INSPIRATION. Creativity. Ideas. They’re coming fast and furious; you can hardly keep up. Your muse is whispering in your ear, and you are in love. With writing. With creating. With life.
Sound familiar? It should, as it’s the mythology of creativity we’ve all grown up knowing about: an image of the temperamental artiste who cannot create without the presence of his muse. Being in sync with one’s muse is the artist’s (the writer’s) high — a oneness of being, riding the wave of endorphins rolling and crashing against the rocks of reality, shaping the world through the power of creative insistence. As an artist, a writer, you might even say it’s what you live for.
But be honest. How often, if ever, have you actually had such an experience? If you are one of the lucky few who have, do you long for the adrenaline rush and feel empty and lost without it? If you haven’t, do you think that there must be something wrong with you? That perhaps you don’t have a muse, or that you’re just not a very creative person?
Depending on which version of history you read, there are nine muses — or three — or four. Muses, who personify the arts, are the daughters of the Greek gods Zeus and Mnemosyne. Or perhaps it was Zeus and Plusia, or Zeus and Uranus. No matter. As with all mythology, accounts vary as to numbers, names and specialties. The point is that we have the collective idea that inspiration is an external force that comes to us from without. That we are in fact nothing more than implements through which cosmic creative force is expressed.
But I think just the opposite is true; each of us contains and embodies the inspirational force from which all art is created. Among the muse mythologies, there are three muses named Melete (practice), Mneme (memory), and Aoide (song). These are my favorite because it is clear that these three sources of inspiration live within each of us. Inspiration is not an external force, but an internal one, informed by memory, song, and practice. Therefore, we can access creative inspiration by reaching within.Each of us contains and embodies the inspirational force from which all art is created Click To Tweet
How we access our inspiration varies from person to person, but I can share my favorite method with you and offer a few writing prompts to get you started developing a method of your own.
My favorite is to call the muse directly. This method is meditative and ritualistic and fun, and it sets the creative mood. Often, I start by lighting a small candle I keep on my desk. Then, I close my eyes and take several deep, slow, breaths, pausing for a few beats at the end of each inhale and exhale. I do this until I feel my heartbeat slow, and I feel present and peaceful. Then I call my muse. I have a little mantra, or prayer, that I speak aloud:
Dear muse, creative part of the Greater Being Within, come sit with me. Whisper love to me during my creative endeavors, when I am writing, thinking, imagining. Show me what is possible, and feed me tenderly with new ideas and ways of expression. Take me to new worlds and bring me back inspired. Let my eyes see through yours, my fingers work through yours, my imaginings travel the vast landscape you inhabit.
Then I begin my creative work. I call on Memory and Song (lyricism) and Practice, Practice, Practice. Though my muse is sometimes shy and makes me wait, in the end, she never lets me down.
Here are a few journaling prompts to get you started:
- How do you picture your muse? What does she look like?
- Describe your muse’s personality.
- What does your muse like and dislike?
- How do you know when your muse is present?
- Write a short letter (or poem or song) to your muse asking her to come for a visit.
- Write a short response from your muse.
Do you have a special way to call your muse? Please share.