Fellow creatives … I’m curious? How do you work? How do you play with your muse?

Do you schedule your time during a set range of hours and invite the muse to this time and space?

Or do you wait for her to appear and then flow with her?

Both? Something different?

I ask because I have some ways to work within the structure and allow for flow. And to have the flow but contain it.

I try to schedule set work hours where I’m working on creative projects. Usually during the day. You know, regular business hours. But sometimes when I’m trying to create something — a logo, edit photos, write content for marketing, etc … — it feels forced and perfunctory. Not all the time but enough of the time.

On the flip side, I often find that it’s when I’m outside of the work hours, when the “work day” has ended or is wrapping up, that the muse wants to come out and play. I’m often in the middle of something totally mundane, like cooking or cleaning or showering — proof that there is magic in the mundane. This post is the result of a creative lightning bolt while chopping brussel sprouts.

Anyway, by this time though I’m done being on the computer, or I’m cooking and can’t play at the moment. So how do I contain this creative urge and all of it’s magic and save it for later? Sometimes, I do just stop what I’m doing and follow the muse. Sometimes, I sit back down at the computer and keep going. I mean, downloads come when downloads come.

How do we deal with this because clearly there’s a yin and yang with creativity. How can we be productive and receptive?

Here are my thoughts and what I plan to do.

Intentionally Start My Business Day

I’m going to intentionally start my business day with a ritual to open up, be receptive and invite the muse to play during this creative work time. It could roll something like this: Before I power up my laptop, set my workspace up and then stop, breathe, ground and center into my day. And I’m just going to ask the muse to join me. Who knows what an intentional invitation could bring about?!

Plan the Creative Idea

I’ll engage with the muse by writing down the ideas, thoughts, and save them for the regular work hours creating time. Basically have it all planned out and then execute it during my work day. I’ve actually done this a bit recently and it’s almost like the creative idea gets to steep until the next work time.

Try an Alternative Schedule on Some Days

I’m also going to look at my daily schedule in some alternative ways. I’ve also been doing this a bit. For example, I do the self-care thing in the am then work from about 10-3:00. Then I take a break and get outside (when it’s nice out) or do some yoga. After that is early dinner. THEN I sit back down and do some creative work. Whether it’s the planning from the idea above or actual designing or editing. I’m still trying to break 35 years of Monday-Friday 9-5 routine. It’s such an old paradigm but damn it’s ingrained. The idea though is to have some flexibility in the schedule to allow for both productive time and receptive time.

Ultimately, I think we all need to find the ways we, as individuals work best. There are plenty of ways to approach it and I think knowing ourselves, being grounded while open to innovative ideas and being ok with giving into the play time are the keys to getting there.