The Muse Excuse
There is no muse. It’s a great romantic concept, but there is no muse. Nothing is going to come out of nowhere and smack you upside the head with creativity; “Waiting for creativity” is a beginner’s excuse.
If you are a painter, you may see a flower or a sunset or a goofy smile, and file that in a stack of beautiful images inside your brain. But when you get out your brushes and paints and palette, what comes out is talent, technique, and experience. Knowing how to translate those images in your head into brushstrokes, color choices, and textures. Muscle memory. Light and shadow. Shade and hue.
When you’re in pursuit of something creative, it’s so easy to say that you are waiting for your muse. Waiting for creativity to strike. It’s a bullshit excuse, full of fear. (Because if you’re working without your muse, you’re going to output crap, right?) At the same time, when you drop everything in the name of “your creative moment”, you’re not following your muse. You’re procrastinating, avoiding whatever it is you’re *supposed* to be doing.
If you’re a creative professional, you learn this pretty quickly. Deadlines and clients don’t wait for your muse. But what if you’re not? What if you just need to make some progress your project?
- Do the worst possible work you can. You don’t have to put it out there—you can throw it away—but you have to do it.
- Brush up on your technique. No matter what your creative flavor, there are basic skills that need to become second nature to you before your output can flow naturally. Take a class, read a book, or learn by doing (see point 1)
- Accept where you are in the process. On-demand creative output takes practice, time, and work.
- Find something that inspires you. A fragrance, a beverage, a location, a memory that relaxes you and lets you create in your chosen medium.
- Sit down with your fear. Have a cup of tea. Tell it to fuck off, and do it anyway. You don’t need a muse to do amazing work. If you put what you have—who you are—into it, it will be faboo.
And hey – don’t believe me? Ira Glass says so!