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Push the Creativity Reset Button Every Day

I’m rerunning one of my most popular posts today (originally published August 16, 2012):

Has this ever happened to you? You’re determined to start writing or painting or pursuing another creative passion on a regular basis. So you sit down to treaty negotiations with your Muse, and the two of you draw up a plan: Your Muse agrees to visit you for half an hour before work every day to provide inspiration, and you agree to show up with paper and pen or paints.

The two of you sign and notarize the document, your Muse flits off to study the funky aardvark dance that’s sweeping Madagascar, and you give yourself a celebratory high-five in the mirror before going to bed feeling great.

Things work wonderfully for the first week. You set your alarm early, get up, and write or paint your heart out.

The next Sunday night, your cat has a hairball emergency requiring your middle-of-the-night supervision. Obviously, after all the midnight drama, you’re way too tired to get up the next morning and be creative. But that’s okay. You decide to write or paint for a full hour the next day.

On Monday night, however, after a late-night salami pizza with extra garlic and anchovies, you keep waking throughout the wee hours between disturbing dreams of monkeys juggling hamsters, and pigs in tuxedos giving speeches at state dinners.

Too exhausted to get up early Tuesday morning, you tell yourself you’ll just write or paint for an hour for the next TWO days. No problem. But the next morning, you hit the snooze button on your alarm clock. Really, can anyone be expected to get up at this ungodly hour? You see your Muse standing next to your bed, tapping her foot and looking put out, but you ignore her. For two mornings in a row.

The next day is Friday, and you really deserve a break – it’s been a tough week, what with all the hairballs and talking pigs. Not to mention the terrified hamsters. You’ll double down next week and catch up on all the creative time you missed.

Once Monday morning rolls around again, the amount of work you need to do to catch up seems so daunting that you bury your head under your pillow while your Muse screams into your ear. Finally, she gives up and flies away with a pout.

You’ve broken your Creativity Treaty. Your Muse is drowning her sorrows at the Muse Pub, and beginning to flirt with an artist who speaks in haiku while turning napkins into abstract art.

Meanwhile, you’re stuck under the covers. You wonder if you are even meant to be a writer/artist/musician. What were you thinking? You’re way too busy. The world seems set against you pursuing your creativity. You’re not really even a very good writer/artist/musician anyway.

This is when you need to push the Reset Button.

It’s time to text your Muse and ask her to come back and renegotiate. This time, include this clause in your treaty: “Every Day is a Restart.”

If you miss a day, you start fresh the next day. Do the already-planned 30 minutes that morning, not 15-and-a-half hours because you’re so far behind.

Because the thing is: You won’t do 15-and-a-half hours. And feeling that you should just adds creativity-killing pressure.

Creativity-killing pressure has been known to cause people to curl up into tense little balls while their Inner Critics hurl horrific insults at their tender insides. And creativity-killing pressure always frightens muses away.

But if you can treat every day as the first day of a new treaty, you lower the pressure on yourself and put a smile on your Muse’s face.

Muses love daily restarts. Because muses exist in the Now. Creativity exists in the Now. Every day is a fresh start. Every moment is a fresh moment.

So, hit the reset button, pick up your pen or brush, and start. Now.

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Visual Inspiration—Photo Prompt #72

Let this image engage your muse. Write a paragraph, a short story, a poem, a memory, a journal entry … or whatever you feel inspired to create. And share your creations in the comments if you’d like!


And receive free creativity prompts delivered to your inbox twice a week.
CLICK HERE!   (To learn more, click here)

Where Have You Been?

where ...

The exercise below is one of my recent Creative Bursts. The Creative Bursts are fun, 15-minute play breaks designed to help get your creativity flowing. They encompass writing, drawing, doodling, dancing, wordplay, singing and more. And they’re free! If you’re not receiving them yet, click here to sign up!

List five places you’ve been. Now, list five emotional places you’ve been. Finally, list five metaphorical places you’ve been. (For instance, “easy street” or “in the clouds.”) Pick two or three of these places and weave them into a short poem or a paragraph.

Here’s what people are saying about the Creative Bursts:

“Your Creative Bursts Rock! Love the creativity exercises. They are fantastic.”  ~Andrew, Brisbane, Australia

“Love these prompts!”  ~Sarah, California, USA

“Thank you for the Bursts, they are hopefully going to restore some sanity!”  ~Hannah, United Kingdom

“I LOVE your Creative Bursts! They really spark my imagination.”  ~Christopher, Maryland, USA

Click here to download your free Creative Bursts workbook and sign up for more Bursts in your inbox twice a week!

Make A Creative Leap

Jump, and you will find out how to unfold your wings as you fall.

—Ray Bradbury


Visual Inspiration

Rerunning this post from 2009, because I love these images! I hope you find them as inspiring as I do.

Since I’m still on Thanksgiving vacation, I’m going to leave you with some images to engage your muse. If you’d like a writing exercise, use one of these as a prompt for a paragraph, a short story, a poem, a memory, a journal entry … or wherever your muse takes you.







And receive free creativity prompts delivered to your inbox twice a week.
CLICK HERE!   (To learn more, click here)

Where Will You Find Creative Inspiration Today?

The world is but a canvas to the imagination.

~Henry David Thoreau

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.

And receive free creativity prompts delivered to your inbox twice a week.
CLICK HERE!   (To learn more, click here)

Download a Free E-Book! Click on the Cover Below for your Creative Bursts Workbook

And get fun 15-minute creativity prompts delivered to your inbox twice a week

About Sandy Ackers


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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