Friday, November 23

How To Become More Creative: Nurturing Your Muse

How To Become More Creative: Nurturing Your Muse

If the first rule of writing is "writers write" then a close second is "writers read".

I haven't been reading. Sure, there are reasons--too busy, don't want to use it to procrastinate, haven't found a book I love, and so on--but for the past few days getting my 2,000 words a day for NaNoWriMo has been like an exercise in self-torture.

Yesterday I had one of those 'light bulb' moments where I realized my problem might be that I haven't read enough, so I downloaded a book from my local library and started reading. Or, to be precise, listening.

Perhaps I shouldn't admit this, but I stayed up till 7 am listening to that book! I just couldn't stop. I think my muse was starving.

Nurturing Your Muse

This is why, for my second post today, I want to talk about ways to nurture the muse within us all.

The following is from a post over at The Creativity Post called 101 Tips on How to Become More Creative by Michael Michalko.
1. Take a walk and look for something interesting.

3. Open a dictionary and find a new word. Use it in a sentence.

6. Create the dumbest idea you can.

7. Ask a child.

10. Create an idea that will get you fired.

11. Read a different newspaper. If you read the Wall Street Journal, read the Washington Post.

14. What is your most bizarre idea?

15. List all the things that bug you.

16. Take a different route to work.

22. Doodle

24. Go for a drive with the windows open. Listen and smell as you drive.

40. Daydream.

50. Eat spaghetti with chopsticks.

51. Make the strange familiar.

52. Make the familiar strange.

55. Wear purple underwear for inspiration

63. When you wake write down everything you can remember about your dreams.

69. Talk to a stranger.

75. Change your daily routines. If you drink coffee, change to tea.

85. Learn to tolerate ambiguity.

86. What have you learned from your failures? What have you discovered that you didn’t set out to discover?

87. Make connections between subjects in different domains. Banking + cars = drive in banking.

90. Hang out with people from diverse backgrounds.

96. Sit outside and count the stars.

99. Cut out interesting magazine and newspaper pictures. Then arrange and paste them on a board making a collage ...
I hope your muse is well-fed and willing to help spin your tales! If you have any tips you'd like to add, please do. :-)

Other articles you might like:
- For NaNoWriMo: 10 HarperCollins Books On Writing For $1.99 Each
- Writers: How To Use Permanently Free Books To Increase Sales
- The Nature of Creativity: Science And Writing: Don't Edit Yourself

Photo credit: "untitled" by 416style under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0.


  1. Hey Karen, found you via Twitter and so glad I did. Thank you for this post. These are great ideas for freeing up the creative juices. I agree with you on the books thing. I've been writing for a while, and I went for too long without reading (plenty of reasons, same as you mentioned), and only just recently had one of those light bulb moments too. I finished three books in two days! Muse, starving, yes. ;) Thanks for reminding me of how that helped!

    1. Thanks for your comment Megan, hearing folks say things like that is why I love blogging. :)

  2. Excellent advice here Karen. I'm still chewing on #85: Learn to tolerate ambiguity. Hmm.

    I definitely think taking a walk, reading, or engaging in some other creative focus can help with writing. I just read a book that I had been putting off for months. It was 750 pages and very slow-moving, but I was so fed up with writing and revising my own books that I HAD TO read SOMETHING ELSE. I dove in and had it finished in less than three days. I guess I really needed that. I also find I get cranky if I don't play my guitar every few days :-)

    1. I'm glad I'm not alone! And great advice about putting down ones writing occasionally and doing something else creative.

      Jamie, it's interesting you need to play your guitar every few days, I'm like that too, but with crafts. Currently I have a passion for making my own books (binding blank pages together, fashioning a cover, etc.) and it's almost like an itch under my skin if I'm away from it for too long.

      Thanks for your comment :)

  3. How odd - I hadn't quite connected it, but since I've started a new round of world building/plotting, I've started sketching and painting again. I wouldn't be terribly surprised if one is feeding the other. Thank you for the food for thought!

    1. I'm glad I'm not alone! Thanks for the comment Corie and best of luck with your world building/plotting.


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