“YOU CAN’T WAIT FOR INSPIRATION, YOU HAVE TO GO AFTER IT WITH A CLUB.” -JACK LONDON
When I was little I used to hear about this thing from writers and artists called a MUSE. The way people talked about it, it felt like some kind of mystical thing, like a sparkly ghost that flew into your brain and shook inspiration into your brain, like pixie dust. It was a fickle creature who showed up when it wanted and people were always wishing for its magic power to visit them. At first I thought I had to wait for this mystical creature but then I decided I didn't want to wait for a muse I wanted to write.
What is a Muse?
I turned to the usual sources to find out. A quick google search came up with this definition. A muse is in Greek or Roman one of the 9 goddesses that presides over art or science.
Okay that's pretty cool. But it didn't match what I'd heard since I was small. So I looked again. This time I just looked for a definition of muse in google. This is what turned up; Muse is a spirit or source that inspires an artist.
Now we are talking. It is something that inspires people. I liked that, but I wasn't sure how much I wanted to trust a google definition, so I turned to my favorite dictionary. Merriam-Webster. www.merriam-webster.com
As usual in dictionaries there wasn't just one simple definition but three. The first under muse was; to become absorbed in thought. (verb) The next was if it was used as a noun.1. A state of deep thought or dreamy abstraction. The next there were also nouns 1.capitalized : any of the nine sister goddesses in Greek mythology presiding over song and poetry and the arts and sciences 2.a source of inspiration 3. A poet
What I gathered from my quick research was that a Muse wasn't a mystical ghost like creature full of pixie dust. People talked about it like they would a fairy or a dragon or a mystical goddess. What I learned is when people are talking about their muse they are talking more about inspiration. When I first started writing I thought I had to wait for this mystical Muse to show up and bless my life with it's magical dust, but later on I learned if I wanted to write I just had to sit down and do it. If you want to write you can't wait around you have as it says in the quote, go after it! Fight for it.
Sometimes inspiration will hit in the funnest of moments, in the shower, while mowing the lawn, while doing the dishes, or driving your car, from a dream, or from reading other peoples work. Those moments are fantastic, they are special they are amazing but if we only write when those special moments come then we will find it harder to get things done.
If you are someone who needs their muse, or who feels like they must have things set in order to feel inspired to write then make sure you set that up. For some it is a certain kind of music, for others it is quiet. We are all different when it comes to how we like to write and what will help our words flow.
Ways to feel inspired to write without waiting for your muse:
1. Go get some exercise that will get your endorphin going. I know I love to think about backstory while walking or on a treadmill. I will also problem solve when I am moving. I find that for me it really helps.
2. Turn on some music, see if it can help you get in the zone. I know that I have a power song that can help me get moving when I feel sluggish.
3. Do chores that don't require a lot of thought. You can brainstorm while mopping the floor, hand washing dishes or mowing the lawn. It's a great use of your time.
4. Do a 5 minute writing sprint to warm up. You can write about your story or use a random prompt but this is like reaving your engine and getting you ready to write.
5. Read something that inspires you.
6. Watch something that inspires you.
7. Read a motivational quote, that makes you feel like you can do it.
8. Get your favorite snack and a comfy chair, set the feeling you need to write.
9. Challenge yourself. You can't do X until you write X amount of words... etc.
10. Try a writing prompt.
11. Spend some time interviewing one of your characters.
12. If you already have a cover for your book, print it out and post it above your writing space. Make it a goal to see pages under that cover and give yourself a deadline.
13. Read a book about writing. This never fails for me. I get story idea after story idea when I read a writing book.
14. Spend some time on Pinterest finding pictures of your setting or clothing to help you get excited and ready to write. Just don't get lost here and forget to get your words down.
15. Talk on the phone with someone you trust about your story idea. Chances are you'll feel resaved up and ready to write after that kind of conversation.
The tall and short of it is guys is that sometimes we have magical moments where the muse hits us (aka inspiration) and sometimes we have to set the stage ourselves and fight a bit to get the words coming. One way or another you can write. Don't wait around for the time to come to you, make the time to write yourself.
Cassie M. Shiels.