Some people hate the term “the muse”. They say that if you’re going to be a professional artist of some sort, you can’t sit around waiting to be inspired. And they’re right. But I do believe in the muse in the sense that I believe there’s a part of me it is that is creative and has the weird and wonderful ideas for books and comes up with the words and it’s a part of me I really don’t consciously control. And the longer that I am a professional writer (and writer does = artist for want of a better word), the more I believe it’s important to give that part of yourself a different outlet, one that’s just for fun. One that keeps your muse’s inner child happy so the adult bit can show up to work each day and get the job done. Even if you’re not a professional artist or someone trying to be a professional artist, I think that’s important. Maybe even vital. Everyone needs the thing that makes them happy.
For me, as I’ve said here before, that feeding of the muse comes from painting/sketching, photography, crafty things, cooking and (in sporadic fits and starts) pottering with my garden. Music is in there too but because I don’t play an instrument anymore, music is more passive. I consume, I don’t create. Well, there’s some car singing and serenading the cats going on but that’s still not that active. I also like to read about creativity and feeding that spark. Today, reading The Cramped a blog that’s largely about keeping notes by hand and notebooks and pens (yes, I am a stationery nerd), I came across a link to this talk about keeping notebooks by Austin Kleon. I’ve read his books Steal Like An Artist and Show Your Work and enjoyed them and yes, in this video he is promoting his new journal book but it’s got some great glimpses into the notebooks and processes of famous artists/writers/scientists and I like what he has to say. So I thought I’d share it here.
He also references a post by Roger Ebert about drawing no matter what your skill level, which you can find here (I liked the post and think it applies to any art form you want to do. Perfectionism is the muse crusher. So crush your inner perfectionist and let yourself suck with joy.)
Anyway, hope you find them as interesting as I did. And I hope you do something to keep the muse happy today. And, just for fun, a pic of my own stack of notebooks–writing, bullet journals, sketchbooks etc–for the last few years.