Don’t Forget to Flirt With Your Muse Today

Life is interfering with my desire to write something new today, so instead I’m offering one of my most popular posts:

I grew up with the message that Creativity is Great! And that it’s something you should squeeze into any little extra time you can find after you take care of all the important things in your life.

I’ve spent my entire adult life doing battle with this idea. Trying to get myself to understand—to truly believe deep in my bones—that creativity is an important part of who I am. To believe that creativity is NOT something to be shoved into the dark little corners of my week. To believe it is, instead, something special, that should be brought out into the light and wined and dined. Something that should be celebrated every day.

When I’m not creating, I’m only living half a life. I’m cutting off a huge part of myself, throwing half my heart into a dusty corner and telling it I’ll try to reconnect with it later. If I can make the time.

It’s not easy in our culture to embrace our creative natures. Life is busy. Everyone I know is too busy. Everyone has always been busy.

Some days I have to work before I can spend time on creative pursuits. Some days I have to take care of personal obligations. Some days I have to clean house because people are coming over. Some days I have to do all of these things and more.

But other days, I can dance with my Muse and forget about the vacuuming. I can put off some of my obligations until tomorrow so I can ride the creative wave that’s here NOW. I can stop worrying that if I take time to be creative I might get swept off my feet by my Muse—only to return to Earth hours later, realizing that I haven’t gotten everything on my To Do list done. Worrying that I’ve let someone down or let something slide or not been perfectly on top of every detail of every thing in my life.

Here’s a fact I’m still working on fully accepting:

We will NEVER get everything done.

There’s always more to do.

You can always do more to take care of the people in your life. You can always work harder, and take on extra tasks to please your boss or yourself or to accomplish even more, even better. You can always make your home cleaner.

But we can’t do everything. We have to choose.

Every day we have to choose how we will spend our time.

I am working at getting better at choosing to spend time creatively every day. I’m not perfect—I miss some days. I get overwhelmed with deadlines and act like a madwoman on a crazy work bender. I get distracted by e-mails and people and Things That Must Be Done.

I forget to spend a few minutes flirting with my Muse.

But I try to spend 15 minutes doing something creative on busy days. And more on less busy days. And the more I do that, the happier I am. The more fulfilled. The more peaceful and loving. The more I embrace my Muse every day, the better a person I become in all my imperfect, messy-housed, work-half-done humanity.

Copyright © Sandy Ackers, Strangling My Muse: Struggling to Live a Creative Life in a Stressful World,

8 Responses to “Don’t Forget to Flirt With Your Muse Today”

  1. 1 Tom McDonald January 10, 2011 at 11:38 am

    Indeed, there are not enough hours in the day…but then again, if there were, we would want to “flirt with our muse” even longer.

    Thanks for reminding us to appreciate what we have and to continue to let creativity be a part of who we are as people.

    • 2 stranglingmymuse January 10, 2011 at 6:27 pm

      You’re welcome, Tom! And you’re right, even if we had longer days, it would be easy to still feel there’s not enough time for creativity. The trick is to work within the framework we have, and learn to put creativity higher on the list. Not always as easily said as done, but definitely worth pursuing!


  2. 3 Sue Mitchell January 10, 2011 at 12:36 pm

    Great reminder that if we wait til we finish all the other stuff to get to our creative work, we may never get to it. I’m working on getting to the place where I view it as as much of a must-do as brushing my teeth or eating. Definitely more important than house cleaning! What a useless time suck that is! LOL

    At the same time, we can infuse creativity into everything we do, even cleaning the house. I invent my own cleaners! My favorite is my margarita-scented floor cleaner using grapefruit essential oil and lime juice. And I love to play music and sort of dance around as I clean. So the Things That Must Be Done and being creative don’t have to be mutually exclusive.

    • 4 stranglingmymuse January 10, 2011 at 6:32 pm

      Great point, Sue — infusing creativity throughout our days makes life much more fun, and, since creativity begets creativity, your creative cleaning probably inspires more creativity. And your floor cleaner recipe sounds delicious!


  3. 5 foolswords January 12, 2011 at 4:15 am

    Had really busy days nowadays, especially under the command of a new ‘iron fist queen’. And the workload almost break me. Thanks for reminding me to spend time with my inner self, my creative part, my muse. It’s like splashing water on my face, waking me up from a nightmare and telling me that life can still be beautiful, it just needs me to make it so.

    • 6 stranglingmymuse January 13, 2011 at 1:26 pm

      Sorry to hear things are so hectic for you. I’m glad my post helped you remember to spend time with your creative self. Even five minutes makes a difference when you’re busy! Best of luck with your writing!


  4. 7 jennifer121 January 12, 2011 at 1:17 pm

    Ah, no wonder this is a popular post! You said it beautifully. That is why I always, always give up housework, but your commentor above infuses creativity with it so I admire that. I think we need to make our own priorities and infuse our passions into it. And when creativity gets backed up, it is our reminder we need to take care of ourselves. The happier we are, the better we are to the world.

    • 8 stranglingmymuse January 13, 2011 at 1:28 pm

      Thanks, Jennifer! I’m glad you liked this post. Like you, I tend to forgo housework for creativity, but I agree that Sue’s idea to infuse even cleaning with creativity is admirable! You are so right that being happier makes us better to the world! Thanks for stopping by and posting.


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