I used to think that I was not a creative person. But then, over time, I came to realize that I was creative. My inner creativity (my Muse) was simply shy.
That insight opened up doors for me.
Over time, I learned how to work with my Muse, enticing it into my work and my life. Now, I’d have to characterize my Muse as reliable. When I need it, I can summon those creative thought processes, and they usually show up. (Not all the time, mind you.)
How about you? How well do you know your Muse?
If you struggle to notice your Muse, check out my last post on Noticing the Muse. Once you’re familiar with the Muse, take the measure of its personality. That insight might help you as much as it did me.
Take the Muse Quiz
To help you get a handle on your Muse’s personality, try my short Muse quiz. And don’t stress about getting the “best” answer. This is entirely private, and no one is judging!
After you answer several questions, you’ll get a result, identifying your Muse as one of the following personalities:
Read the descriptions below.
If the quiz says your Muse is shy, don’t worry. You are not alone—and this does not mean that you aren’t creative! But, if you think of yourself as “not a creative type,” it might deter the Muse from showing up.
You can encourage a Shy Muse to participate actively in your life by learning how and when it shows up, and creating more of those situations.
If you have a Temperamental Muse, good ideas come to you after you need them, but rarely on deadline. Creativity feels like it’s out of your control, and pretty much just happens to you.
That’s a pretty normal part of the human condition!
Good news: You can learn how to entice the Muse to appear more consistently. Create time and space for the Muse in your writing life. Leave time to let your mind wander and to listen to any creative thoughts that arise—without judgment.
With a reliable Muse, you can generate ideas when needed. They may not come easily, or exactly at the moment you need them. You’d probably like to have better control.
You can learn how to work even more closely with your Muse, integrating it into your writing process.
When you have a prolific Muse, often come to you because they know that you’re an “idea” person. You consider yourself creative and have many ideas for projects—perhaps even too many!
A prolific Muse can be a mixed blessing. The constant flood of inspiration can interfere accomplishing anything. You’re easily distracted by the next project.
With a prolific Muse, you need a strong Scribe (the disciplined, hard-working writing processes.)
The Split-Personality Muse
My friend Chip Scanlan, a journalist, author, and prolific writer, reports that his Muse shows up differently depending on the type of writing that he’s doing. He’s not alone in this.
We may work creatively in one domain and get stuck in another.
If you write novels in your spare time and blog posts at work, for example, consider taking the quiz twice, once for each type of writing.
What to do with your results
The Muse Quiz is meant to be both fun and valuable. Once you understand the personality of your Muse, you can figure out how to work with it better.
When you take the quiz, you’ll get an email with suggested exercises for the Muse you have today. Maybe, like me, you’ll learn how to transform a Shy Muse into a Reliable one, or to get better control over a Temperamental Muse.
And if the quiz gave you new insights into your writing, please let me know!
Not sure when your Muse shows up? Check out my last post, Noticing Your Muse.
You’ll find advice and exercises for welcoming and working with your Muse (and its companion, the Scribe) in The Writer’s Process Workbook.