Ten Ways to Woo Your Muse

metal sculpture

Life is interfering with my desire to get a new post written, so instead I’m offering one of my most popular lists:

  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. Do something creative. 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 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.

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

5 Responses to “Ten Ways to Woo Your Muse”

  1. 1 mlkabik July 26, 2010 at 5:02 pm

    I think these are very good suggestions for writers/artists who are stuck. It’s amazing to me how often one will sit in front of an empty page/screen and beat themselves up over the blankness of it. I think we should all follow your suggestion and give ourselves a little breather every once and again.

    Thanks so much for sharing, I look forward to reading more of your posts.

    • 2 stranglingmymuse July 26, 2010 at 6:52 pm

      Glad you like these suggestions, Matthew! And believe me, I’ve done my share of banging my head on an empty page. It’s much better to just go play for a while…

      Good luck with your writing!


  2. 3 Keith Harmeyer July 27, 2010 at 9:02 am

    Good post and good suggestions. I’ve long believed that creative “block” is nothing more than self-imposed panic or anxiety. During my 25+ years in advertising, it was a luxury one was not allowed. When you had to create, you had to create. I found the best cure was to just do it. Start. Don’t wait for genius. It is rarely obvious until after it has been born. Just get something down – start writing, start drawing, start manifesting. Don’t worry about the quality. If you know your craft, you will create!

    That said, there are also many things that can be done to break out of traditional thinking: identifying limiting beliefs/assumptions about the challenge (What do I believe is not doable? What if I were wrong?); purposefully exploring varied viewpoints/perspectives (Create something “as” someone else – the audience, Einstein, the competition, Madonna, The Terminator); and using some of the wealth of idea-generation techniques available. We use all of these techniques in our SmartStorming workshops, with groups. Very powerful and highly effective!

  3. 4 K a b l o o e y July 27, 2010 at 10:18 am

    Hmm… Keith’s ideas are interesting. And I agree that a lot of my procrastination is anxiety-related. But I’ve been through that. What I wanted to report is that I was goofing off at a playground today for a while, until my “got things to do” instincts got the better of me.

  4. 5 stranglingmymuse July 27, 2010 at 7:01 pm

    Keith, I agree with you about creative blockages. I’m a self-employed writer, so I don’t have the luxury of indulging in writers’ block — not if I want to pay the bills! It’s amazing what financial motivation/job pressure will do for creativity. I like your suggestions for breaking out of traditional thinking. Thanks for sharing them!

    Kablooey, good for you for goofing off at the playground! I have to admit that, as much as I advocate it on this blog, I’m not always so great about taking time for goofing-off type play. I’m going to let your playground-related fun inspire me!


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