The nine muses were Greek goddesses presiding over literature, science, and the arts. Even now, writers, poets, painters, musicians and yes, even scientists, ask their muses for help when it comes to solving problems, tapping inner creativity, or just finding a bit of inspiration.
But the muse – or at least mine — is elusive. And if she’s vexed, she won’t cooperate.
When my computer screen is filled with open internet browser tabs, I believe she hides out in the basement. If the tabs are all news-related, my muse leaves the house. I imagine she heads for the nearest neighborhood bar to drink away her disappointment and sorrow.
When I’m stretched too thin with work and personal commitments because I can’t utter the word no, she locks herself in the bathroom and refuses to come out for a chat.
When I’m not taking care of myself — sleeping too little, eating too much junk, not exercising, skipping meditation or not spending some quality time with friends — my muse goes into sleep mode.
But I have some tricks that encourage our connection.
Physical labor makes her chatty. She’s spent a lot of time talking to me while I use a crowbar to pull down rotting fence planks or while I struggle to rid my yard of English ivy.
She adores my garden. When I pull weeds or water cucumbers and tomatoes, she whispers in my ear. On quiet Sunday mornings, we sit together on the back patio. I drink coffee and transcribe her thoughts into my notebook.
And my muse loves a good vacation. It doesn’t matter where we go, so long as it is away from household chores and work responsibilities. When I take a holiday, her powers are at their peak.
Of course, adult life isn’t one long writer’s retreat. So, I try to harness those times we connect to get through the inevitable periods apart. I refer to my notes to remember our talks. Her ideas are the starting point for my research. Our brainstorming sessions can be useful when devising an editorial calendar.
These are just a few of my personal tricks. What do you find encourages – or discourages – creativity? In other words, how do you connect with your muse?