The Care and Feeding of Your Muse (How to Cultivate your Creative Side)

We all yearn for that flash of inspiration that pilots us through the next difficult chapter or short story. Yet our Muse is not the kind of creature to clock in at a regular schedule. Nor will it perform on an empty stomach. The care and feeding of your muse is essential if you want to cultivate your creative side.

Ray Bradbury wrote that in order for you Muse to help you out, “you must first offer food…. If we are going to diet our subconscious, how prepare the menu?”

Muses are Greedy and Ravenous

You can’t expect someone to work on an empty stomach, can you? Your Muse gets grumpy and hangry when it’s not feed. It wants to gorge itself on raw new details and juicy metaphors. It couldn’t care less about you and your new creative venture. 

A varied diet is best, doling out plenty of stimulation for your muse to chomp down on. Fiction and poetry is a good start, but don’t neglect a good essay or non-fiction piece. 

Look for ways to challenge and stimulate your brain. Study a new language, stroll through an art museum, or delve into some new music. Don’t simply feed your must the same old same old. Look for new and exciting meals to cultivate your inner creative spirit. 

Jot Down the Whispers

It’s so easy when you wake up and that new story idea smacks you in the face. But more often than not, your Muse will whisper to you. Tiny flickers of an idea that race through your mind so fast, they can vanish just as quickly as they arrives. 

You must gather these whispers and jot them down. Keep notepads or journals everywhere around you. Even the note function on your phone can help. You simply can’t waste these tidbits of inspiration. 

Keep the Routine

Just like an exercise regime is only as good as your consistent schedule, so too is the feeding of your muse. Keep regular reading habits so it won’t go hungry. Also journal regularly, as this will allow you to sort through those new tidbits to cobble together your next big idea. 

But remember, just because you’re keeping on a regular schedule, don’t expect your muse to deliver on a deadline. When you’re tired or stressed, your body and mind need time to recuperate. So, even if you’re not penning the next great story, you can be assured that you’re priming your muse to be ready when it counts. 

Tim Kane

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