Melanie was querying her readers on what they do to inspire their creative muses, and it got me to thinking about my own relatively feeble attempts at writing creatively or introspectively: Just what is it that moves me, causes me to 'pick up my pen?'
I try to write every day. I find that even just jotting notes about the events of the day in a journal (even just "it was 74 degrees and humid; new fabrics arrived" types of notes) helps me maintain a routine of writing. I keep a notebook (spiral bound, nothing fancy) for this purpose and I have a lot of them.
My "creative" writing really only takes a couple of forms. I'm not trying to write a novel, for example, tho' I'll admit I've had one bouncing around the edges of my brain for a number of years. It will no doubt stay there...because essentially, I am an essayist.
I've been known to write the occasional piece for our newspaper's commentary section, but those have to be penned when I'm incensed and agitated about a subject. Firey, opinion-swaying language just doesn't seem to flow unless I'm inspired by some injustice. I cannot force myself into "change the world" mode at a moment's notice, and I really do try hard not to raise my blood pressure, so you will not find me earning my living as a op-ed journalist anytime soon!
Mostly though, I try to write my thoughts, jumbled and chaotic as they sometimes are. And I try to do that every day. Discipline, I learned when I was training in ballet, makes a world of difference creatively. Most of what I write is bunk and gets trashed. Sometimes it shows up here (some of it still bunk!). Occasionally something with substance stays on my computer for later.
But I can tell you (and Melanie) that the things I've found that nurture my muse are really rather simple: any creative activity (like knitting or sewing, especially involving fully saturated colors!), moments of meditation and yoga (it used to be walking meditation), physical or emotional pain, a moment's sudden natural beauty (such as a shaft of sunlight through the cloudy, gray gloom or the sight of a male cardinal in the snow), and any feeling of love, be it romantic or not: seeing my grandsons' unfettered delight in something is equally as effective as watching The Meezer chase after her tearstrip with total abandon, or gazing into the eyes of my beloved or hearing his voice on the phone.
Often, I'll step from the sewing machine or my knitting chair to the computer to toss a line or two down, so I can remember it for later. I suspect, if I had less pain in my hands I'd write with a fountain pen in a lovely book. Either way the purpose is to get it down, especially as the older I get the more quickly I forget! The benefit to the computer, too, is the speed at which I can jot my thoughts, as I type much faster than I could ever write.
Then the only other way to get my creative juices flowing is to read: be it blogs or my favorite authors. Seeing what others are thinking about sparks my own thinking. Which makes you, my fellow bloggers, my muse!