NOTE: This was originally published as a guest blog at http://speculativesalon.blogspot.com
in May 2011. Enjoy!
Yes, it’s me—the Muse. You’ve been complaining for a while that I’ve been absent. How many times have you said something like “I can’t get in the flow” or “My muse has deserted me”?
Maybe you guessed that I went on an extended vacation. Or that I’ve simply disappeared.
Well, I’m here to tell you that I’ve been here all this time. I know you find that difficult to believe, but it’s true. The Muses don’t lie. Never.
We take our work seriously.
You think the work of the Muses is easy? Fun? Magical?
Wrong. Wrong. And wrong.
Flow takes work. Writing takes work. And magic? That’s how you feel when you’re in that powerful creative flow. And yes, getting to that magical element takes work. It’s not something you can order, like pizza.
Think about it. Musicians practice. Athletes practice. Artists practice. A lot. It’s a commitment. So what is it with writers who expect to sit themselves down and just do it after not practicing their craft in a while?
As a Muse I like order and focus. I am available to those who commit themselves to their craft. Your actions and commitment create ENERGY and that energy FEEDS me.
How to begin? Take action. Write. A lot. Act as if, when you sit down to write, that you do this ALL THE TIME. That you have already begun. Write as if you ARE in the flow. As if I’m with you in this magical movement of ideas and thoughts and words that flow out of you as STORY.
The top two things that block me from BEING with you when you write are: your inner critic and YOU.
The inner critic has a place. When you are analyzing what idea to develop into a story, he is helpful. When you are planning the storyline, he is helpful.
When you are revising, he is helpful. When you are writing, send him off to do some errand or send him to Arizona. Just sent him away for this part of your writing process.
That’s right. You are your own worse enemy. You create resistance. You come up with all kinds of excuses not to write. You put off your writing as long as you can. Why? Because writing is like stepping out of your comfort zone. Writing is action. You are DOING something. (And it FEELS good!) So ask yourself: What’s stopping you? (HINT: Many times the response has to do with some FEAR.)
Somerset Maugham, when asked if he wrote on a schedule or when inspiration stuck, responded: “I write only when inspiration strikes me. Fortunately it strikes me every morning at nine o’clock sharp.”
Do you see what he’s saying? He’s committed. He takes ACTION. He’s practicing his craft. He’s connected.
What are you waiting for? (And when the excuses tumble out of you, ask yourself: WHY?)
The more you write, the more you HEAR me, UNDERSTAND me, and FEEL me. The more you write, the more you are CONNECTED to me, your Muse.
Without action, there is no connection, no flow. This is when you can’t find or feel me. This is when you feel deserted. So sit, write. I’m here…waiting.
Writing in the flow is not magical; it CREATES the magic. And this is flow. I’m here, ready, waiting. What about you?