Modern Day Muses

Creative Careers Interviews

A Conversation with Jill Badonsky: Author and Modern Muse Channeler

By Molly J. Anderson-Childers | Posted June 1, 2006 | Updated July 9, 2019

Jill BadonskyJill Badonsky, author of the inspiring creativity sourcebook, The Nine Modern Day Muses (and a Bodyguard), started her career in the arts at 16, as a camp counselor. She helped the kids create arts and crafts projects and "really goofy skits." This experience made her aware, for the first time, of her creative abilities. Since then, she has worked as an occupational therapist, yoga instructor, creativity coach, and author, facilitating creative art and writing workshops around the U.S. See Jill's many creativity features on Creativity Portal.

Q: What inspired you to become a creativity coach?

A: Three things came into play.

  1. I was an occupational therapist for 17 years. I saw the power creativity can bring to healing and moving us forward.

  2. I sought life coaching to help motivate me past procrastination to working on a one-woman play and a book. I noticed that coaching made me more resistant, and started to help the coach say things that wouldn't bring up creative rebellion in me. I was motivated to get this information out there so creative people could experience a type of coaching that honored their process. After creativity workshops, some people asked for individual coaching. Audaciously, I agreed. In the realm of coaching, I felt my most energy, inspiration and reward which seemed to be a sign that I was in the right place.

  3. After writing the Muse book, I had principles that easily translated into coaching tools. The results I've gotten in both coaching others and training others has exceeded my expectations.

Q: Who is your favorite Athenian Muse?

A: Thalia is my favorite Greek Muse because she is about comedy and playfulness. I believe playfulness is an elixir for the creative process in so many ways.

Q: Who is your favorite Modern-Day Muse?

A: I really love all of them but rely most frequently on Albert, the Muse of innovation and imagination. He has many strategies that make coming up with new ideas easy and fun AND he plays a part in exalting our existence by viewing it through creative spectacles.

Q: What is your biggest challenge as a creative soul?

A: I experience two big challenges (but many more rewards) in my daily creative approach. I am a highly sensitive, creative person. High sensitivity is common among creative souls, as a deep experience of emotions leads to plenty of energy, material, and motivation to channel them into art and writing. It can also use a lot of energy in an amplified experience of sadness, loss, self-consciousness and anger. The other issue is being organizationally challenged — it can be time consuming and expensive when checks are lost or materials are hiding.

Q: What are your plans for the future? Can we expect another book, more workshops, or something altogether different and surprising?

A: I am working on two books. "The Muses' Awe-manac" was just accepted by Running Press, and "The Nine Anti-aging Potions and a Spot Remover" is being formulated with help from my Muses. I'm planning more retreats for people interested in gathering with a tribe and experiencing more creative joy and less self sabotage. My Creativity Coaching took on a life of its own and is surpassing my expectations so I am complying with where it wants to take me.

Q: Describe your training program for creativity coaches.

A: I'd like to get the word about Kaizen-Muse Creativity Coaching out there, both to train coaches and to help clients. The tools Dr. Maurer and I have discovered make such a huge difference in people's lives. It's so rewarding to see how much they enjoy and respond to this approach. The vision of this coaching model is to respect the mystery of the creative process and the sensitivities of the creative person, prescribe tools that make adopting a creative habit easy, playful, nurturing, and captivating, and to make the session a creative experience in itself with guided imagery and containers for creative expression.

The creativity coach training program is 17 weeks long and includes training, a comprehensive training manual, creativity coaching, marketing support and an intensive training which has enabled the coaches in training to go deeper, with an unprecedented understanding and application of their own creative process. This is an accelerated program for people who have had some professional experience working with others, life coaches, therapists, human resource professionals, and expressive arts therapists are all good candidates for this program.

The Kaizen Muse Creativity Coaching (KMCC) Philosophy is as follows:

Empowering questions, intuitive reflections and the prescription of tools discovered and proven to honor the creative process, the idiosyncrasies, uniqueness, resistance and sensitivities experienced by creative individuals or any individual embarking upon the creative process, support, guide and inspire clients to make long lasting changes. Past successes, current strengths, and an on-going focus on what works, strengthen confidence and self-esteem vital to the creative process.

Kaizen-Muse guided imageries are instrumental in quieting distracting mental chatter and in cultivating imagination, intuition and inner wisdom. Guided imageries provide an experience and often a transformation during the coaching meeting, making the session more than an intellectual and linear exchange.

State of the art approaches that reshape the way the mind works establish lasting changes, and make creative living, thinking, and productivity easier. These tools move a client from procrastination to experiencing creativity as a habit that is comfortable, easy, and desirable. Frustrating creative blocks are at last solved and creative progress accelerates.

Tapping into and cultivating our child-like spirit liberates creativity. Kaizen-muse tools elicit play, humor, and uninhibited exploration as a part of the process. Tools that encourage the client to approach their passions with compassion and gentleness in mind, move clients that place relentless pressure on themselves into a more productive arena. "Kaizen Way" small steps, as described by Dr. Robert Maurer, are used to reshape thinking and action. Despite fears, self-sabotage, overwhelm, perfectionism, negative self-talk and low self confidence, perceived lack of time, difficulty focusing and well established habits that do not serve us, clients' habits are reshaped over a realistic period of time. Patterns of self-sabotage are disarmed with a coach-client relationship that understands no action between sessions is information not failure.

One of the goals of Kaizen-Muse coaching is to teach the client to follow inner intuitive creative clues rather than rigidly adhering to directions provided by teachers, books and other external sources. This helps the client unlearn academic habits where success did not include following intuitive "aha" moments that take a non-linear form. Creative ingenuity flourishes in a sphere that does not often follow academic requirements. Prescriptions are purposely creative, imaginative, sometimes playful, and often indirect in order to match and inspire the mystery and non-linear nature of the creative process.

Not all action in the creative process happens outwardly. Practicing thinking differently, focusing, mind sculpting and creative foreplay can all create important and powerful changes without any product being made or visible action being taken. When realities of creative resistance are discussed, a coach and client can be better aligned, the client can be more motivated to show up to sessions even when resistance emerges.

Kaizen-Muse believes that there are many gifts of creativity — action within the creative process results in more than just the product one is creating. We receive increased self-respect, control and confidence, and the delight that comes with flexibility of thought. The act of creation, the deep reward of sharing talents, unique points of view and insights with others is yet another gift. We learn better coping skills: acceptance, flexibility, resourcefulness, perspective, resilience, patience, and an even disposition. We receive a higher capacity for delight, awareness, and attention. We develop better concentration, healthy and rewarding outlets for challenging emotions and events, less preoccupation with worrying about what others think, more autonomy and power over life, and improvement and increased joy in every aspect of our lives.

Q: Do you have any advice for people who are trying to make the shift from "day job" to "dream job"? How did you create your fun, fabulous career?

A: I am a corporate drop-out. I went through a spiritual journey to get to where I am now, and every bit of it was worth it. I can't imagine working within the confines of a philosophy I don't believe in ever again. Take it one small step at a time… but stay steady. There's a place in all creative processes, including reinventing your career, where "creative chaos" happens. This is the place that separates the strong from the weak, and the passionate from the complacent. About 80% of people give up on dreams and creative pursuits when things get ambiguous, doubts arise, the process takes two steps back, no one shows up. It is the people that know that this is part of the creative process and keep going with determination, humor and a resourcefulness that comes from their authenticity that rise to the top with confidence, cunning and wisdom. Lay the groundwork before leaving your day job, write down all connections possible.

Q: What are some resources for artists and writers who want to create their own business?

A: "Living a Life Worth Living," by Carol Lloyd, is a very good book. Lee Silber also has several books that give good suggestions. If you do not have a business mind, as many of us writers and artists don't, I highly recommend that you find a good business consultant.

Q: I notice you have some creative workshops planned on your Web site. Expand on the practical aspects of planning and coordinating these events.

A: To me, this is part of the creative process. I apply to speak at many events and also plan my own. My first step in planning my own is to set a date. Deadlines seem to get things going. I write objectives, then consult my Muses to help me with the best part — planning the juicy activities. It's like planning a creative banquet; there are no limits! The more imaginative, the better.

Q: What are some of your favorite ways to beat writer's block?

A: Daydreaming, walking, listening to music, stream of consciousness writing, and pulling words randomly out of the dictionary also work very well. My Muse, Albert, has all sorts of suggestions about not starting with a blank page. I often look at someone else's structure and use it with my own subject matter and voice. Once I build momentum, I go off in my own direction. It's like solving a mystery.

Q: Do you ever feel deserted by the Muses? How can you invite them back into your creative life?

A: One of my Modern-Day Muses is named Lull, to personify the creative principle of letting go of the process every now and then. There are times when the creative process switches off for an upgrade. During this time, it's important to nurture connections with images, intellectual and spiritual stimulation, gratitude and a review of what's worked in the past. The Muses love it when mortals just relax, trusting that connections sometimes happen quietly in the subconscious. Feeding the mind and paying attention to little ideas as they emerge leads to new creative directions. An exploration of creative blocks can provide a powerful awareness of what can stop us, thereby giving us the consciousness to move beyond those blocks. There are so many different ways to re-enlist the Muses for various parts of the creative process, I have come to a point where I am never worried about inspiration.

Q: What is your favorite way to inspire yourself? Others?

A: I like taking a number of words, visuals, and thoughts and combining them to see what arises. I like to be surprisingly and playfully distinctive in coming up with ideas that entertain, amuse and inspire. My philosophy is that if you want to inspire creativity, you must show creativity, not tell it. The Modern-Day Muses show creativity by being personifications of principles with personalities, hobbies, quotes and exercises. It's more creative to approach the process through Muses than it is through dry principles. people just loosen up, "play along with the Muses," and all of sudden notice that creativity has become effortless.

Learn more about Jill Badonsky by visiting

©2006 Molly J. Anderson-Childers. All rights reserved.

Next: Interview with Joan Lefkowitz, Founder of Accessory Brainstorms

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