“If there is no struggle, there is no progress.”
“I wish you a wrestling match with your creative muse that will last a lifetime. I wish craziness and foolishness and madness upon you. May you live with hysteria and out of it make fine stories… which finally means, may you be in love every day for the next 20,000 days. And out of that love, remake a world.”
Oy veh! “Struggling.”Wrestling with your creative muse” — I know, I know. This doesn’t sound like a ton of fun. In fact, it sounds tough, bruising even. Why does it have to be this way? Why can’t our muse just gently tap on our door, slip in on wings of ether and perch quietly beside us, gently pouring sweet words of inspiration into our ear? Or take up residence inside our favorite fountain pen? Or nestle next to that little chip in our computer and ignite it and give us something red hot to work with?
Who knows? If we did, we could bottle it and we’d all be guaranteed a great day today: We’d be in the zone and inspiration would be our middle name. But chances are, we’re going to face some rough patches, because muses can’t be summoned — they liked to be wooed, persuaded, cajoled, amused, adored (see also Muse Management). No matter how stubborn, ungiving, and ungracious they seem to be, they like to feel loved and appreciated and sought after. Just like people.
So here are a few muse-wooing strategies that may help you woo yours — or at least get her in the same room with you:
• Show up: If you’re not working, neither is your muse. So get whatever’s in your head down on the page and then noodle it around for the rest of the day on walks, while cooking — make it part of you.
• Turn a wispy, wacky idea into words: Take some crazy plot twist or unlikely character and run with it — see where it takes you. Get yourself out of your predictable groove and go somewhere new.
• Have fun: Muses like to be amused. So, slip out of the struggle mode: If you’re having a hard time with something, dump the angst and get playful. Pick a fun font on your computer and write in it for a while. Change your text from black to green or blue. Write with colored pencils or on colored index cards. Make a mind map: Jot down words that pop into your head about a character or scene and see if they jog something loose.
Any other strategies you’ve found helpful for wooing your moose — whoops, I mean muse? If so, please feel free to throw them into the pot as we all write on!