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Interview: Jill Badonsky
creativity tools headerThis month’s interview is part of the blog tour for Jill Badonsky’s new book, The Muse Is In: An Owner’s Manual to Your Creativity. Jill Badonsky is an illustrator, humorist, nationally-recognized seminar leader, and creativity consultant. As the founder and director of Kaizen-Muse Creativity Coaching, she consults with filmmakers, comedians, artists, writers, business leaders, and anyone who is experiencing procrastination and other blocks to positive change. She is the author of two earlier books, The Nine Modern-Day Muses (and a Bodyguard) and The Awe-Manac. The Muse Is In: An Owner’s Manual to Your Creativity outlines how to power up one’s genius. Think of Badonsky as your mechanic—for creativity. Her new book is a quirky preventative maintenance and service manual that will help you take your creativity out for a test drive, troubleshoot problems along the way, and offer tips for its proper care and upkeep, safeguarding it from any hiccups so that you’re running in top form. She charts with humorous illustrations what you need to know to get through common creative malfunctions such as procrastination, perfectionism, self-sabotage, overwhelmed thinking, idea bankruptcy, and the dreaded no-clue-where-to-begin-ism. Having taken Jill’s Kaizen-Muse Creativity Coach training, I can attest to her ability to break complex issues down into manageable pieces while making the process fun. (You can also see get a sense of how she approaches the subject in the illustrations for this post.) Not only is Jill stopping by to tell us about her new book and share some of her best creativity tips, if there are at least 10 reader comments, she’ll also draw a name from those who’ve commented for a copy of the new book! Jill, what’s the biggest challenge you’ve faced in keeping your own creative flow flowing? It’s a three-way tie. My biggest challenges are habits of procrastination, distraction, and self-sabotage. How have you overcome or worked around that challenge?
  • As soon as I remember WHAT WORKS, I’m fine. It’s a matter of remembering to ask: What worked in the past?
  • Another tool that works is simply tricking myself into starting, showing up in the morning and simply diving in without concern for the product but in the spirit of fooling around and having fun.
  • I didn’t get much discipline when I was growing up so I didn’t equate discipline as another form of love. Now I do and when I want to be kind to myself, I know a big part of that is being engaged in my life’s work. Following through with that is honoring who I am.
  • Once a habit of showing up is established, I don’t even have to think about it. It will feel unnatural NOT to show up.
That’s fabulous—I’ve never thought of discipline and love as such close relatives before, and I’ll have to think on that some more! What’s the most important/valuable piece of advice you ever received about dealing with creative blocks? How did it affect you and your work?  It’s hard to pin down just one piece of advice because the Kaizen-Muse Creativity Coaching tools all work in tandem with each other and evolved over many years of research and experience. The advice I most employ is that which comes from my inner resource of intuition: finding what works for me and concluding that it will also work for others. But I must say, that Robert Maurer’s book, One Small Step Can Change Your Life: The Kaizen Way really validated my discovery that breaking things down into REALLY tiny steps sidesteps the fear that is responsible for blocks. It affected my work because sometimes when I discover things on my own I wonder if it’s valid in my little egocentric world. Reading his book and all the examples he provides gave me solid evidence that I was on the right track.
11. Subconscious Setting Wild Card

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How is this book different from your first two creativity books? What moved you to write it?
Each book is a modification of an existing structure. The first book modified the nine muses (and added a bodyguard): It explained the Muses as creative principles. The second book was a take-off on the Old Farmer’s Almanac. It was a daily guide for humor, inspiration, and creativity. The Muse is IN: An Owner’s Manual for Your Creativity is a take-off on an owner’s manual for a car. It’s different because it really approaches the creative process succinctly like an owner’s guide would explaining the tools needed, the maintenance required and one of the most important sections: Troubleshooting Creative Blocks. It’s also different because I both designed and illustrated the whole thing so it’s filled with wobbly illustrations and a creative format. The Kaizen-Muse Creativity Coaching tools I teach are so effective in getting people where they creatively want to go that I wanted to write a guide for the general public and package it in a fun and irresistible way so more people could experience this wondrous feature of the human existence: liberated creativity. It’s playful but extremely practical. It sounds like The Muse is In is an indispensable guide for any creative soul. Thanks so much for sharing your process and what we can look forward to in the book!  You can visit Jill at, or on Facebook and Twitter.


  • Shann says:

    Great interview!

    I can totally relate to this: “I didn’t get much discipline when I was growing up so I didn’t equate discipline as another form of love. Now I do and when I want to be kind to myself, I know a big part of that is being engaged in my life’s work. Following through with that is honoring who I am.”

    I’m off to check out Jill’s websites.

    Thank you.

  • Alicia says:

    Really good interview and has opened up yet another wonderful website to check out. I am so glad I check it out.
    Hugs and Sparkles

  • Sheryl says:

    I love the idea of remembering what worked before. I get buried in avoidance as I think of “new” ways to be creative. Problem is, I never get creative that way. The idea of doing “what worked” seems like an easier way to start. I trust the new creative ideas will come faster when I get started with what worked before. What an easy little step. Thanks.

  • Petrea says:

    Great interview! I love hearing about the inspiration for the book. Sounds like a wonderful creative resource.

  • Leanne says:

    Nancy, great interview – I already use some of Jill’s strategies for getting past the procrastination and distraction but it’s good to be reminded of them again as I sometimes get lazy with them. I like that she focuses on what works because it’s so easy for us to get caught up on what doesn’t work, which just leads nowhere usually! Thanks for interviewing a great author (I have one of her books) on a great topic!

  • Arden says:

    Fabulous. I work w writers using Tarot to hurdle writer’s block. This book sounds like something I need in my own personal Fool’s bag. 🙂

  • Meredith says:

    Great interview! I also loved the part about discipline being a form of love. It really resonated with me in regards to my own practice/work, but also as a homeschooling mom, I really struggle with instilling discipline in my children. Thanks! Great food for thought. The books sound wonderful.

  • Zaidi says:

    thank you, Nancy, and,,,, congratulations,,, a beautiful and wonderful book,,,,,,,, .. lots of different choices and desires to positive successes ……… thank you for these works that everyone loves ..creativity sensational, full of positivity

  • Great interview … and I’m already so jazzed about the excerpts of the book I’ve read in the “Look Inside This Book” feature on Amazon … so looking forward to reading it … thanks, Nancy!

  • Michelle L says:

    Thanks for posting the interview. I think I’ve experienced all of those malfunctions – procrastination, perfectionism, self-sabotage, overwhelmed thinking, idea bankruptcy, and the dreaded no-clue-where-to-begin-ism; so, I could probably use some of the tools.

    2 weeks of doing or not doing something will definitely reinforce the habit or break it. I’ve also learned to let go of control of having the answer or trying to make a certain path come about. my best ideas come when I’m relaxed and not fixated on the problem at hand.

  • My mentor! *sigh* Jill guided me through nearly a decade of creative ups & downs. She knows what she’s talking about–and practices what she preaches.

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