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Who or What is your Muse?

November 24, 2010

I’ve been musing about muses. According to the Free Dictionary, a muse is:

  • Any of the nine daughters of Mnemosyne and Zeus, each of whom presided over a different art or science.
  • A guiding spirit.
  • A source of inspiration.

The nine daughters of Mnemosyne were considered patron goddesses or muses for the arts. Their mother was the goddess of memory and her name, Mnemosyne, comes from the Greek noun for memory, or “having mental power.” The verb “muse” means to think or  meditate and, often, this is when inspiration strikes.

I read about the nine muses in Steven Pressfield’s new book, “The War of Art,” in which he discusses how resistance keeps us from creating. Muses can help combat that resistance. I highly recommend this book if you are an artist of any kind. Pressfield invokes his muse every day before he writes with a little prayer. For more on these nine muses, see my new page on Squidoo – Nine Muses of Greek Mythology for Artists.

My muses tend to be books (actually the authors that write the books), soul friends, nature, or music. Just this weekend, I read about a photography project in a magazine that made me start thinking about a project of my own. I have a friend who writes poetry and we get together every year to spark our creatives juices. But then, you have to actually get busy and produce. I like to have silence and I turn off email and get away from the phone. Then, I give myself a chunk of time and a goal for what needs to be done.

Here are some ways to invoke the muse.

  • Music (baroque, rock, country – whatever works!)
  • Meditation or prayer
  • Inspirational or spiritual reading
  • Exercise or walking
  • Silence
  • A block of time without distractions
  • A goal
  • Just do it

By the way, Seth Godin just published a post today on where ideas come from. A similar subject presented in a more practical way.

How do you invoke your muse? Do you have a muse? Tell me.

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