Sleepless nights with my muse

We all experience sleepless nights.

I’m not talking about having a baby cry every other hour in the next room or a roommate who insists he doesn’t snore. I’m talking about the buzzing brain that won’t quiet until it can create.

Some people personify their creativity as a muse. I don’t always do this, but sometimes I imagine my muse as a little character in my head, a lot like Disney and Pixar’s Inside Out.

Sometimes I neglect my muse and she tugs at ideas in my brain.

She knocks over the old-timey color-coded drawers and flings the individual ideas out of them, one page at a time. Each idea floats from the top of my brain to its floor, falling on top of one another and piling up in a discombobulated mess. My muse picks up various ideas and reads them off to me, shouting. When I turn over in bed, she tosses that idea and grabs another idea to shout at me. On and on until I get out of bed with a quiet huff.

I can be exhausted, but still, my muse makes a mess of things in my brain. She tells me I haven’t let her out in a while like an unruly puppy. I can’t ignore a puppy. I must feed, water, and exercise it at least daily.

Over the past few years, I’ve come to the conclusion that my muse usually acts up when I skipped my workout that day. *gasp* I don’t mean a rest day, but instead an “I was lazy and slept in like a bum” day.

My needs to create and move are intertwined!

I’m not exactly sure how my creativity and fitness are linked, but I know when I fuel both of those needs – mind and body – both my muse and my desire to move stay happy in their respective corners in my brain. But when I neglect one or even both, my mind turns my body against me. My brain buzzes with obnoxious activity and my legs literally ache. I’m forced to either go for a run or write in a notebook until my brain is satisfied and calms down, allowing me to finally get some sleep.

Take it from my experience: don’t ignore your muse.

Ignoring my muse’s shouting only fuels her frustration, and the ideas pile so high in my head that I continue to toss and turn for hours. When I get out of bed, grab my notebook, and pour out all of those pesky ideas onto the page, I feel a sense of relief. My muse curls up in her corner of my brain and we both are able to fall asleep.

My challenge for you this week is to think about your muse. Does she nag you when you’re trying to sleep? Does she choose your days of activity or inactivity to bother you the most? How does your muse relate to your health and fitness? Let me know in the comments and then do something to make your muse happy.

For extra credit, listen to “My Muse” by Sarah Jarosz at (I just really love her music.)

Wedding advice for life and creativity

When I first started planning my wedding, I continued writing. I told myself I could do it. I could juggle two jobs, plan a wedding, workout, and nurture a slowly budding writing career, right?

Fast forward one year during our two-year engagement and I realized I couldn’t do it all and sleep. Solid wedding advice crept to the surface. A wise coworker told me:

“Choose three things that matter to you the most. Focus on those three things and only those three things. Then assign everything else to someone else or don’t worry about it.”

At the time her words echoed in my head during a chaotic day at work, I had two of three big things set in stone for my wedding. But in my life? I was trying to run on nearly dead batteries. So I decided to choose three things to focus on in life—writing was not one of them, and that’s okay.

If you’ve never planned a wedding before, you’re probably horrified that I would give up on my creative outlet for a year. The thing is, I didn’t. One of my jobs is in communications, so I still wrote and edited daily. Plus, I continued to read and attend my monthly writing group.

Here’s what I chose to focus on for that year, but your list may be different:

  1. My jobs. During this time, I changed jobs and got a promotion. This was vital to my career and financial health. I never wanted to be a starving artist.
  2. Working out. This was (and still is) my stress reliever and creativity inducer. Being physically healthier made me mentally healthier. Plus, I wanted to look good in my dress on my wedding day. There’s no shame in that.
  3. Wedding plan. Duh. I couldn’t afford a wedding planner (see 1) and who else but my fiancé and I could plan our own wedding, anyway?

Now that we have said our vows, the cake has been eaten, and my name is legally changed, I’m glad I focused on three things during our second year of engagement. Wedding planning is like another job. And now that that third job is done and our lives are back to normal (whatever that is), I can replace number 3 on my list to “Write, edit, repeat until published.”

Don’t fret if your creative time is nonexistent or negligible.

It’s just like working out or planning a wedding—you have to carve out time from your busy schedule to be creative. Maybe you’re charging your creative batteries right now, and that’s okay. Sometimes life does get in the way. But don’t let life stay that way. Your babies will grow. Your classes will end. Your body will heal. Take your creative life back when the time is right. For me, that time is now.

Happy creating (or charging)!

Friendship Boot Planter DIY

Here is a great idea to celebrate a special friendship in your life. Find a pair of worn out boots and fill with your favorite flowers. One of the boots is for your friend while the other is for you. Friends are the flowers in the garden of life. Beginning with a seed of trust, nurtured […]