The ever-elusive Muse. She takes many forms.
Ask any writer and they will tell you how infuriatingly fickle, stubborn and high-maintenance motivation can be. And that’s all Muse is, really, inspired motivation.
Kind of like scoring that crystalized honey at the bottom of a mason jar, sometimes you’ve got some spastic shaking and scraping to do, things can get a little sticky in the process, but put in the effort, and you’ll end up with some finger-licken’ golden sweetness.
And yet, despite the determination by many a scribe, sometimes Muse just refuses to cooperate. (This usually happens in the case of a looming deadline.)
So what’s a writer to do?
Well, once the toilets are scrubbed, the floors have been vacuumed, that entirely unnecessary errand run and the DVD case alphabetized, yes, once every innocuous task is completed, it’s time to regroup and re-evaluate. Muse isn’t going to show up because the towels are folded and the floors are clean enough to eat off of. Muse is a slob with perpetual bed head. Trust me.
When all else fails, it’s time to get mean. To wait around for inspiration to show up is a disaster in the form of good intentions. Every moment you spend shoe shopping, waiting for that special feeling to call you over to the laptop, some other bozo wearing twenty-year-old Keds is grinding out the next best seller.
The Times List waits for no writer, or muses either. It’s time to become that gym teacher you were afraid of in middle school and whip your story into action. Sure it’s uncomfortable, and yes, it feels like work. But don’t get your panties in a knot. This is nothing like trying to climb that d#*% rope all the way up to the ceiling. For goodness sake, you’re a writer. You get to work in your pajamas and drink coffee from a mug shaped like your favorite Disney character.
The trick is to find what works for you. Figure out what turns your muse on and invest in that. If a brand new ITunes playlist will break you out of your funk long enough to get your muse talking to you again, then maybe it’s worth the five or ten bucks. Or if that shakes the foundations of your Starbucks budget allotment, find a new radio station and be surprised with each new song.
Music too distracting? Maybe it’s a scent that will put you in the mood. Take a field trip to your local gift shop and play scratch and sniff in the candle isle for a bit. Find a scent that best smells like your story and get ready to bask in coconut-scented motivation.
The possibilities are endless. Which upon deeper reflection, might be why the prospect of nailing down inspiration can be so overwhelming. But suck it up and invest in the relationship with your own creativity. Remember the bozo in Keds? She’s probably typing away in a broom closet in her company’s basement next to a puddle of dirty mop water. But you can bet your last sip of chocolate-chip frappuccino that her muse is there with her. Because the bozo wants it. Bad.
At the end of the day, that’s what it’s really all about. How bad do you want it? And do you really have time to wait around for inspiration to show up on her own terms? Or do you need to lure your muse close enough to grab her by the hair and drag her kicking and screaming until she catches a whiff of your new Yankee Candle and decides to cooperate?
Do you want it bad enough to sit down and squeeze out the words even when you don’t feel like it? Even when it’s hard? If the answer’s yes, then what are you waiting for? Be your own pajama-wearing, caffeine -addicted, sweet-smelling inspiration.
So, don’t be shy. What’s your secret for wrangling your muse?