Thursday, July 19, 2012

A Vacationing Muse Sucks

*I originally wrote this as a guest post for Kriss Morton over at The Cabin Goddess when the poor gal was sicker than a dog's dinner. Thought I'd share it with you.*

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before. “My muse is on vacation. I can’t write/draw/create while my muse isn’t with me.”
Simple answer to this. Stop starving you muse. No, really, it is that easy. If you don’t piss your muse off, it won’t leave.

I’m going to share with you a few tips to get the muse moving again, for any type of creative endeavour.
First of all, you have to FEED it and I don’t mean junk food. Let me explain. Your muse is like any other muscle in your body, and if you feed it crap, it’s going to give you poop. Seriously. So sitting on the couch, watching “Married with Children” re-runs is going to make your writing sound like Al and Peggy arguing over the fact that they have no money. Irritating.

So, step 1. Avoid brain food junk. For me this is primarily TV. I avoid it. There are a few channels (History, Biography ) that can actually feed your muse, but even so, in small doses please and thank you. It can also come in the forms of anything that will cause you to procrastinate, things that will tie up your brain power. Another one for me is gaming. *Sigh* I love gaming, but haven’t done much simply because it takes my muse in a direction that makes it weak and slothful. Everyone will have different things that will slow the muse down, you need to figure out yours.
Now, I’m sure you’re wondering what kind of things you can feed you muse, I mean, after all, this is Kriss’ blog and there’s always a recipe, right? Well, have no fear, there will be a recipe! But before we get there, let’s continue with building up your muse.

You might find your muse hiding on you because you overworked it (this is has been my case more than once) so the best thing is to first give it a rest. Literally. Do something different, out of your comfort zone that has NOTHING to do with your creativity. Need some examples?

*Go evil bunneh hunting ;p

*Try an extreme sport (this may only happen once)


*Prep for the Iditarod

Okay, so maybe those are a bit much. Go for a walk, read a book by someone you admire, try a new, healthy recipe (like the one at the bottom of the post), engage with people on your social networks (to a small degree this can also be a distraction!), start a group that supports your type of creativity (Writers group, photography club, etc), go to a live play, or even try out some window shopping.

But what if you have a hard time getting started with your project, manuscript, or photo shoot right from the beginning? Well, just like training your physical muscles to run or lift weights, you can train your muse too.
Figure out what your muse likes. (For more on this see “Muse Food” by Amber Scott, a must have for any creative person)

What your muse wants might be a type of music, a particular chair to sit in when you work (I have a zebra striped bean bag chair that has become “THE CHAIR” for when I write), type of lighting (candles, overheads, lamps) and even certain smells. When you have certain things that always pertain to when you write/when your muse is going to work, they quickly become cues.
So even on a day that I don’t feel like writing, if I sit in my zebra bean bag chair, my muse turns on, I’ve cued it to go to work.

Now, that’s a quick course on the Muse. For more, you really should check out “Muse Food” by Amber Scott. It’s a must have for the library of any creatively minded person.
How about some brain food? A healthy source of just such a thing are avocados. Or in this case, in honour of Kriss who loves her bacon porn ------


2 eggs
milk and/or mayonnaise
half of an avocado
sour cream
bacon, chopped
onions (optional)
salt and pepper
cheese (optional)

In a separate bowl combine 2 eggs with mayonnaise and/or milk.

Meanwhile, cook bacon in separate skillet and cut into pieces.
In a large skillet, stir together butter and eggs, and cook over medium heat.

When the eggs are done, turn off the heat and add the bacon, sour cream, and avocado. Sprinkle on cheese. Mmm, melty cheese!
Fold over the egg carefully to finalize the omelette, let it cool and enjoy!

1 comment:

Jim said...

I agree pretty much with all Shannon's muse-jump-starters, except the sky diving. Over forty years in the army and I successfully conquered every itch I had to jump out of a plane at the Airborne School.

I also suggest that in addition to just sitting in your writing chair or at your computer that if there's no muse champing at the bit to get going, write anyway - your name for three pages, a shopping list, a diary of the events of yesterday - but write. Nothing tells your muse that the vacation is over like a pile of words on a page.