may 2013 painting classI’ve been very interested to know more about how women create.  We have busy lives, and are called to many roles. Did you know for example that Jane Austen pretended to be embroidering whenever guests or servants entered the room.  She’d quickly pick up her hoop and hide her writing.  Her sister supported her writing by bearing most of the household chores herself, and by helping carry off this ruse.

I caught up with Jill Badonsky, author of the recent book: The Muse is In, for my review.  I asked her about her daily rituals and what she could tell us about how she creates. Here is the interview:

What do you consider your primary artistic/creative work?  What else do you enjoy creating, and how does that interact with your primary work?  My primary work is creative inspiration. The outlets for this vary. It may be designing an educational curriculum, teaching creative coaching or workshops, working on the next book, creating art, sharing some quirky humor, leading a retreat, making a podcast, or posting on Facebook. But the core motivator behind all of this is to creatively inspire others as well as myself.

I also enjoy inventing recipes, which interacts with my primary work because I can get creative with a required activity of daily living and because eating makes me happy.

What is your creative day like?  Do you keep a routine? Do you have rules, etc.?  My days also vary according to that modality upon which I’m focusing, however I include regular rituals such as meditation, walking, exercise, reading what I call a Creative Realignment Journal to remind myself of the thoughts that fuel my creativity and taking a walk to center myself on the inspiration I’m materializing. When I have a project going, I can get singularly focused for days at a time throwing the rest of my life off balance, so breaks to restore order are important.

Laughing is so important to me, so playing with prompts on Facebook is a nice break once I’ve put in some time on my core mission.

Despite the fact that I encourage people to break rules that limit their creative freedom, I do feel certain rules are necessary so that I can contain myself within a structure and not be all over the place, loosey goosey which has been known to happen. I limit my TV viewing to a half an hour three times a week with an occasional movie – which at this point seems too much, I watch what I eat because I can easily fuzz my brain out with the wrong diet, and I make sure creativity is a priority. As a rule, I don’t dwell on things that don’t move me forward, I avoid news/people/ideas/activities that just suck the energy out of me.

What other obligations do you have in your life besides your primary creative endeavor? How do they affect (positively or negatively) your ability to create or find the time to create?  That’s a great question. I designed and teach a creativity coaching curriculum twice a year, so coordinating the logistics and marketing for that is where I focus many of my hours. However, since this is a part of my creative work it doesn’t seem like an obligation – it was really important to my perseverance that I made it fun and enjoyable. I do have to make sure I do creativity just for the joy of it because creativity for an income has requirements that creative play doesn’t.

I forgot to have kids and the rest of my family is gone from the planet so I’ve been relieved from a lot of family obligations.  I am devoted to a relationship with my sweetheart but that is more of a pleasure than an obligation.  I sought someone who could share the value of creativity with me (he’s a songwriter and engineers our podcasts) and who understands how important solitude is to creative endeavors. I have the good fortune of devoting most of my time to my creative work, but I’m pretty sure my passion for it is what made that happen.

What is your best method of incubation or how do you relax?  Asking creatively-charged questions and giving time for answers to percolate is one of my most effective incubators. But I don’t limit my incubation process to just that because creativity is fickle and will dry up if I depend on the same method all the time. Walking, meditation, reading, journaling, purposely letting go for awhile,  exposing myself to people and things that inspire me help create the connections that occur during incubation. I relax by dancing hip-hop, doing yoga, listening to music, painting, laughing at my FB friends,  sitting in nature, and sharing good times with my sweetie.

Thanks for these wonderful questions, Miss Julia.