Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Waiting For The Muse

Every writer has a muse, in fact every creative person has a muse. It's that indefinable thing that helps us write, paint or take photographs. But what if it's gone on holiday?

So far this year I haven't done much writing, but over the last few days I have managed to finish off chapter 1 rewrite and get half way through chapter 2. 10,000 words and counting. The reason is that my muse has also recovered from the past few months.

Aside from helping me with two play performances, it's also been helping me organise an ebook publishing idea with a few friends. We were both knackered. The other problem was that she didn't know when I was around and writing, which reminded me of something Stephen King wrote in his book 'On Writing'.

'If you want your muse to be around, make sure that you are around at the same time every day.'

I'm paraphrasing, but that was the essential message: Your muse is only as organised as you are. However, if you're balancing work, family and writing, how do you get your muse to work with you at odd times?

One method I tried, and succeeded with, was to go through a few mental and physical activites, whatever time it was, thereby providing my muse with a metaphorical phone call to come round. I would make some tea, start up the word processor, sit down and close my eyes whilst I focused on where I had got to last time, reading something if necessary. On really difficult days/nights I would read a few pages from a book first. I discovered tt's not just the regularity of time that brings on the muse, but also the regularity of events.

I write my blogs on Monday, Wednesday and Friday (mostly), and whatever time I sit down to compose them, my muse knows because of my pattern of behaviour. She then proceeds to remind me of all the great ideas I'd had for a blog entry over the predeeding days and hours.

I am also lucky that I don't have much work at the moment so can get into a morning routine to prepare myself and my muse for some writing.

If you don't have regular hours for being creative, try building a regular routine.

2 comments:

Milo James Fowler said...

Routines are good, and I know I function best with a deadline: by noon today, I'll have 1K written -- or something like that.

Martin Willoughby said...

Milo: We have to be professional in our attitude if we ever want to make a career out of writing, as we do in any walk of life. It seems to work for you judging by the amount you've had published. Keep it up.