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Be Mused by Susan M. Brackney
Be Mused : Lost: One Muse; Juicy Reward Offered

Be Mused

Lost: One Muse; Juicy Reward Offered

Sad BulbDear Muse,

Not so long ago it seemed like I was full of new and exciting ideas — things I wanted to do, see, create, etc. I was always coming up with new stuff. Of course, they weren't all great ideas but at least they were new and different. Whatever my muse used to be, it's gone now and I can't seem to get it back. I don't think I'm capable of one original thought. How I can kick-start my creative juices? — Beige on Beige

You'll kick-start your creative juices the minute you stop kicking yourself. You may not have noticed, but you've got a striking case of All-or-Nothing thinking, and that's one of creativity's most contemptible foes. Things are either black or white, up or down, always or never with no room left for electrifying fuchsia, slightly to the right, and once in a while respectively.

The language in your letter is all I have to go on, but it's plenty. You say that you always used to come up with new ideas. Surely you exaggerate. To be continually assailed by creative visions without rest… now wouldn't that be a kind of torture? Instead of always perhaps you meant to say that you often or regularly came up with some good ideas.

Now you also said that your muse is gone implying never, ever coming back. There is hope for you; for one thing, if you really believed that your muse left you forever, you wouldn't be inquiring about the possibility of getting it back would you?

Finally, you don't think you're capable of even one original thought? Well, Beige on Beige, it sounds like you've got a creative drop or two left. At least you didn't sign yourself "boring guy" at the end. Instead, you chose a moniker that is kind of refreshing and witty. Kind of original even. (Provided you came up with that on your own that is…)

Finding a less extreme way to describe your situation is the first step to making up with your muse. Try not to be quite so hard on yourself. Say something like, "Lately I haven't had as many creative ideas as I used to," and now we're getting somewhere.

Just as a withering houseplant might reflect household chaos, diminished creativity can signal some quiet, internal imbalance. It can be something as small as not sleeping well. Of course it can be something enormous, too; for instance, an incapacitating preoccupation with your finances, your love life, your…lack of creativity.

Ask yourself what's different about your life now verses the last time you were more creative. I guarantee something has changed. Think about what it is, and decide if you think it's a problem.

Lots of people are most creative when they are miserable. If that sounds like you, maybe things just happen to be going really well.

More often, though, creativity comes out of a relaxed and stimulated mind, and maybe yours is neither at the moment. In that case, turn off the TV and do something completely out of the ordinary.

Ride a horse, prepare a Mediterranean dish, wear a wig. Do what you must to restore your previous balance and your muse may return. •

© 2001 Susan M. Brackney. All rights reserved.

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