“I do not think of the Muses as deities
but as personifications of a state of mind that an artist must tap…”
Ten creative principles can be made more accessible by personifying them in the form of nine Modern Day Muses (and a Bodyguard).
“Muse” in this regard is used to describe a relationship with the creative self. The goal of having a creative principle as a Muse, is to generate and/or activate thoughts and techniques that make creativity easier.
The ten principles packaged as nine Modern Day Muses (and a Bodyguard) call upon the imagination, playfulness, and kid-like inclination to relate to creative principles as entities. However, if you are not drawn to the whimsical nature of a Muse, don’t throw the creative principles out with the whimsy. Each Muse represents powerful creative tools and strategies that can be used without the Muse label.
Principles in a nutshell:
1. Aha-phrodite, The Muse of Paying Attention
Paying attention is crucial to the discovery of an idea and the passion of an idea is moved to the next stage by using the powers of paying attention in its myriad of ways: observation, questions, shifting thoughts to possibility and to the present, embracing inspiration with laser focus, writing down the idea before it disappears.
Paying attention in this model of coaching also refers to paying attention what worked in the past, what is working presently, and what your intuition is relaying.
2. Albert, The Muse of Thinking Differently:
The ability to think and be differently differentiates the idea, the process and the person from everyone else. It begins the process of innovation and in many circumstances moves one from playing small to ... joy and expansion.
This principle encourages modification, connection, free association, reframes, going from a to c ideas, and new perspectives.
3. Bea Silly, The Muse of Play and the Kid-like Spirit:
Playing with ideas and taking a light, uninhibited approach is vital to the different stages of the creative process. Finding a way to make the process fun instead of serious prevents the seriousness that can choke the process with rigidity and narrow-mindedness.
4. Muse Song, The Muse of Self-Kindness:
Self-talk that elicits creative action is essential for successful creativity. All too often our harsh self-talk discourages participation and follow-through. This principle provides techniques that elevate the creative self rather than diminishes it.
5. Spills, The Muse of Practice, Process and Imperfection:
Giving oneself permission to be imperfect, to lower standards, to relax into the process are all techniques that continues to prove to be effective to those with procrastination, fear, perfection and overwhelm issue.. When practice is touted as essential and is made easy and enticing - progress and joy is inevitable.
6. Audacity, The Muse of Courage and Uninhibited Uniqueness:
Courage, confidence, liberation from the opinions of others = creative freedom and is the fuel to take occasional grand leaps into creative endeavors (followed up by small steps).
7. Lull, The Muse of Taking Breaks:
Do not underestimate the importance of taking a break, allowing subconscious connections to take place during inactivity, taking stock of gratitude, allow connections to take place and dappling in other areas. These are dynamic tools in the creative process.
8. The Shadow Muse, The Muse with Gifts From the Darkside:
This principle is the technique of understanding our dark sides for its potential to inspire art, for the freedom it gives us to accept ourselves as human unapologetically for the understanding, compassion and connection it provides us with for creative breakthroughs. Acceptance is a big part of succeeding in creativity.
9. Marge, The Muse of Getting Started:
One must actually show-up and engage in the process for creativity to happen, but there are ways that make it easier. Small steps, structure, classes, partnering, creativity-coaching, all these things give the sometimes distracted creative seeker a container in which to thrive. (Marge is named after the sheriff in the film Fargo).
10. The Bodyguard:
Because of all the detractors to the creative process, there needs to be a willingness to ruthlessly protect the idea, the intention, and the time set aside for its work. This principle engages awareness of detractors and teaches how to employ the skills to overcome their disabling effect.
Based on the book, The Nine Modern Day Muses (and a Bodyguard): 10 Guides to Creative Inspiration by Jill Badonsky (originally published by Penguin/Putnam) Rights were purchased by the Modern Day Muses themselves and to illustrious 3rd edition is out!
The current edition of The Nine Modern Day Muses can be purchased here.
Jill's third book, The Muse is IN: An Owner's Manual to Your Creativity is here.
"O! for a muse of fire, that would ascend the brightest heaven of invention."