My Muse is pissed at me, and rightly so, I have ignored her for the past several weeks. I haven’t been doing anything exciting, at least in her eyes, just everyday “life gets in the way” boring stuff like buying a car and getting a new roof on the house. But here’s the thing, she will only take it for so long and then she starts moving from passive to aggressive which I can tell you from personal experience, isn’t pretty.
So when your Muse is unamused, and you still have a laundry list of things to accomplish in a short period of time, here are some things you can do to keep her happy while you handle the business of living your life.
- Write a blog post – Exactly what I am doing here and now, since it has been literally weeks since I have had my laptop out. Oh! Hello Mr. Cobweb! Anyway, as you can see here, blog posts are a great way to get your thoughts down on “paper” and purge some of those nasty thoughts that your Muse tries to plant in your mind. Things like “thought you were a writer, why aren’t you writing?” Or, my personal favorite, “well if you have time to sleep, you have time to write!” Those thoughts have no right to be muddling up your mind, and at some point, you need to put them to rest. Writing a personal essay can be just the thing to appease your Muse, albeit I warn, the fix will be temporary.
- Get outside – I know what you are thinking, totally defeating the purpose, but stay with me. Creativity needs to be fed, and my Muse is voracious. She is pretty much starving at this point honestly, but I know two things to be true: 1) The other things hogging my attention are temporary and, 2) She isn’t going anywhere, no matter how much she whines. Getting outside for a short walk, a visit with friends, or taking a drive with the windows down, allows me to escape into my mind for just a tiny bit and give my Muse the undivided attention she is craving. By the way, she wanted me to let you know that she came up with the title of this post yesterday while I was doing errands. She’s a bossy thing, isn’t she?
- Social Media – While Social Media can drain the better part of a day if you aren’t careful, it can also be a great place to keep your creative juices flowing in small amounts of time. There are a number of games on Twitter that cater to anything that interests you and some of the ones for writing can really get you thinking about your characters in a different light. My Muse LOVES these games and often wants to hop in and make comments when I really can’t devote the time, so I try to commit to them at the beginning of the month. Some games list their prompts by the month, which I find are the easiest to participate with since it allows me to schedule my responses. That way when I have a few minutes to pop on later, the only thing I need to worry about is engaging. Some of the games I have participated with on Twitter are #WIPJoy hosted by @simmeringmind, #authorconfession co-hosted by @jjulienauthor and #authorwouldyou co-hosted by @Haley_Rings. #Turtlewriters have weekly prompts if you can’t commit to the daily ones, so check them out as well! Try one of them next month, your Muse will thank you!
- Schedule ahead – Using a scheduling program like Buffer can save you a ton of time, if you don’t have one I highly recommend getting one! It is like having a personal assistant doing your posts for you, so on the days where you are running around like a nut, you are still able to keep a sane and professional facade in place (that is my hope anyway). What this also does is takes the pressure off so that when you do have a few hours to appease your Muse, you are able to write instead of handling promotion or marketing stuff. Setting a date with yourself to write, market, promote, (or insert any one of the multitudes of tasks Indie Authors have to manage on a daily basis here), has been the only way I have found that I can keep things balanced. There is nothing wrong with making your writing a priority, and I know my Muse agrees even if my family doesn’t. By the way, she just reminded me of the quote by JK Rowling, “Be ruthless about protecting writing days. I.E. Do not cave in to endless requests to have ‘essential’ and ‘long overdue’ meetings on those days.” I have found that leaving my house is the best way to adhere to this rule and is a clear signal to my Muse that I am ready to work. She usually gets down to business if she knows we are limited on time.
- There is always paper – There are just times that you just can’t get a chunk of time longer than 10 minutes, and on those days I carry a notebook around with me. A few minutes can be enough to sketch a character description, outline a blog post, or line up responses to a hashtag game prompt. Giving your Muse a few minutes a day will keep her quiet for a little while, but at some point, you need to dive in and write the thing. Having something outlined on paper can help keep you focused once you do have the time to devote to writing.
As much as some of us would love to be able to write to our heart’s content, it just isn’t always feasible, you know… life gets in the way. Fitting your Muse into your daily schedule in small doses can be just the fix you need until your life gets back on track. Now, I have some errands to run… where is that damn notebook?