Wrestling the Muse

Writing is a job. There are good days, and there are bad days. Bad days are those days where I seem to get nowhere, the days my Muse has decided to stay buried.

More often than not, I stare at a blank page, or a blinking cursor, and wait for my Muse to show itself. It’s not always like that, but sometimes my brain is just stuck. And that’s when I realize that using my brain is the problem.

For me, writing is about discovering hidden parts about myself. In order to do that, I must turn off my brain– that left-sided pesky thinker– and turn on the inner voice. Sometimes I refer to that inner voice as the Muse.

Sometimes it is easier for me to wait until the story bubbles to the surface, bursting at the barriers, threatening to break walls. When I write those stories, the words flow easily, images come quickly, my fingers barely keep up.

But because of deadlines, I can’t always wait until that voice comes through my fingers. I have to go searching for it instead. Yoga, going to the gym, taking the dogs for a walk all help to quiet the left side of my brain.

Sometimes I can write 1000 words, then BAM! I’m stuck. And remain stuck. I have to let go of outside pressures, influences, and turn off the internet. I recently started what I hope to be the final rewrite of my work-in-progress.

And here I am, delaying the writing.

The ass-to-chair method is failing me. I show up each day for the Muse to appear, but all I receive is quiet. So I just begin writing. I write terrible sentences, beginning at a place where I know deep down the story would never begin. But I am writing. And soon 250 words turns into 1000. And I can feel the Muse beginning to poke through the dense clouds of my brain. But I keep writing, knowing most of the words I will cut. For now, though, these words are bringing me closer to the real story that needs to be told.

Wrestling the inner Muse can take up much of a writer’s time. Word sprints, object focus, and other tricks can get a writer writing. Anything to get that Muse out and onto the page is considered successful. Even if that method is procrastination by writing an blog entry 🙂

Currently reading: The Stones of Mourning Creek by Diane Les Becquets
Just finished reading: The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls & Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson

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