Ten Effective Ways to Strangle Your Muse

I’m traveling for a few days, so I’m offering one of my most popular posts:

  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.
  4. sea view

  5. Believe you need to wallpaper your existence with hundred dollar bills instead of wrapping it around yourself like a beautiful poem.
  6. Think you have nothing left to learn.
  7. Forget that the shades of gray between the black and white lines are by far the most interesting parts of life.
  8. Believe that playing is just for kids.
  9. Show your half-finished creation to many other people and let them staple their hastily-formed opinions all over it.
  10. Try to be the best at doing what all the other artists are doing, instead of discovering your own unique vision.
  11. 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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7 Responses to “Ten Effective Ways to Strangle Your Muse”


  1. 1 tobias May 1, 2010 at 8:35 am

    Well, those are perhaps not the only ways, but they’re certainly among the most effective…

    let’s see, I’ve been guilty of #’s 1, 2, 5, 8 and 10.

    #7 is super-important – we have a lot to learn from kids about creativity… my take on this is here:
    fearlesscreativity.com/toddler-creativity

    #9 is a big trap too.

  2. 2 Susan @ 2KoP May 1, 2010 at 10:30 am

    #8 #8 #8
    When will I learn?

  3. 3 K a b l o o e y May 1, 2010 at 7:47 pm

    1,2,8 and 10 for me. But most of the time, it’s 2,2,2,2,2…

    To where are you traveling? Hope you stop to smell the roses.

  4. 4 stranglingmymuse May 5, 2010 at 8:33 am

    It looks like the intersection point for the three of you is #8! Since everyone’s sharing, I’ll confess that the ones I’ve been guilty of are 1, 2, 8, 10. Now I realize these are the same as Kablooey and almost the same as Tobias!

    Tobias, thanks for sharing your post on things you can learn from a toddler about creativity — I love it!

    Susan, yes — I’ve learned (from bitter experience) to protect my unfinished creations like turtle eggs buried in the sand until they’re fully hatched!

    Kablooey, I was in Arizona to visit my father, who is entering the latter stages of dementia. Not exactly a smell-the-roses kind of trip, but a meaningful and important one.

    ~Sandy

  5. 5 heidi May 15, 2010 at 2:44 am

    you are SO on the money! the more I read of you the more inspired i feel to breathe life into my muse 🙂

    • 6 stranglingmymuse May 15, 2010 at 2:01 pm

      That’s wonderful, Heidi — I’m so glad my blog inspires you. I hope you’ve gone and lit a fire under that muse of yours!

      ~Sandy


  1. 1 Surf’s Up, Condensed: Top Creativity Links for May 11, 2010 « Creative Liberty Trackback on May 10, 2010 at 7:10 pm

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Kaizen-Muse Creativity Coach and Writer.

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