“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 free you from creative blocks and lead you gracefully and gradually into a life filled with creative abundance. Instead of approaching them as dry principle personifying these principles in the form of Muses (and a Bodyguard) can make them more accessible, fun, and enticing.
“Muse” in this regard is used to describe a relationship with the creative self - our self-talk is crucial to both our creative success and our happiness. The goal of having a creative principle as a Muse, is to generate and/or activate thoughts and techniques that make creativity easier and life more fulfilling.
The personification of principles as Muses calls upon the same imagination, playfulness, and kid-like spirit that is important in the creative process. 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 represent a powerful creative tool and strategy that can be used without the Muse label.
Principles and their personified Muse in a nutshell:
1. Aha-phrodite, The Muse of Paying Attention
Paying attention is crucial to the mindfulness that is vital to both creativity and happiness. Paying attention includes to the possibility of a moment, the connections and associations that create ideas, what works, what feels good. Paying attention includes: observation, intuitive directions questions, shifting thoughts to possibility and away from fear and the ego, embracing inspiration with laser focus, writing down the idea before it disappears. Our capacity for delight is in direct proportion to our ability to pay attention.
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. It also provides the perspective that can see the world in a more favorable light.
This principle encourages modification, connection, free association, reframes, 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 essential 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 required 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. It reminds us to surround ourselves with those people who believe in us.
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 understood as essential and is made easy and enticing - progress and joy are 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). Audacity is believing in our unique authenticity enough not to be hindered by others.
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. Do you need to put your process down for awhile?
8. The Shadow Muse, The Muse with Gifts From the Darkside:
This principle is the technique of understanding our dark sides for their potential to inspire art, for the freedom it gives us to accept ourselves as human apologetically 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. Procrastination, resistance, and feelings of overwhelm come in the way of the creative seeker and follow-through 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
"O! for a muse of fire, that would ascend the brightest heaven of invention."