Welcome Dee S. Knight who knows all too well about the thing called the muse…
We all know about that magical, mythical creature called The Muse. When she’s happy, we as writers are also happy. When she’s having a snit, well, let’s just say life ain’t much fun. Writers need to find ways to make The Muse happy no matter what else is going on. Deadlines don’t care about The Muse’s sad face.
Let’s face it, it’s easy to be inspired in the ideal environment. For me, it’s a quiet house, a cup of steaming coffee and a recliner. I cuddle in the chair wearing my bunny slippers and happily type away on the AlphaSmart. For others, productivity might flow when sitting beside a sunny window surrounded with classical music (for me it’d be George Strait). We each know what’s best when it comes to writing. I might have a hard time of it sitting in a Starbucks where I know writers who do their best work there.
In these situations, the muse is satisfied. She smiles, she sings. Words flow from the brain to the fingers. With a single breath, characters come to life, actions are cobbled together to converge at plot points, and “dark” moments grow positively black with ease. Life is good.
But what about those times when the environment is not so conducive to happy, productive thoughts? What about when you’re…at work? *shudder* No music, sunny window, recliner. No bunny slippers.
That’s when we have to get creative. For me, I think back over what I’ve already written. I imagine the setting I’m using. My husband and I traveled all around the country for more than 20 years, so I always have places in mind for story settings. Having that experience helps. If I didn’t have that experience, I’d still have Google Maps or (my favorite) and good old Rand-McNally. I consider the characters and why I like them so much. If The Muse still acts up, I jot down notes about all the horrible things I can make my characters do. It might not sound nice, but they’re the ones who normally have me boxed in, so a little torture is good for the soul. My soul, not my hero’s.
While I’m in the process of getting through a book is when hubby and I sit and talk about the plot, the characters, the setting, what has me stumped. And here’s the funny thing: turns our hubby almost always kicks The Muse in the butt and gets her working again. So if you don’t have a hubby you can talk things through with, find someone else. A best friend, a critique partner, someone. Someone who will let you talk things through and won’t criticize or try to take over.
So, in summary, here are my tips for keeping the creative juices flowing and helping The Muse behave:
Find your happy spot, where writing is comfortable.
Take advantage of each moment The Muse is happy. For my first few books, I resented even stopping to eat because I was afraid the words wouldn’t start flowing again. I don’t recommend being that obsessed, but don’t think that because writing is easy now that it will be tomorrow, too.
When creativity stops, try to decide why. Is it just that you need a break and a half day away from the computer or are you truly stuck? If you’re stuck, find something else to think about—your story setting, your characters, your scene. Sometimes reconsidering the point of view will jostle things loose.
Find someone safe to talk over issues. This almost always works for me. Sometimes just voicing a problem clears it up.
Happy writing, and keep that Muse firmly in hand.
Dee S. Knight has been writing romances for more than a dozen years. Check out her latest erotic romance, Naval Maneuvers, available at a sale price of $2.99 as pre-order until March 9. Please visit Dee on her website at on Twitter and on Facebook. Also, read more of her blogs on the Nomad Authors blog.