As a writer, you probably experience a round-the-clock desire to write. 24 hours a day. 365 days a year.
If you do then congratulations! You’re a true rare gem.
Yes, writers love to write. But even the most accomplished authors will attest to the fact that sometimes there’s just no buzz or zest or ‘ginger’ (as we say in my area). There’s no inspiration to write. Those same writers would probably also admit to spending entire writing sessions pinterest-ing, checking Instagram or twitter feeds, reading novels (which we tell ourselves is technically just research).
You’ve probably heard it before: The muse is a bitch.
The muse abandons you when you need it the most and then overcomes you at the most inopportune times.
But what makes us writers is the ability to write even through all that. If writers only wrote when they felt like it, the world would be sorely lacking in literary material.
It helps to take note of those moments that spark the desire to write in us, those things that drive us to blow the dust off our notepads or laptops and finally write even after a long break. Knowing ourselves in this way means we can take control of the muse to a degree.
So with some careful thought, I compiled a list of some things that coax my own muse into action.
There’s something about a good piece of creative work that triggers the desire to reproduce it. It’s the power of stories whether it’s in the form of a book, a movie or even a song. They ignite something in me that has me running for my notepad and pen and all of sudden, I’m adding more lines of plot or characterization to my work in progress. I don’t think I’ve ever watched a Disney fairy tale without desperately wanting to go plan out my own. Or listened to a Taylor swift song without gaining some insight into the romance between my characters. I don’t know how it works for other people but for me, it’s like for the duration that the story is in mind, I can see my story more clearly, hear the characters louder. The picture is so vivid.
The danger here is letting this be a distraction. Yes I do mean you shouldn’t read so many books that you don’t have time to focus on yours. But more importantly, I mean distraction as in going off course. For example; whenever I read/ watch a good fantasy, I feel the need to begin working on my own fantasy story even though what I’m currently working on is a historical. This frustrates me sometimes because when the buzz dies down, I end up with pages of plot, characterization and setting for a fantasy story that I’m not ready to begin while my current work progress suffers. Of course it’s not a waste- the ideas will still be there when I’m ready to begin with the fantasy but the current work is suffering. And that’s not okay.
So now, I make sure to read mainly books in the genre I’m working on. That way I’m able to channel that buzz into the immediate work.
I don’t need to describe this one. I’m sure every writer has been seized by the intense desire to write when an idea hits. A new plot twist, a new quirk for a character, a new dimension to the setting. You can’t get to your computer fast enough. I guess it’s because you know that when you sit down to write, you won’t be tortured by the blank page for long because you already have the words you want to fill the pages with.
Usually when I’m exercising (you know, the two times a year I do it), or doing the dishes or walking to class, I always make sure I’m mulling over my story in my head so that by the time my next writing session comes around, I’m armed and ready to face the page.
Being around other writers, hearing other writers speak, reading their blogs leaves me feeling inspired and connected. Hearing about their journeys, seeing how they relate to mine makes me feel like I’m not alone in my struggles. It encourages me to write even when I don’t want to. Sometimes, when I don’t feel like writing, I just look up my favorite authors and go on their websites. In fact I have some of them bookmarked. I look through their about pages and especially their list of books. And then I think ‘In a bit, this will be me’ and I go get my laptop and pull up a new word document.
It also helps that I have a circle of friends who are writers who inspire me all the time.
This may be one peculiar to me but I can’t listen to my friends gush about how great their businesses and passions are going without feeling the drive to work harder. Don’t get me wrong. I love them and am always thrilled for them but their successes inspire me. Maybe it’s guilt. Maybe it’s envy. Whatever it is, it forces me back in front of the page.
It’s not so much the deadline itself as having readers expect an amazing piece of literary work at a particular time whether it’s a novel or a blog post. Even if the process is excruciating at first, you know it’s not for you. It’s for the readers. You can’t let them down. You can’t.
As an unpublished author, I can’t express much experience with this but when I was ten years old, I wrote my first story. It was a high school romance and riddled with cringe-worthy clichés, horrible prose and flat characters, written by hand on a long brown notebook. I was too shy to show anyone but a classmate of mine read it by accident and loved it. She pressed me for more. I was young and I had only one fan. Just one. But it meant everything to me that I not disappoint her and so I wrote. Even when I didn’t want to, I wrote because I couldn’t let her down.
Never underestimate the power of the readers.
Yes. The dream. The desire to see my work in print and on the shelves. Sometimes, I close my eyes and imagine the book in the hands of book lovers. I imagine the cover, the brown pages, the dog ears, the font, the smell. I see people giving my books 4 or 5 stars and gushing over my characters on good reads, coming up with funny GIFs for scenes they loved. I imagine them loving my characters the way I do.Keep your writing dream aliveClick To Tweet
I hear them in my mind, I see them when I close my eyes. To me they have thoughts and dreams and fears. They are so real to me. And whenever I feel like giving up, I think about them and how amazing they are. They deserve to be read and admired for how incredible they are. Their stories should be written.
This is probably what drives me the most. This is how I know I can’t ever stop writing. Because the moment I have thought up characters for a story then I can’t not write it.
By mastering ourselves and taking note of the comings and goings of our muse, we can finally begin to defend ourselves against the wicked whims of our fickle mistress. This list is only a start but with just these firmly under our belt, the muse doesn’t even stand a chance.
Do any of the above apply to you? Are there other things that get you inspired? Share some of them with me in the comment section below.
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Alright, it’s the end of the post which means:
Remember the exact moment you decided you wanted to be a writer. Yes, that exact second. Write about it. #turnonthemuseClick To Tweet