“Today I have nothing to say,” I typed after staring at the screen for what seemed like hours. (Read this post with the following background music is highly suggested. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=amwZW96V9Tk) I tried to think of something witty, compelling. After all I’m a writer right? I started over again, itching to pull the paper out of the typewriter roller, crush it and throw it in the basket. But that too wasn't going to happen. I use a computer. I heaved a heavy sigh, and once again looked at the blank screen. The muse is gone!
There are lots of reasons why we reach a barrier: we censor our work, stress in our ‘other’ life, rejections, low self esteem, I could go on but you get the picture. The must is gone!
Here are some tips I found in various posts and workshops to help when... the muse is gone:
- Train your muse. Develop and follow a writing schedule even if you write only a few hundred words. If you are consistent and sit down to write on a schedule, your mind will react accordingly.
- Don’t be hard on your muse/self. Just write. Save the critique for later when you edit.
- Don't scare your muse away. Don’t panic. Panicking will only make it worse. The less you think about what you’re doing the better your writing will be. Let it flow.
- Give your muse a break. Take some time off especially if you have just finished one project. Give yourself time to recharge your batteries and gather new experiences.
- Set reasonable deadlines and goals for your muse/self. You may also want to find a writing group for support. It’s good to touch base with other writers and understand you are not alone. Commiserating puts things in perspective.
- Be upfront with your muse. Take a good look at any long standing issues that stop you from writing. Writing can be cathartic. Write about your anxieties and work them out, preferably with another writer.
- Have your muse multitask. Work on more than one project. Sometimes a second project can spur ideas for the first.
- Have fun with your muse. Try a writing exercise. Just for fun. Finish this sentence: Like a butterfly, she magically …
- Take your muse for a walk or to Starbucks. Get away from your desk for awhile. You need to stretch your legs, get the blood going. Go to the gym, browse your favorite book store, or go for a walk. When you come back to your desk you will feel renewed.
- Reconnect with your muse. Remember why you started writing and don’t give up. Think about the excitement, how much fun you had getting the words down. Recapture the spirit that is the muse.
Personally, I went for a walk and reconnected with some friends. The weight lifted but I have one more thing to do before I invite the muse back to my desk. I found this great romance novel. A few chapters should get me in the mood to write!
Happy Fall everyone.