I sat down to write this post about courting the muses, yet the background sounds in the room were distracting me. So I pulled up my Writing Inspiration playlist on YouTube.
That reminded me of a song I wanted to add. One of my yoga teachers has been playing it in class lately, and I love it. I added the song, and then looked through the whole playlist, which is a work in progress.
I had some inspirations for other songs to add, which then led me down a lovely trail of music, mostly geared toward the novel I’m working on.
That’s how the creative life goes, some days.
Courting the muses means following the trail of inspiration, even when it doesn’t go where you thought it would.
The Muses, in ancient Greek mythology, were demi-goddesses whose inspiration spoke directly to poets and artists. In my work, I use the term “the Muses” to describe two things: 1. The inner wisdom that whispers to you about inspired actions and 2. anything (or anyone) that inspires you.
Your pets or your partner could be your muses. The unexpected ideas you get at 2 a.m. are from your muses. Nature is an excellent muse, as are books and art museums and songs and conversations with strangers.
Our inner muses often communicate with us through synchronicity, which is a term coined by Carl Jung to refer to those meaningful coincidences that pop up in our lives. You know the ones. Like when a friend mentions a musician you’ve never heard of, and then their music comes up on the radio, and a day later, you encounter them again in yet another context.
The muses are actually always speaking to our creative souls, in one way or another. If we refuse to listen or to heed their call to create, though, they may wander off for a time. They like to go where they’re needed and valued.
That’s why, especially when you’re beginning a new creative project or phase of life, it’s helpful to court them.
How do you best court the muses? Here are some ideas:
- Take time to get quiet. You can’t hear the whispers of your muses if your inner and outer surroundings are always filled with noise. Unplug for a bit. Take a walk outside with your notebook or sketch pad. Listen.
- Create without focusing on the outcome. Instead of worrying about how your creation will come out, deep dive into the process. Revel in the feeling of crafting something inspired.
- Try something new. Beginner’s mind can help you get beyond any blockages. Engage your Younger Self by taking a fun workshop, buying some new art supplies, or experimenting.
- Listen to the wisdom of your dreams. Whether in nighttime dreams or daydreams, our inner muses offer us clues and symbols leading to greater creativity. Pay attention to these signposts. Allow the whimsical nature of these hypnagogic states to guide your creativity. Create something based on a dream image or story.
- Set up a sacred container. The muses are more likely to visit you if you have regular time set aside for them. Make the time and space in your life to create. Think of it as a weekly date with your muses.
- Collaborate with uplifting people. Who are the people in your life who are prolific and joyful creators? Seek them out and spend time together. Collaborate. Trade ideas and share communities. If you don’t have any of these people around you, go out and meet some!
- If your creativity feels stalled, be playful. Remember, play is productive. Don’t take yourself and your creative work so seriously. Have fun with it!
Try some of these ideas and see what happens. For more tips, particularly if you’re being called to write a book, join my newsletter list. As a thank-you gift, I’ll send you my What’s Stopping You? quiz.