression is not a small ask of people, particularly for those who don’t consider themselves to be naturally creative. I do have a vision for how this grows, though, and it follows a similar path to that of a previous new frontier of the wellness movement—meditation. Seven or eight years ago, meditation was considered to be a cultish pursuit that was largely inaccessible to the masses. But thanks to apps like Headspace and Calm, today, meditation is widespread, its numerous benefits well-known.
What’s Next For Me
I’m excited about this new platform I’m building, but I’m still working on developing my own practice of creative expression. I’m currently reading Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way, which has a great 12–week program for clearing “creative blocks” in an attempt to find your inner artist and become a happier, more productive person. In July, I’ll be spending a week at the Iowa Summer Writing Festival in order to immerse myself in creative energy. And all of this, of course, is part of a larger regimen of rebuilding my own wellbeing which includes exercise, therapy, surrounding myself with friends and family, and more.
In my piece about the failure of my last startup, I wrote that in my next entrepreneurial journey, I’d need to build something that I felt truly passionate about. Ironically, it was writing this piece (and others) that led me to this realization about the value of creative expression, and my own excitement for it. I don’t know where this will go, nor do I know what the next few months of my own life will look like — but for now, every day that I spend spreading the word about this is a day where I find meaning.
Please sign up at WritePlayDraw.com to join the beta community! And don’t hesitate to get in touch: @thewordsof_jdn / email@example.com