‘My writing has just stalled completely. I haven’t written anything for weeks.’
I was sitting with a lovely writer, on our lunch break from a writing workshop, listening to how she didn’t know what to write next, so she’d stopped writing.
She was devastated, because she was so attached to the story and its characters, but the ‘muse’ had left her.
I nodded my head knowingly. All of us writers have been there at one time or another.
I too have sat there, paralysed at my keyboard, waiting for that temperamental little minx of a muse to appear and shower me in magical creative fairy dust. And guess what? She never showed.
The Perfect Writing Conditions Don’t Exist
I had bad news for my new writer friend. If she persisted on her current path, the Muse wasn’t going to show up for her either.
You see, many of us writers like to think that we can only channel our creativity under the exact right conditions.
And given those conditions, the Muse will appear.
Those conditions may rely on being in the exact right mood and place. Having a beautifully designed workspace. It being the right time of day. Not being too tired. Having a big stint of time to sit down and write, completely undisturbed. And possible even having the astrological planets perfectly aligned. The thing is though, I’m yet to come across any writer whose life creates these perfect conditions for them on a consistent basis, or even at all.
I’ve used every excuse under the sun for why I couldn’t finish my book. In fact I used them for the best part of 10 years.
‘I write for a living, so I have no creativity or energy left each day.’ That was my favourite one.
Excuses are merely that. They are excuses. And you have to have call them out for the BS they are.
Life will inevitably get in the way of your writing. Deal with it, and recognise understand that it isn’t the reason why the Muse won’t appear.
The Muse Doesn’t Appear on Command
Even those of us, that accept that the perfect writing conditions don’t exist, have been guilty on occasion of tapping our fingers impatiently at our desk, waiting for a burst of creativity to appear.
Guess what though. The Muse doesn’t appear on command either.
Merely sitting at your keyboard, isn’t enough to signal to the Muse that you’re ready for her.
It’s a good start, because that’s where she’ll be looking for you, but it’s not enough.
Prove You’re Serious
The Muse needs to know you’re serious about your writing.
She’s not going to waste her time and magic on someone who isn’t prepared to do the hard yards.
How do you prove you’re serious?
You show up and you just write.
As simplistic as it sounds, you just have to sit at that keyboard, or notepad, and write your way through it.
The words may be rubbish, incoherent even, but you have to give the Muse something to work with.
Write whatever comes to you.
The great thing about writing is that the more you do it, the better you get at it.
The more you make yourself available to the Muse, the more responsive she is.
And the best part about writing is, that it doesn’t have to be perfect the first time.
Start with any words. You can change them later. Just get words onto a screen, or a page.
One word, after another, until you have a sentence. One sentence after another, until you have a page. You get the picture.
While I’d love to say that writing is all about being creative, the big ugly truth is that it’s not. More often than not, it’s about showing up day, after day, even when you don’t feel like it, and writing, writing, writing.
So stop waiting for the Muse, write for her.
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I’m a Writer, Content Marketer and Storyteller. I love creating and curating content, strategies and resources that will make your day. I’m also publisher of small business news and resources site – InJust5.com, and am writing my first young adult fiction series.