Posts Tagged 'Inspiration'

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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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.

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CLICK HERE!   (To learn more, click here)

10 Resolutions for a Creative New Year


I’ve posted this before, but these are still my creativity resolutions, for this and every year. I hope some—or all—of them resonate with you! What are your creativity resolutions for this year?

  1. Do something creatively inspiring every day, even if only for 5 minutes.
  2. Forgive yourself if you miss a day—and then get right back on the creativity horse.
  3. Cultivate an attitude of play when you’re writing, painting, singing or creating in any way.
  4. Let go of your inner perfectionist.
  5. Don’t blow off your muse, even if he/she starts tugging on your arm at an inopportune time.
  6. Share your creativity with people who appreciate it.
  7. Don’t listen to people who discourage you (including your inner critic).
  8. Believe you deserve to take time for your creativity, in spite of all the demands in your life.
  9. Enjoy the creative journey instead of focusing only on the destination.
  10. Realize that every time you make space in your life for creativity—even if it’s just a sliver of space—you’re making yourself a better person and the world a better place.

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)

Blast Through Writers Block: Create a Sensory Collage


Here’s a good exercise to try if you’re stuck, blocked or ready to start a new piece but don’t know what to write:

Take a walk, and bring a notebook. Jot down things you see, hear, smell, feel, touch and experience. Use all your senses.

Include everything:

  • bits of conversation—not just the words but also the tone of the language and the postures of the speakers
  • neighborhood signs—their messages and their visual style
  • changing cloud formations and the things they bring to mind for you
  • the exact color of the sky
  • a crying or laughing baby—how it sounds and how it makes you feel
  • the scent, texture and color of blooming flowers
  • dogs checking each other out or chasing squirrels
  • traffic—the sound, smell and look of it
  • the sights, sounds and smells of trees you encounter
  • the color and texture of the hair of anyone you pass
  • the items people are holding or carrying

These are just a few ideas—be sure to include everything that catches your attention. And pay attention to everything around you as you walk.

Then find a place to sit such as a park bench, cafe, picnic table, the ground, your car … whatever works for you.

Now combine several of the sensory images you’ve gathered and use them to create a story, essay, poem or any other piece of writing. Play around with the images and try different things, just as you would if you were making a collage. If one combination doesn’t work, try something else. Write something silly or dark or absurd or uncharacteristic of you. Have fun as you fit the puzzle pieces together in different ways.

I like this exercise because it combines the physical activity of walking with the mental and emotional experience of collecting bits of what you experience. It gets you away from staring at a blank piece of paper. And combining things in new ways always engages the muse.

Let me know how you like this exercise, or share your creations!

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)

Get Creative With This Random Art Prompt Generator

colorful mask

If you’re looking for some artistic inspiration, this Random Art Prompt Generator might be just what you need! You can choose either a simple or an elaborate prompt, and they’re pretty creative. These are for all types of artists. If you want a writing prompt, the simple prompts will work, and sometimes the elaborate ones will as well.  (But some of the elaborate prompts are more focused on visual art.)

Here are some of the random prompts I got when I played around with this:

SIMPLE:

  • Your prompt is: a scar on the face.
  • Your prompt is: unicorns.
  • Your prompt is: a harem.
  • Your prompt is: a medieval society.
  • Your prompt is: dissonance.

ELABORATE:

  • Within one piece, express the qualities of deviousness, greed, and dignity. Subjects need not be human.
  • Create a realistic portrait of a cartoon character. Prompt: the forests of the night.
  • Do a series of pictures of a traveler, experimenting with changing the light and shadows. Theme: and all things sweet.
  • Theme: mask. It should contain opium dreams or a black leather trenchcoat, and use primarily complementary colors.
  • Portray a sense of weariness with a leather jacket and worn blue jeans.

Click here to try it out and get creative!

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)

 

Be Present and Embrace Your Creativity

“You must live in the present,

launch yourself on every wave,

find your eternity in each moment.”

~Henry David Thoreau

 

10 Types of Muses—Which One is Yours?

Rays of Light

Lately, I’ve been thinking about my muse. Or muses. I wrote about my muse a few years ago, but he/she has changed since then. (Even my muse’s gender changes regularly!) At that time, I needed a muse who was forceful and would get me out of bed to write early in the morning. Who was, as I wrote, “a cross between a take-no-prisoners drill sergeant and a thoroughly enticing lover.”

But my muse has changed over the years. More recently, my muse has segued into a whimsical child who tugs on my sleeve and whispers in my ear. (Or yells, if I’m not listening!) And sometimes she’s simply a light breeze that carries inspirational tidbits to me. But still, I occasionally call on my drill sergeant muse when I need a little creative kick in the butt.

So I started thinking about the different personalities of my muses over the years, and I came up with this list. For me, my muse is like a divine artistic guide crossed with an imaginary friend. But with a chameleon personality that becomes what I need.

Does your muse have one of these personalities? Or is s/he a cross between two or three of these? How would you describe your muse? I’d love to hear about him/her!

  1. A take-no-prisoners drill sergeant.
  2. A thoroughly enticing lover.
  3. A mischievous buddy.
  4. A loyal comrade-in-arms.
  5. A whimsical child who tugs on my sleeve.
  6. Whispers on a warm breeze.
  7. A hyperactive pest.
  8. A free-spirited wild woman.
  9. A temperamental diva.
  10. A grounded, wise old oak tree who speaks to me.

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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