Friday, 22 February 2013

Interview & Giveaway: Jill Badonsky, The Muse is In

Today is my stop on the blog tour for Jill Badonsky and her amazing new book, The Muse is In. (I reviewed the book yesterday and you can read that review here.) I am excited to have been able to interview Jill and ask her advise to some of my frequent creativity problems. And, Jill has kindly offered to give away of copy of her fantastic book to one of my readers if this post gets at least 10 comments. So, be sure to leave a comment and include your email address.

Jill, I have to say that I absolutely LOVE this book. I have both of your other books, and as much as I enjoyed them, this one really speaks to me. (Literally too, you talk about being a Creative Adventurer throughout the book. Note the name of my blog.) I am crazy excited to have you here today, to be able to share what you do with my readers.

I’m so honored to be here, Coreena. I love your blog. Thanks for your kind words and these thoughtful questions.

For my readers, The Muse Is In is an owner's manual for your creativity. How great is that? It's a book that you can keep nearby, flip through, dog ear, and use to get inspiration or advice about how to take the next step or get over a block in your creativity. Then there are daily creative prompts to spark ideas and get the juices flowing. 

I want start by asking you about getting in touch with your inner Creative Adventurer. What advice do you have for someone who is feeling a bit unsettled, they know that something is not quite right, that they have something creative inside them, but they don't even know where to begin?

Many people don’t know where to start so they don’t start at all and get caught up in the latest distractions on the internet, TV, or in their busy lives. This is unfortunate because if we have a creative call, following it can lead to a more fulfilling life. We become better people when we engage in creativity. But we have to be vigilant about not letting the world steal us away.
Here are some ways for people to explore where to begin:

    • The creative mind loves questions. Ask questions such as:
      • What small creative steps sound like fun?
      • What is something creative I see others doing that I would like to explore?
      • What would make it easy for me to begin?
The important part of this is asking the question over and over. The subconscious will work on answers.
    • Scan a catalog of creative offerings and make a decision based on what gives you energy intuitively. Make sure you run in the opposite direction if the teacher doesn’t resonate with you. Many of teachers have derailed Creative Adventurers but good classes, workshops, and retreats provide starting points.
    • Break any creative endeavor down so far, it’s hard NOT to begin. Here’s some examples:
      • Daydream about doing something creative.
      • Spend 5 minutes (set a timer) exploring the internet for something to inspire you to begin. Make it a game, pretend you’re a detective.
      • Doodle, paint, write, explore any creative endeavor with permission to be an awkward beginner for just 15 minutes.
      • Go to a creativity workshop. (I happened to have a retreat in Taos in July – sorry for the product place:)

What would you say to someone who loves starting creative projects, but has a hard time finishing or taking them to the next step, always getting distracted by the "shiny, new project" on the horizon?

I’d say, you’re not alone. There are enough unfinished products out there to build a planet (which would be unfinished).

There are a number of reasons people don’t finish. Creative processes inherently have difficult phases; the next step is unclear, something isn’t going as planned, doubts arise, the inner critic says “What were you thinking?”. It’s much easier at that point to start a new project.

Some people have inner dynamics that make finishing things challenging.

And some projects aren’t MEANT to be finished. Something was learned or experienced and now you can just let go of it.

To finish a project, often structure is needed. A creativity coach who understands the non-linear process of creativity, a class, or even teaming up with others that are wanting to finish projects and holding the space and time for each other to do that.

For me, deadlines work, if set by another person. I have last-minute surges of “completion juju”… but there’s no last minute if there’s no deadline.
I also dedicate projects in my mind to others. Saying, “This is for all the people who believe in me” gives it a purpose higher than myself.

How about when a person really enjoys doing something creative, they are loving the process, but the result is less than perfect and they get a lukewarm or negative reception from family and friends?

If we tie our happiness to the opinions of others we will always be forever on a roller coaster especially in the creative process because what appeals to one person is trash to another person. Undaunted creativity allows us to practice the spirituality of enjoying the process and being unattached to the result. What gets a lukewarm response from one person is life changing to another person. Imagine the liberation of believing in your own work to the exclusion of what others think. Many artists and writers live that life listening only to criticism that makes intuitive sense and persevering through anything else. It’s vital to the creative person to believe in her work.

We need to learn from children who proudly present gifts that are raw and beautiful but not perfect. This takes practice.

Creativity also requires that we are confident and trusting of the process, let go of what people think, and use the “So what, I’m going to do it anyway” attitude. These qualities are not adopted over night, but once practiced imperfectly over time they fuel us with the courage to throw ourselves into life’s richest experiences and help us in every area of our existence.

Do you have any examples or good stories of having to use your own techniques to do a creative project, maybe even in writing this book?

This book brought up incredible resistance, distraction and procrastination in me. It was an ironic journey of writing about the very blocks I was experiencing – so I KNOW that the tools work. My editor completely rejected my first draft saying it was way too long, esoteric, and flowery. I found this humorous and made fun of myself on Facebook. To break through this challenge I had to center my distractible mind on a sense of dedication to something I love doing, lighten-up about trying to make it perfect, and MAKE IT FUN and concise.

The Preface is an example of going from four pages of blathering on and on about who I am, the struggles I went through, and the value of the creative process to one page that simply says “I wrote this book because I love the creative process.” It was so much fun to do that and defy the that expectations people have for prefaces.

My journey involves defiance, mischievousness, play, effortless joy, and funny inspiration and freedom. Once I break through the resistance this world is my joy and I don’t want to leave it.

I equate making time for the creative process as making time to love myself. Procrastination is punishment. I give myself permission to deserve love, and I give that permission to you and all your readers too.
Thank you for these wonderful questions, Coreena!

Thank you, Jill. I've really enjoyed having you on my blog and good luck with your book.
Now, remember everyone, please leave a comment and if we get 10, then there will be a random draw for a copy of Jill's new book. Don't forget to include your email address.


  1. thanks for the great interview with Jill Badonsky, she is a new author to me and i did learn more about her

  2. I totally agree, intellectually at least, regarding unfinished projects. There is a lot to be learned by going part-way through a process and if the project is only meaningful to yourself you can let it go at any point. As you say, not every project is meant to be completed. Thanks for the potential giveaway.

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  3. I agree with a great deal of what Jill said here. I need the creative groups, the deadlines, and the creative coach (mine is Janet Whitehead) to complete my writing projects. It is great to have a group I can call and ask to help with something that is not fleshing out in my writing. Great interview!

  4. Thanks for the interview!!! I am definitely one of those who starts a project and never finishes it :(
    I think this book would be really useful so thank you for the giveaway!

  5. Thanks so much for this insightful interview w Jill Badonsky - I recently purchased all of her books and I just adore them! I joined your blog, perhaps you would enjoy my blog @ ... Please stop by!
    ~Kristine from Boston MA


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