Nine Modern Day Muses

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Kaizen-Muse Creativity Coaching™ Stories

Are You Your Audience?

Individuality is Characteristic of the Creative Thinker

By Jill Badonsky, MEd | Updated February 17, 2019

ButterflyIndividuality is a characteristic of the creative thinker. Individualists are more concerned with following their passion than with how they look.

After I wrote it, I was determined to get my book, The Nine Modern Day Muses (and a Bodyguard): 10 Guides to Creative Inspiration for Artists, Poets, Lovers and Other Mortals Wanting to Live a Dazzling Existence published, so I hired a book coach. The coach informed me that the title was too long — I needed a title that better explained what the book was about and the benefits to the reader. She told me that the whimsical fonts and graphics (and all the mistakes in my first self-printed version) would instantly win me a rejection. I really didn't like hearing these things. I did some pouting. But would I call my book Creative Principles: 10 Ways to Help You Through Your Blocks? Nope.

Not completely confident about my grammar, I handed the book to a copy-editor to check. She took my creative run-on-poetic-cream-cheese-with-olives-loose-association-having-a-one-night-stand-with-a-tangent style-of-writing and "corrected" it. She took my incomplete sentences. And completed them. I felt like my writing had been stripped of its inventiveness. So I quickly changed her corrections back to my original writing because it no longer read with the fun I had with writing it.

I thought to myself (in run-on sentence form), "If I need to change the title and take the fun out of the writing, never mind publishing conventionally, I think I'll just publish the book myself because it is after all, a book on CREATIVITY so I'm thinking MAYBE it can be DIFFERENT." Two months later an agent grabbed the original version and within two weeks, five of the biggest publishing houses in New York were bidding for it. Penguin/Putnam bought it for an advance topped the amount than my agent predicted by many thousands of dollars. The editor LOVED the title, asked for the fonts I had used so they could use them too, and corrected very little of the text. Including. Incomplete and run-on sentences.

Inadvertently, I had followed the advice of one of the Muses I wrote about — a Muse called Audacity. One of Audacity's favorite things to say is, "If everyone likes what I do, I haven't gone far enough." Her point is not to purposely do things that someone might not like, but to not be stopped by trying to please everyone. To be true to yourself.

Another character from the book who came into play was the Bodyguard. To protect ourselves from a rudderless voyage that is subject to the winds of everyone's opinion, we must stand strong with what we truly want. Conviction attracts attention. The good kind.

Whenever I get blocked when I'm writing books or articles, it's usually because I'm thinking about whether I'm doing it right, or whether anyone will like what I'm doing. As soon, as I shift back to making it fun for ME, I fly into flow. The other side of the Audacity quote is that there IS an audience for all of us. I'm unique but I'm not SO unique that if I like what I'm doing, there won't be an audience of my tribe out there will also enjoy my work. You have an audience too. Our audience loyalty needs to begin with ourselves.

With that said, listening with our gut to advice and suggestions truly can move us ahead if the advice or critique resonates with our intuition and not our neurotic insecurities. There's a difference. One comes emanates from a beautiful reverberation of "yes" in the body and the other comes from a frantic sense of anxiety in our mind.

Staying true to your idea may or may not result in a commercial success, but the simple act of staying true to yourself IS success. Success in the realm of adding another building block to your individuality which can serve you now as self-respect and down the line because you are developing robust self-confidence — a necessary ingredient for liberated creativity. There's a part of your spirit that is fortified when it feels you are acting more in its court than in the sphere of public opinion.

There will always be people who easily give us an opinion based on what's worked before, but learning to rely on our own intuition and common sense is not only liberating but it also feels REALLY, REALLY good.

Liberating Creativity Questions

Rely on your own intuition and common sense. Ask yourself:

  • What are you undeterred about on your creative path?
  • Where else can you be undeterred?
  • What makes up YOUR individuality?
  • Ask the small question: What's one small unique thing I can do today that is truly ME?
  • Can I give myself permission to do it?

Okay, now reread those questions, but this time consider answering them (if you didn't answer them the first time). Let that be the first step in beginning to embrace individuality.

Just one last whittle thing:
He who trims himself to suit everyone will soon whittle himself away. —Raymond Hull

©2011 Jill Badonsky. All rights reserved.

Next: Finding Your Own Audience