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Opening the Door to Creativity

I find it a little more difficult to switch over from my left-brain to my right-brain since I started medical school. I was always a science-loving girl with an artist at my core, and I’ve had to make sure that the artist doesn’t get too deeply buried under piles of medical terms. As I was thinking about how I get into my creative groove, I created a list of the things I needed around me. My first list went like this:

  1. Good music

  2. Light

  3. No bugs

  4. Food

I had only written out things I wanted (ok, needed) to focus, but it wasn’t all I needed to step into a creative zone. Therefore, the second list was born:

  1. Stress-free mindset

  2. A plan (aka another list)

  3. Solitude

If I were to wait until I was done with work, I would never be able to write or paint. Creating a stress-free mindset is an active effort and might even require carving out time where I don’t think about the other things I have to do. Happening upon creative ideas is not the difficult part; I have a running word document of travel blog posts and articles I want to write.



My absolute favorite place to write creatively is while on an airplane. I have the privilege of flying relatively frequently and the 8+ hour plane rides provide the perfect setting. There is no internet, I have a solid chunk of time where I just stare out the window, and I have both the time and space to think. I open up my ever-growing word doc of ideas that I want to write and flesh out the stories. I create an initial outline and just keep adding sentences to each point. Eventually, the bullet points become flowing ideas and become the article that is ready to pitch or publish.


If you’re busy trying to juggle everything and more, your creativity doesn’t have to go out the door. Wiggle it into your life. Did an idea come to you? Write it down, dog ear it, and let it tumble in your head when you have a free fifteen minutes. If you’re given a chunk of time or find yourself in your place of solitude, start fleshing out the idea. Work on your projects bit-by-bit, the work becomes much less daunting. You can do it all.

By: Aanika Balaji

I enjoy life as a medical student, an amateur artist, a dog walker, and casual global traveller. Either going solo, with friends, at homestays, or volunteering abroad, travelling has taught me a new way to view and perceive the world. My goal is to be an oncologist who is lucky enough to spend part of her career working abroad.

Keep up with me on my blog Travelling Cactus, Instagram and read more about my adventures on Pink Pangea!

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