In various creative writing circles I've belonged to, we often played the game where we came up with a short list of words and everyone wrote a poem or short story using those words. What fun it was to see the unpredictable variations that were born. I also recall hitting beginner's mind under the tutelage of Natalie Goldberg at a writer's workshop, where she would give us a prompt such as "Tell me about the street you grew up on." Then we would freewrite for ten minutes, a method she fully develops in her seminal book, Writing Down the Bones: Freeing the Writer Within (Shambhala, 1986).
Depending what stage of art-making I am in, I sometimes need to tidy up my workspace and put away unfinished projects, messy scraps and files, etc. When I am deep in a collage series, the mess doesn't matter. But if I've been away from making art, as now during the holidays, I can't seem to get started again unless I clear the deck and start anew. At some point where once there was only chaos, the arrow turns instead towards potential. Maybe that doesn't qualify as true beginner's mind, but it brings me calm and makes me receptive to whatever might come next.
May your new year start fresh, and bring much creativity and unpredictable delight!
photo by KAO: Dawn Shadows