I’ve read several perspectives on the countless number of pointless distractions we often impose on ourselves as an avoidance tactic.(Hands down, the ironing of the underwear was my favorite.) And while I found those things valuable to recognize about ourselves, I wanted to take a few moments to shift gears and talk about productive diversions.
I think it stands to reason that very few (if any) of us can just sit down and complete something as daunting as a book without trouble. Now, the majority of people who are creatively inclined are also at the mercy of their Muse. Yes, the muse — that fickle, nebulous entity that skulks through your imagination, coming and going as it pleases like a haughty tomcat.(Okay, so my muse and I are not on the best terms at the moment.) We do what we can to coerce it into sticking around and making itself useful, but inevitably it seems to tire of us and disappear for hours, days, or weeks at a time. And so in our own ways we feel forced to take a brain break, grab a butterfly net, and go out looking for our wayward muse.
I’ve noticed that, for me, there are a number of AFK(Away From Keyboard) activities that recharge my mind or often result in the inspiration to push through a sticking point in my work. Among the mundane diversions are going out for a walk, indulging in a long bath(a rarity with small children roaming underfoot), sketching or painting, reading a book that is better written than any I’m likely to write, and driving to the grocery store for no apparent reason other than to roam the isles and hear the screaming of –other- people’s children.
The less mundane of my exercises seem to revolve around spontaneity and a change of scenery. For instance: Stopping by a private coffee shop and challenging the barista to ‘surprise me with something unique’… Randomly ducking into various tattoo parlors to examine the décor and quiz the staff on a particular design that I may or may not actually want…Loitering in Barns & Noble on off hours for the purpose of eliciting book reviews out of their more friendly looking workers…And of course, dressing up oddly or putting my children in Halloween costumes for no reason other than to go out in public and monitor people’s reactions.
All of these are inspirational diversions and, for whatever reason, they all seem to help me recapture my muse and haul it clawing and yowling back to my computer chair. But in reflecting on this it’s made me wonder, what activities do –you- engage in to recharge your creativity and will to press on towards the finish line?
On a more random but personally entertaining note: If you were to envision your muse as a real, tangible being, what would it look like? (The winner of this one could possibly earn a sketch of it.) For some reason, I always picture Weight Watcher’s ‘Hungry’ Puppet…only in more of an elusive-yet-sparkly black color. >.>