Refueling the Muse

You’ve been writing faithfully in your journal for months now. Making handmade bound journals for all your friends and relatives on their holidays and even been sketching daily doodles in your HipsterPDA. You’re a creative person and everything you do has a unique twist that’s unmistakably your style, down to the socks you're wearing. So what happens when the muse battery runs dry? What are you supposed to do when you go to your studio, fully intent on knitting a new pair of socks, or writing a story, and instead of being met by your muse... you feel your body slump in the chair and all you think you can do is google for zombie videos for hours on end.

Sounds like your muse is running on empty. Time to take a break and recharge. Read on for more ideas on how to refill those creative batteries when you feel like you’ve hit rock bottom or the muse has gone on vacation and left you alone with nothing better to do.

Recharging creativity is a common occurrence in the art world. I know because it happens to me all the time. I write during the day at work, and more often than not, I can be found writing or making art at night. I tend to rotate through a lot of projects from writing to altering books and web sites. While I love having lots of fun things to do, this madcap style of projecting tends to burn me out quickly. When this happens, I find I need to do something else that’s not related to getting my artistic projects done before I can lift a paint brush to work on them again.

Recharging your creativity means switching gears and focusing on something else for awhile. It doesn’t mean abandoning the painting you just started. “For me, recharging is doing something meditative and usually physical,” a friend of mine said when I asked her how she recharges her creative batteries. Another friend of mine told me that she enjoys listening to music and shifting things around until her muse provides her with a image in her head and she has to start working on that project.

When I need to recharge my batteries and get re-inspired, I do the following:

  • Read inspiring design books. I have a lot of interesting design books that I love to shift through and peruse. Sometimes just looking at all the pretty images gets me inspired and ready to tackle on a project.
  • Go window shopping at the bookstore or mall. This method is a bit dangerous for me because I tend to buy more books than I have time to read them all, but just getting out and seeing what others have produced sometimes gets me back in the mood to produce great art.
  • Take a bath. Some of my best ideas have come from after de-stressing in the bath tub for a half hour.
  • Surf the web mindlessly. (And yes, I really did spend an hour on google video surfing for zombie videos when I should have been writing this article)
  • Play World of Warcraft or other video games. Games are a great way to lose yourself in another world and give your mind a break on all it does at the same time. Playing World of Warcraft for hours entertains me and helps me to distance myself from all the creative road blocks I sometimes get myself into.
  • Chat online with my friends (or on the phone). Sometimes it helps to get a second or third opinion on why you’re not painting and what you can do to get the creative juices flowing. Friends are also great idea generators. They love hearing ideas and taking them to new and weird levels.
  • Go outside. Take a hike, let nature inspire you. Do some gardening, trim the weeds and cut the grass. Not only is it good for your health but switching from making books to designing a flower bed can recharge your batteries and get your house looking good.
  • Dance. Turn on the stereo and crank up the volume. I love writing to music and occasionally will get out of my chair and dance. Sometimes I’ll even stay in my chair, while at work, and dance as well.
  • Visit the zoo or a museum. Watch how the animals act and when you come home write or draw them. Go to the museum and look at your favorite paintings, or discover a new artist. Let their works help inspire new techniques for you to try in your own artistic endeavors.
  • Nap. I'm a sucker for a good nap. If you're constantly on the go and aren't getting enough rest, your creativity also feels tired and sluggish. A good nap not only helps your body and mind but the dreams you have may help inspire you to write your next story.

The list could go on and on and on. The possibilities are endless. Writers and Artist’s block does strike and so does feeling like the muse has gone on permanent vacation. When this does happen, don’t fret or worry. Sometimes shifting your attention away to another thing helps to refill those creative batteries right back up. The important thing to remember is that it does happen and you can get the muse back. Just walk away, focus on something else and then come back to it when the muse returns. Do you want to add any of your favorite recharge techniques? Feel free to post them in the comments and let me and everyone else know some good ways to recharge the creative batteries

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Duracell Muses Run upto Five Times Longer...

A timely article innowen, as you know my muse is well and truely drained. ;) Hmmm for me it would be music, a walk in the park and eating ice cream from my grail shaped bowl. :D

My Muse

Good article.

World of Warcraft. My problem is I tend to play games too much. Though perhaps the problem is I feel guilty because I'm not writing and when I sit down to write I can't think of anything to write. It's a Vicious cycle.

One way to reduce your time with WoW

Here's an excellent reason to cut down on your WoW gaming. The BBC news web site is carrying this item on programming errors in animated cursors in Microsoft Windows. You might want to read the article, which has the catchy headline of Cursor hackers target WoW players! Once read follow the link to Microsoft, read their advisory, follow the link to the update(s). Every user of Microsoft Windows is obligated to install those bug-fixes.

Back when I did pro bono IT support for a charity and its supporters (approx 1,000 people) I encountered exactly one who bothered to keep up with the security updates issues from Microsoft. The other "999" experienced all sorts of viral infections and other bizarre things --- over and above the peculiarities that are normal Windows "functionality". Not installing such updates is akin to holding a match to your planner pages to see if they catch alight.