Muses are fickle fey things, apt to hop out of the car right when your pants are off and all the blood is flowing downhill. Inconvenient. Vexing. Vital. So what can we do to keep these lovely creative lubricants around all the way to the finish? Turns out, there’s actually quite a lot.
First is the relatively obvious advice you’ve heard a million times before – writers write. Even when you’re not being guided by your muse’s talented hands, you write. Especially when you know you’re alone and writing badly. It’s probably the hardest part of writing, not even editing compares to accepting the fact that today, maybe tomorrow and even into next week, you’ll be writing badly.
You never want something as sought after and desirable as your muse to know for certain how lost you are without them, it just encourages them to treat you badly. Or even worse they might wander away never to return, searching instead for a partner that is equal to themselves. Your muse is your partner, without hands to type or a voice to speak to anyone but you they need you as much as you need them.
So show off what you can do on your own, write even without the muse, write badly just keep writing and they’ll be back.
Just because you should think of your muse as your partner and don’t want to fawn over it like a lovesick puppy – doesn’t mean you shouldn’t show a little… consideration, understanding and appreciation from time to time either.
Muses tend to get chatty at random moments and rarely like to be told to go away and come back later when it’s more convenient for you. So carry a notebook or some kind of note taking device for those moments. Your muse will appreciate the effort and you’ll get valuable tidbits to sort through on those days that the muse isn’t with you.
My muse, doesn’t like urban environments and will tell me so rather adamantly. Instead of being uplifted with wonderful ideas, my muse will see to it that everything which usually inspires only sours so badly that I’m actually afraid to let my mind wander. Ugh horrible stuff. So when I lived in Philly I’d take her to parks, gardens, historical monuments, art galleries and museums, anything to make her a little more comfortable and happy.
Finally, feed your muse. Some things in particular, really seem to make my muse more talkative and happy. Certain music, duh, a little Stephen King and strenuous exercise – I try to pack all of that in everyday before I even start writing. I’ve read everything King’s written 3x’s over, whether I liked it or not, have a large and totally incomprehensible playlist just for her and keep in good shape – all so that when I sit down to write, she’s purring with contentment.
Oh I still write badly on occasion. I’m sickly, there are days, weeks, when I can’t exercise, times when I just can’t take another run-through of King, days when I just don’t want to listen to the same damn music again, or the mix of the playlist just isn’t right. But for the most part, if you feed your muse and treat her like a valued partner, your muse will work with you more often than she leaves you with blue brain.