Tag Archives: muse

Oh Muse, Where Art Thou?

Photo courtesy Nicole N

Inspiration.

Imagination.

Creativity.

All three are words attributed to the occasionally elusive creature called the Muse.

While us artist-types rely on the Muse to inspire our current artistic endeavors, we aren’t the only people with muses.  Everyone has creativity, and needs creativity to solve problems.

Through the creative process, we move through the mundane to come up with unique and original ideas.  We use this process every day, from when we determine an alternate route when our traditional route to work is blocked, to deciding what to have for dinner.

How creative we are is influenced by our intelligence, memory, personality, attitude, mental health, and physical health, among others.  While some of these factors are beyond our control, many of them aren’t.  By altering those over which we have control, we can sharpen and develop our creativity.  We can grow our muses.

Exercise

Exercise is one of the fastest ways to influence creativity, for several reasons.  First, exercise decreases the effects of stress by releasing endorphins which positively affect our mental health.  Positive mental health leads to a positive attitude.  A positive attitude leads to increased mental flexibility, which makes it easier to be creative.

Exercise improves every aspect of cognition, including creativity.  There is something about activating the right side of the brain that enhances creativity, and instead of trying to explain it, I’m giving you the link to a fascinating article about it here.

Work on Your Working Memory

Working memory is also called short-term memory.  It is the part of our brain that stores information for short periods of time so that we can manipulate the information to understand and reason what we saw, learned, etc…  Exercising your brain, whether through brain games, chess, word puzzles, etc… you can increase your working memory.

Become a Brainstorming Genius

In the article “How to Get Mindpopping Ideas,”  Michael Michalko likens creativity to the universe, and creative ideas to the subatomic particles found throughout.   He gives three ways to harvest all those millions of ideas and thoughts while brainstorming.

Photo by Free Digital Photos

Observe and record each thought as a possibility.  The key word here is observe.  Don’t place judgment or value to anything your subconscious brain puts forth.  When we judge the value of our thoughts, we snuff out creativity.

Become inclusive.  When brainstorming, accept every thought as important and potentially valuable, no matter how crazy or random it seems. Creativity is the combining of elements in new and unusual ways.

Keep a written record.  Writing down our thoughts and ideas moves them into long-term memory.  Even if we aren’t consciously thinking of the idea, our subconscious is, and will create more and more ideas.

What are some ways you increase communication with your muse?

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Writing for the Love of Writing by Gary Gauthier

 
Thoughts on Feeding Quality Material to a Voracious Muse

I have many friends who are artists, painters for the most part. For them, art seems to be a way of life. They sketch, draw and paint because it is second nature and they love what they do. It seems as though there is nothing else they would rather be doing.

Painting Woman Reading

Ivan Olinsky (1878 - 1962)

Many writers also love what they do. No one is paying us for all the blog posts we write. For many of us, the reward is the opportunity to share our ideas and talents and to simply belong to our wonderful community of fellow writers. As an added benefit, we also build a following and hope folks remember us.

Reading Is Part of the Job Description
One of the ways that writers develop their voice, prod their imagination and become more agile with language is to read, read again, and then read some more. One of my recent Life List commitments is to read two contemporary novels a month. So far, I’ve been keeping up and right now, I’m ahead of schedule.

My ongoing search to find worthwhile books to read inspired this blog post.

Choice Is a Luxury
I am mostly interested in mysteries and thrillers and my Ipad is filling up with them. Just recently, I stocked my electronic library with an additional ten new titles that warrant a second look. Many of them, I will end up reading sooner or later.

The Value of a Good Read
An important point is the cost of these books and how I find them. I use a very simple method and pay nothing for the books. I find new titles by searching twitter approximately three times a week for “free mystery” and “free thriller.” Among a handful of twitter results, I choose books on Amazon with four and five-star ratings that have well-written and convincing reviews.

During the past two months, I read two novels that are of very high literary quality and two others that were excellent and enjoyable reads. If this experience is any indication, I’ll be able to keep reading quality novels indefinitely and at no charge.

What This Means for Novelists
What does a proliferation of high-quality, free ebooks mean for authors who aspire to write fiction for a living? In my opinion it means you have to be talented and prolific.

Most of the recently-minted, “famous” authors we read about published at least ten books before they achieved their fame. If you are serious about writing for a living, at some point in your career, you may have to publish one or more books a year. You can also get lucky. The book you are working on can become a best-seller that lands you a movie deal. While this is great if it happens, this is not a plan you can take to the bank.

I Don’t Run Into Low-Quality Ebooks
Another observation of mine over this test period is that I didn’t encounter the “lots-of-bad-ebooks-out-there” experience that I keep reading about. Don’t get me wrong, I know they’re out there. The point is: I don’t run into them.

Here is a thought exercise. Do you constantly run into websites and blogs in which you have little or no interest, sites that feature low quality content filled with grammatical errors? Chances are, you solved that problem a long time ago. You’d probably have to pause for a moment if you had to find such a site on short notice.

If you find yourself investing too much time reading bad-quality ebooks, consider modifying how you decide which ones to read.

What’s your reading regimen like? How do you choose which books to read?

Gary GauthierGary Gauthier is working on his first novel, a crime thriller set in New Orleans just before Hurricane Katrina’s landfall. In real life, he works for a small publishing company no one’s ever heard of and that publishes books no one reads.

His blog, Literary Snippets, gives him an opportunity to express and share his appreciation for art and literature. He occasionally posts articles as well. Some of his favorite writers are Thomas Hardy, Charles Dickens, George Eliot, Nathaniel Hawthorne and Edgar Allan Poe. But this changes from time to time. Stay tuned! Follow him on Twitter, Facebook, and Google Plus.