I have been meaning to share some videos and articles with all of you that I’ve seen recently and found inspiring and helpful, if for no other reason than to let me know I’m not alone in the struggle to grasp hold of the elusive muse.

First is a good article my husband sent me on getting started with any new pursuit. Apparently the key is… just to start. A revelation, right? I think he was trying to inspire me to read up on PHP/MySQL and teach myself programming languages (so that I can become a web developer like him, which is his solution to all my career-related existential angst), but it works for any overwhelming-seeming creative endeavor, be it writing, painting, teaching yourself boring programming languages… You can’t get anywhere until you start.

This is definitely true. Nothing begets action like action. I discovered that at the beginning of this year when I set myself the challenge of painting daily. Yeah, so it didn’t quite pan out daily, but just the act of forcing myself to paint more frequently, whether I felt like it or not, has made me infinitely more productive and prolific than I have been in years. Not everything has been a gem, and there is something to be said for divine inspiration and ‘feeling it’ – I invariably paint and write better on those days when I feel compelled to do it. But I also know that if I don’t do it those times when I’m not so keen on starting, I will likely not have the energy or confidence when the muse does turn up; forcing yourself to be active keeps you active. So the advice just to start is good advice indeed.

I found the comparison of van Gogh’s drawings two years apart quite interesting to see too. But then, van Gogh is the ultimate example for us artists of rewards out of humble beginnings, perseverence, and dire depression. It is a shame that he only found fame and fortune after he died. And that his life was so miserable. It sucks to be creative, sometimes…

Second on my list is a video on TED by the author of Eat Pray Love, Elizabeth Gilbert, talking about nurturing creativity and ‘genius’. It’s an entertaining little video. She talks about the fear and struggle involved with being an artist because of the fickle quality of inspiration and ‘the muse’ and doing work that has to come out of thin air. I think this talk is especially apropos to my blog, as she believes in The Muse and knows she’s a pain to summon sometimes!

Lastly, John Cleese gave a talk to a group of Belgians about nurturing creativity as well that is quite practical. In it, he gives some tips for things that help to foster a creative mindset. What could be better? Monty Python on creativity?! 😉

I hope these articles and videos can be of some use to someone else out there who might be struggling a bit with their own creativity.