Don't just live in the world

Be your own muse

March 10th, 2014 | Posted by Amy Boughner in Books | Work

I love finding pieces that make me think about the way I work in unexpected places. Since being my own boss is something that I’m still fairly new at I look for inspiration all over the place, but sometimes it just finds me.

Having just finished Lean In and having a lot to think about – like reading it again and trying to take notes this time – I started in on a book that would be much less provoking of deep thought.

I have been reading Stephanie Pearl-McPhee’s blog for several years and own all her books. I pre-ordered the latest one as soon as I could. While Stephanie’s books are usually about her life they are generally knitting centric. This book is different, and the fourth chapter was exactly what I needed.

She talks about being a writer and going to a writing group. The people in this group frustrated her because, as she explains, they were not talking about what they were writing, they weren’t sharing their work and getting feedback, they were talking about reasons they were not writing. These people, she says, had not been struck with that stroke of genius, they will still waiting for their muse. This got her back up.

“I can’t truck with this subset of my kind who think producing writing is a magical gift that is fueled by inspiration… Writers, in the humble estimation of this one, are a lot like plumbers, or accountants, or anybody with a skilled job who has to show up, figure out a problem, and then do their job…”

Simple enough. Writers have to write. It’s not always going to be good or easy, but you have to do it. You have to practice your craft and spend time focussed on improving. Really this message translates to any job that revolves around some sort of creativity. Marketing and communications fall under these categories, surely.

You learn from others, but you also learn from failures and practice, trial and error. No one is going to hand you anything, you have to work hard, prove yourself and ask for what you want.

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