creative muse as horse

When Self-Doubt Rears its Ugly Head

If you’ve worked with me or followed my blog for some time, you’ve probably heard me talk about the muse—an archetype for our creative source.

Perhaps you’ve experienced the guided visualization I often guide writers through, providing clarity about their writing and creativity, or helping them experience a creative breakthrough or determine their next step.

I call the exercise, “Meet Your Muse.”

Recently, I took my own “Meet Your Muse” Journey when self doubt showed up in my writing route.

Journey to The Creative Muse

We begin the journey in a snow-covered meadow, a cold landscape, a warm sun.

horse as creative muse
Photo by Alexandra on Unsplash

This is the first time I can remember traveling to meet my muse in snow. In the distance, I see a man wearing a fur cap traveling on a horse. The man’s breath and the horse’s breath fog as they near me. With a pat of his hand behind him, the man invites me to hop on the back of the horse and ride with him.

We ride with great speed. The man and horse perform all the work. I am literally going along for the ride, which feels exhilarating. And easy.

And then I realize: I want to take the reins.

The man and I switch places. This feels like an important shift.

I sense the vitality and power of the horse, feel the sleek, dark coat of this muscular being.

And a conversation with leadership coach Amanda Madorno comes back to me. She said, “Horses teach us to be fully embodied. To fully integrate body, heart and soul.”

I sense that this is part of the teaching of the horse that shows up in today’s journey—how to embody my writing, my creative work; how to integrate mind, body, heart and spirit in the work.

It Is Time to Ask My Questions

Because I had been feeling self-doubt and judgment about the book I’ve been working on, I ask my creative Muse, “Is my book good? Does it have worth? Value?”

 You’re in the wrong question.

The right question feels nonverbal. It is more an openness to receive. The right question is a space in the heart that has no words. A space for the answers to bubble up, arise and inform, help me embody the work.

This answer is beyond words.

The words (of the book) will come. But first is the space for the words. Walk the talk. Embody your book all the time. Be the Book.

horse as creative muse
Photo: Thomas Tucker on unsplash

The book is the horse, is the snow, is the warm sun.

The book is the ground upon which you gallop.

I ask my muse, “Tell me what the horse is.”

The horse is the soul of the book.

Sometimes the answers to our creative questions don’t come in prescriptive directives. Instead they may come poetically, as inspiration, a deep inner knowing, an inner shift.

In our culture, we may tend to dismiss such vague ways of experiencing our answers and our wisdom but this can be the most powerful wisdom of all.

What does your muse want you to know about you book or other creative projects? Ask!


  • Lisa Tener, Book Coach

    Award Winning Book Writing and Publishing Coach, Creativity Catalyst

    An authority on book writing, publishing and creativity, Lisa Tener guides experts, entrepreneurs and visionaries to joyfully write and publish their books. Lisa has been quoted in the New York Times, interviewed on ABC World News, serves on the faculty of Harvard Medical School’s publishing course, and teaches Award Winning Book Writing Courses. Lisa developed "The TENER Method for Creative Flow" and has won 7 prestigious business awards, including the Silver Stevie Award for Coach/Mentor of the Year. Lisa Tener's clients have received 5- and 6-figure book deals from a large variety of publishers from Random House and Hachette to niche and university publishers. Her clients' books have been featured by Oprah, on NPR, the Today Show, Good Morning America and all over the national media, including the New York Times, Cosmopolitan, Women's Health, Forbes and much more.