I was talking to a few friends the other day at lunch and one of them asked me how my novel was coming. I told her that I needed to court my muse. They laughed, not truly understanding my plight. So I explained that for a writer, there is nothing like when the well of inspiration and creativity flows in abundance. When your characters talk to you in the middle of a conversation with your Boss or an argument with your lover, welling you to write down their story. Those creative bursts are euphoric and rare.
For those of us whose, voice of the oracle moments, are treasures to be sought. We have to dig deep to reach small amounts of creative gold. Its hard work, and it is work when you have less than the divine flow and more of a yeoman’s struggle to type a conversation between Dick and Jane.
If we are truthful with ourselves most of our writing is work. So what do you do when you’re stalled and your creative well dries up? It’s time to regenerate your creative juices to woo your Muse. Here are some of the things I’ve use to help get the inspiration flowing.
1) Listen to the music. I listen to music that correlates to the story I’m writing. If the part of the story has to do with religion or angels I listen to classical music. With my young adult story I listen to pop music and it features street/ urban so I listen to rap music.
2) Write longhand. The slowness of writing by hand helps you to concentrate on the task and helps with distracted, unlike the computer, that can easily suck up hours at a time. Plus, it engages your motor-skills, memory, and more — it’s a good cognitive exercise.
3) Look at Pictures. No really, remember those picture books when you were a kid? All you did was stare at those pictures and a story came to life in your imagination. Its the same principle. So go grab a few art books from the library and have fun imagining a story.
4) Go for a Walk. Walking is so amenable to thinking and writing. When walking your mind wonders, exploring your surrounds which you can us to send your characters on walks about town. Walking organizes the world around us and helps our writings to organizes our thoughts.
5)Talk to strangers. Ask the woman at the checkout about her day, and you’ll find that she’s more than too happy to tell you. Make a casual observation to a fellow commuter, and you might get an ear full. A good writer is also a good listener. These varied voices we gather throughout the day are great inspiration for dialogue. They give us alternate views of life, and increase our emotional empathy-a key component for good writing. We can’t write about human nature if we don’t embrace our fellow man.
6) Don’t forget the power of the Senses. I can smell Vanilla ice cream, and it will bring me right to a memory. Our sense are powerful tools. Take an orange for an example. Everyone has eaten one, peeled or sliced, and can relate to its aroma, texture, appearance, taste and even sound. Its up to the imagination of the writer to bring forth those universal memories in away the reader can relate and visualize.
I’ve giving you Six examples of how I court my muse. How about you? Do you have ways of courting your muse that are different from mine, uniquely yours, or just strange? Did it help bring out your muse or not? Did it become a writing habit?
Let me know about them in the comments.
* John Cheever stripped down to his undies before writing in the basement of his apartment building.
* Virginia Woolf wrote standing up.
* James Joyce wrote on cardboard with colored crayons.
* Schiller wrote with rotten apples stashed in his desk drawer because the smell “motivated him.
Copyright © 2014 Glynis Rankin