The Care and Feeding of a Muse


This is not the way we had imagined it to be. . .

When we first come to our art, we came to it filled with hope, secret wishes, and visions of unseen worlds.  We imagined our muse taking us gently by the hand and whispering inspiration into our ear as we recreated those ancient truths with our art. . .

Of course what we didn’t realize at the time, is that our muse has over the years become almost as jaded and lazy as we are. It’s not that she doesn’t care, but she has simply seen all of this far too many times.  After all, how many countless “artists” throughout history have woken her from her slumber, only to later abandon her to pursue more material ambitions.  

There is magic to effacing our human arrogance and humbly entreating help from a source we cannot see, hear, or touch ~Steven Pressfield

This is the reason our muse no longer shows up immediately when sit down at our easel, tune our instrument, or start tapping on our computer keyboard. She senses that we are there waiting for her, but instead of rising, she turns over and falls back into her dreamless sleep knowing that the majority of these seekers will be gone when she awakes.

There are always a few stubborn creative souls, however, who persist.  These are the ones who continue to type, paint, play, and silently whisper their incantations because they know that eventually she will heed their call.  Now lying awake in her bed, she can feel the compelling tug of these familiar souls, but still she resists because she knows how this story will inevitably end.

After an hour or two of dancing in creative circles not yet knowing which way to go, our muse becomes unable to ignore the ancient incantations any longer.  She now silently stands beside us and begins to whisper softly to that deeply hidden spark of divinity within us.  Slowly her silent words begin turning and shaping our thoughts, until at last they merge with the consciousness of that universal river where so many before us have stood.

Clutching our primitive tools, we clumsily attempt to describe what we see.  The words, the notes, the colors all seem to fail us, but we continue our work frantically, hoping to capture some small part of this vision before it disappears back into the faded mist of our mind.  We desperately try to hang on to what we have witnessed, but soon only scattered fragments remain.

Reluctantly, we pack up our paints, wipe down our guitar, and save our files — knowing there is nothing left to be said.

Tomorrow we will gather our tools once again and attempt to prove ourselves worthy of the call. . .

How do you care for and feed your muse?

What rituals or routines do you find yourself doing daily to attract your muse?

How long are you willing to work/wait before you give up on a particular day?

What do you do to make your workspace or studio a more creative environment?

  • Paintings/Books/Instruments
  • Music
  • Pictures of Mentors
  • Meditation/prayer
  • Specific Food/Drink
  • Candles
  • Talismans (ex. I once knew a writer who refused to write anything unless he was wearing a particular sweatshirt even if it was 95 degrees outside)

Tell us what you do! (we promise not to laugh) ;)


.Image Courtesy of Wegs

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About the Author

Writer, teacher, and head custodian of the Skinny Artist community. His book “Getting Creative: Developing Creative Habits that Work” is all about finding the time (and energy) to live a more creative life.

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