10 Effective Ways to Strangle Your Muse

  1. When you wake in the middle of the night and realize you have a brilliant sentence balancing on the edge of your semi-conscious brain, tell yourself you’ll remember it in the morning and roll over.
  2. Finish your work, make phone calls, respond to all the e-mails in your inbox, clean the house and pluck any unwanted hairs before you let yourself have a creative moment.
  3. Never, ever play hooky.   sea view
  4. Believe you need to wallpaper your existence with hundred dollar bills instead of wrapping it around yourself like a beautiful poem.
  5. Think you have nothing left to learn.
  6. Forget that the shades of gray between the black and white lines are by far the most interesting parts of life.
  7. Believe that playing is just for kids.
  8. Show your half-finished creation to many other people and let them staple their hastily-formed opinions all over it.
  9. Try to be the best at doing what all the other artists are doing, instead of discovering your own unique vision.
  10. Be afraid of looking stupid.

Copyright © Sandy Ackers, Strangling My Muse: Struggling to Live a Creative Life in a Stressful World, http://www.stranglingmymuse.com

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6 Responses to “10 Effective Ways to Strangle Your Muse”


  1. 1 Rochelle Ritchie Spencer June 17, 2009 at 12:50 pm

    These are great Sandy – I do most of them, glad to know that I am so “effective” at something! ;->

    BTW, I think I’ll have to start considering you my muse as you’ve given me two ideas that I’ve blogged about. Your post about “Write or Die” inspired mine today (and I’m thinking of doing a “6 Words” post too). So thanks, I should start paying you for all your great ideas (“pay” in the theoretical sense of course).

    Cheers,
    R

  2. 2 K a b l o o e y June 17, 2009 at 6:51 pm

    Very smart post.

    Want further proof of how smart you are? Our very own Amanda Castleman mentioned 6 word stories in our lecture this week. And proof that I’m already starting to think of you as something of a sage is this: I clicked on her link all excited because I thought your blog would appear before my eyes.

  3. 3 stranglingmymuse June 18, 2009 at 10:06 am

    Thanks for the comments that are so flattering they’re humbling! Of course I’ve learned everything I know from bitter experience. I’ve spent as much time silencing my Muse over the course of my life as I’ve spent nurturing him. I’m all too personally familiar with the 10 effective muse-strangling items I’ve listed above.
    –Sandy

  4. 4 47whitebuffalo August 28, 2009 at 10:24 am

    Number 7 is really an important point. Seriously–why do ‘adults’ deny themselves the chance to ‘play’?
    By ‘play’ I don’t mmean–and I don’t think you do either—engaging in the usual adult ‘party games and all that entails’–I mean just letting go and engaging in whimsy and exploring the world and enjoying something simple like walking barefoot through a park –or splashing water at friends–or tossing playdooh at ’em. PLAY is really really important to imaginative/mental/emotional health–and yet–so many folks just don’t do it for fear of looking silly–or???
    Yes, EVERYONE PLAY!

    • 5 stranglingmymuse August 29, 2009 at 2:12 pm

      I once read that you can either be creative or be cool, but you can’t be both. That’s always stuck with me. I think a lot of people start trying to be cool around adolescence, and then spend the rest of their lives stifling any “uncool” urges. Like the urge to be silly or spend time playing. I agree with you that we should all embrace the whimsy of life!
      –Sandy


  1. 1 7 Creative Links—The Problogger Challenge « Strangling My Muse Trackback on July 22, 2010 at 6:04 am

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Kaizen-Muse Creativity Coach and Writer.

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