Where Will You Find Creative Inspiration Today?

The world is but a canvas to the imagination.

~Henry David Thoreau


10 Ways to Woo Your Muse

metal sculpture

Rerunning one of my most popular posts:

  1. Do something you haven’t done since you were a child. Slide down a slide. Eat a peanut butter and banana sandwich. Play in a sprinkler. Sing a song you liked when you were a kid.
  2. Keep a notebook next to your bed, and write about whatever wakes you up.
  3. Take a little time to stop “doing” and just “be” for a while. Meditate. Walk. Stare at the wall. Soak in a bubble bath.
  4. Spend some time doing anything you consider fun, even if it seems frivolous. Especially if it seems frivolous.
  5. Go for a walk and look at everything in your path as if you’re seeing it for the first time.
  6. Enjoy some childlike creativity. Color. Dance. Play with Play-Doh.
  7. Pay attention to your dreams—both the night kind and the day kind.
  8. Rip up your To Do list for the day or for the afternoon or for half an hour and do whatever you feel like doing.
  9. Go outside at night and count the stars. Or waltz in the rain. Or share your secrets with the moon.
  10. Do something silly. Talk in a funny voice. Walk down the street backwards. See if you can balance a spoon on your nose.

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Visual Inspiration—Photo Prompt #71

Let this image engage your muse. Write a paragraph, a short story, a poem, a memory, a journal entry … or whatever you feel inspired to create. And share your creations in the comments if you’d like!

the future

 

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Push the Creativity Reset Button Every Day

Has this ever happened to you? You’re determined to start writing or painting or pursuing another creative passion on a regular basis. So you sit down to treaty negotiations with your Muse, and the two of you draw up a plan: Your Muse agrees to visit you for half an hour before work every day to provide inspiration, and you agree to show up with paper and pen or paints.

The two of you sign and notarize the document, your Muse flits off to study the funky aardvark dance that’s sweeping Madagascar, and you give yourself a celebratory high-five in the mirror before going to bed feeling great.

Things work wonderfully for the first week. You set your alarm early, get up, and write or paint your heart out.

The next Sunday night, your cat has a hairball emergency requiring your middle-of-the-night supervision. Obviously, after all the midnight drama, you’re way too tired to get up the next morning and be creative. But that’s okay. You decide to write or paint for a full hour the next day.

On Monday night, however, after a late-night salami pizza with extra garlic and anchovies, you keep waking throughout the wee hours between disturbing dreams of monkeys juggling hamsters, and pigs in tuxedos giving speeches at state dinners.

Too exhausted to get up early Tuesday morning, you tell yourself you’ll just write or paint for an hour for the next TWO days. No problem. But the next morning, you hit the snooze button on your alarm clock. Really, can anyone be expected to get up at this ungodly hour? You see your Muse standing next to your bed, tapping her foot and looking put out, but you ignore her. For two mornings in a row.

The next day is Friday, and you really deserve a break – it’s been a tough week, what with all the hairballs and talking pigs. Not to mention the terrified hamsters. You’ll double down next week and catch up on all the creative time you missed.

Once Monday morning rolls around again, the amount of work you need to do to catch up seems so daunting that you bury your head under your pillow while your Muse screams into your ear. Finally, she gives up and flies away with a pout.

You’ve broken your Creativity Treaty. Your Muse is drowning her sorrows at the Muse Pub, and beginning to flirt with an artist who speaks in haiku while turning napkins into abstract art.

Meanwhile, you’re stuck under the covers. You wonder if you are even meant to be a writer/artist/musician. What were you thinking? You’re way too busy. The world seems set against you pursuing your creativity. You’re not really even a very good writer/artist/musician anyway.

This is when you need to push the Reset Button.

It’s time to text your Muse and ask her to come back and renegotiate. This time, include this clause in your treaty: “Every Day is a Restart.”

If you miss a day, you start fresh the next day. Do the already-planned 30 minutes that morning, not 15-and-a-half hours because you’re so far behind.

Because the thing is: You won’t do 15-and-a-half hours. And feeling that you should just adds creativity-killing pressure.

Creativity-killing pressure has been known to cause people to curl up into tense little balls while their Inner Critics hurl horrific insults at their tender insides. And creativity-killing pressure always frightens muses away.

But if you can treat every day as the first day of a new treaty, you lower the pressure on yourself and put a smile on your Muse’s face.

Muses love daily restarts. Because muses exist in the Now. Creativity exists in the Now. Every day is a fresh start. Every moment is a fresh moment.

So, hit the reset button, pick up your pen or brush, and start. Now.

DOWNLOAD YOUR FREE CREATIVE BURSTS WORKBOOK!
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CLICK HERE!   (To learn more, click here)

17 Fun Online Creative Breaks

For those of you wanting a little creative break today, here’s a roundup of amusing and inspiring sites I’ve mentioned before. Some people call these time-wasters, but since they all stimulate creativity, I consider them time very well spent!

Sketch Swap: Draw something with your cursor and submit it, then receive a picture someone else created.

This is Sand: Click on the tiny gray box at the top left of the screen for instructions. You can use your cursor to drop digital sand of different colors and create beautiful virtual designs.

Magnetic Poetry: An electronic version of the refrigerator magnets that turn us all into poets.

Language is a Virus: A variety of inspirational devices including writing prompts, a character name generator, a poetry generator, the text collage, madlib poems, the haiku-a-tron and much more.

Wordle: Turn your words into a cloud.

Mr. Picasso Head: Have fun with this this twist on the childhood “Mr. Potato Head” game.

String Spin: Click and draw with your cursor, watch your sketch rotate in 3D, then hit the button that puts it into full spin to create amazingly intricate patterns.

Character Description Generator: Use this to create quirky people for fun or fiction writing.

Still Life: Create a still life in the style of the Masters with this imaginative interactive website from the National Gallery of Art.  Note: It may take a couple of minutes to download, but it’s well worth the wait.

Collage Machine: Another  fun site from the National Gallery of Art: create a collage online.

Animation Station: Make your own animated cartoon.

Matisse’s Pieces: Pretend you’re Henri Matisse as you position, size and color various shapes to create your own cutout.

Make Your Own Music: Click on the squares to activate different tones, then listen as they produce gorgeous music when they touch each other.

Doodle Pad: Choose your color from the rows of crayons at the bottom, choose the thickness of the line using the slider at the top, and doodle away.

Splash Paint: Make virtual abstract designs with this fun online paint program.

Draw a Stickman: Draw a stickman, then help him out as he gets into trouble. Choose from two fun adventures.

Conduct a Band:  Create and conduct your own  beatbox or a capella band.

DOWNLOAD YOUR FREE CREATIVE BURSTS WORKBOOK!
And receive free creativity prompts delivered to your inbox twice a week.
CLICK HERE!   (To learn more, click here)

Want More Creativity? Turn Your Day Upside Down


If you’re worried you’re not living up to your creative potential, it’s easy to find articles and books on managing your time, setting goals and being more productive. But so much of this helpful advice just doesn’t work when it comes to creativity. It can make you feel tight and uncompromising. It can make your muse pack up her bags and fly away until you allow her more space.

So here’s my advice for turning some of the common productivity wisdom on its head. Try it and see if it makes your muse smile:

  • Write a Not To Do List. Include items like “Don’t check e-mail before I start writing,” “Don’t vacuum until I’ve spent half an hour painting” and “Don’t listen to that voice inside my head telling me I’m being selfish for creating instead of _______.”
  • Let Time Manage You. Instead of making a schedule with blocks of time for each of your day’s activities, simply let the day unfold. This can be difficult if you feel like time is a beast to be tamed and molded to your will. (Believe me, I know. I struggle with this one.) But if you can let go of your schedule even for a little while, you may be amazed at the results. Yes, there are certain scheduled things you must attend to, like going to work and picking up your kid from soccer. But you can findor makesome unscheduled moments in your days and weeks if you really look for them. Make a point of letting go of unessential activities and letting yourself do whatever feels right in the moment at those times.
  • Be Unproductive. Forget about producing a finished story or song or painting. Think of your creativity as play instead of goal-oriented work. Toss unexpected words together. Combine notes in ways that don’t make sense. Paint something silly. Surprise yourself. If it doesn’t work, you’ve learned something about what doesn’t work. It if does work, you may have just produced a masterpiece.
  • Don’t Create a Perfect Space for Doing Your Artistic Work. This one goes against advice I constantly see for writers and other creative people. There’s nothing wrong with having a nice place to write/compose/sculpt/sketch. But you shouldn’t be wedded to that spot. You should be able to pick up a crayon and scrap of paper wherever you are and create something new. Paint at a park. Write while sitting in a waiting room. Compose a song in your head during your commute. Having only one spot where you can create places a severe and unnecessary limitation on your muse (who really just wants to create everywhere, all the time).
  • Watch TV. Another perennial piece of wisdom from both time management gurus and creativity proponents is to completely cut out watching television. It’s a time suck, it stifles creativity and it’s just bad, according to these  people. Yes, if you plop down in front of the TV for four hours every night and turn into a mental zombie, that’s not very healthy. If you only watch uninspiring sitcoms and formulaic movies, you’re not helping your creativity. But blanket comments condemning TV really rub me the wrong way.  I’ve found so much inspiration on television over the years. From documentaries that introduced me to other worlds and ideas. From movies that grabbed my emotions and made me think about things or events in a new way. And yes, even from cleverly written sitcoms that included characters or situations that jumpstarted my creativity. People who believe TV = bad just aren’t thinking creatively enough. And, like the Internet, social networks, video games and anything else that can turn into an addictive pursuit, you need to use it in a way that enhances your life and your creativity rather than as a crutch to avoid life.

Do you have any creative techniques you use that turn conventional wisdom on its head? I’d love to hear about them and add them to this list.

DOWNLOAD YOUR FREE CREATIVE BURSTS WORKBOOK!
And receive free creativity prompts delivered to your inbox twice a week.
CLICK HERE!   (To learn more, click here)

Visual Inspiration—Photo Prompt #70

Let this image engage your muse. Write a paragraph, a short story, a poem, a memory, a journal entry … or whatever you feel inspired to create. And share your creations in the comments if you’d like!

Fantasy elephant flying

DOWNLOAD YOUR FREE CREATIVE BURSTS WORKBOOK!
And receive free creativity prompts delivered to your inbox twice a week.
CLICK HERE!   (To learn more, click here)


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About Sandy Ackers

Sandy

Kaizen-Muse Creativity Coach and Writer.

To learn more about Sandy, click here: About Sandy

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Meet My Muse

Click here to read the post discussing my relationship with my somewhat pesky male muse.

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