Thursday, March 20, 2008

When You Luse Your Muse

When you're under deadline, you have little choice. You suck it up and get the job done.

"I write when I'm inspired, and I see to it that I'm inspired at nine o'clock every morning." ~~Peter De Vries

But what about when the deadlines are artificially set? What about when life hands you something that trumps writing? What about when you feel like you've somehow managed to sink your creativity into a load of quick-dry cement? That it's vaporized into the greedy dry air of the desert of your mind?

What then???

Here are some things I find helpful (yeah, been there-done that):

Read. Read an author you love to read. It doesn't matter whether he or she writes in your genre. What matters is remembering what made you want to write in the first place. For most of us, that desire was born of reading.

Read. Read a magazine that focuses on writing. Those articles make me itch all over, and there's only one way to scratch that itch.

Read. Read one of your favorite books on the craft of writing. Get inspired and maybe even redirected.

Read. Read what you've already written. Get caught back up in the excitement of your story. Reacquaint yourself to those characters who blew you away. Imagine what they're driven to do next.

Walk. Lace up those athletic shoes and hit the streets. Move your legs and your arms and let the cobwebs clear out. Throw your shoulders back (and down) and check out the signs of the season. Then pull one of your characters into your head and push them around a little bit. See how they react.

Write. Try a short story for a change. Or write about what might be lurking in that icky dark corner of your storage room. Or, along the same vein, how that newest sign of aging makes you feel. Write everyday. EVERY day. Journal. Write gibberish. Free-style. Hit the keys and see what the monkey comes up with. You never know, it could be great. Or not. Doesn't matter.

Pray. Find some quiet time and listen. Sure, make requests—but listen. Get centered. Focused. Back on track.

What do you do to get back in the swing?

It's all better with friends.

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