I apologize in advance. From the title of this post, I realize that I may be giving folks the impression that I have cracked the secrets to creativity and keeping your Muse happy. Sadly, I have not… but if you care to read on I will let you know I’m getting close. It seems to me that the first step in learning how to care for your Muse, is paying attention to the signs and signals from the world around you. Most importantly, you need to listen to what your Muse is telling you.
“Γνῶθι σεαυτόν – Know Thyself.”Inscription from the Temple of Apollo at Delphi
Sorry to be so cryptic, stay with me…
Since the re-launch of my series in December 2020, I have been struggling to get words on the page. By struggling, I mean writing first draft stuff, which if I’m honest, I still managed to eek out and subsequently finish Book 2 in my Goddesses In Love series. But, I’m hard on myself and always think I could be doing more. This post is a reminder, to myself more than anyone, that: 1) life gets in the way, and 2) my 2021 word is “Grace.”
Looking back on the post outlining my 2021 Goals gives me a squishy feeling in my tummy. You know, the feeling that the bottom is dropping out and you just can’t do anything about it. But here is the thing, I knew what I was up against going in and prepared for it. The trouble is, I didn’t count on my Muse getting hangry. Now I am in a predicament, because there is still life stuff going on, and 3 books to edit, and I have absolutely no time to write new stuff. She is not buying any of the stuff I’m trying to sell her right now, and the promises that I have 3 writing retreats lined up in the 2nd half of the year to appease her hungry appetite, well nope…she ain’t having it! So now what? I’m guessing I’ll have to give her a snack! The result is this post.
It took me a few weeks of waking up at 2:00 a.m. to realize that she was disrupting my sleep. Not the worries about my family, or the struggles at work, or even the advertising that I am just not able to get to. Nope, totally her. What this means, is I need to figure out how to work in some care and feeding of my Muse, without disrupting the other things I have going on right now. Things that require way more than its fair share of my attention, by the way. I realize that the month off of regular posting didn’t do me any favors, and getting back into that habit will be key for me. So here is what is on the menu:
- Get back to weekly blog posts
- Write shorter pieces – poems, shorts and idea outlines
- Fill the “experience” well with day trips, movies, and fun stuff
Now, I understand that it seems like I am adding more to my plate, but I assure you I’m not. It is merely re-prioritizing what is important. I am finding more and more that allowing myself the time and space to create is almost more important than finishing a project. The process of bringing a story into the world requires 2 very different sides of my brain, and not allowing myself the time to create (thus ignoring one side completely) has a detrimental effect on my health. I finally had that “aha” moment.
Weekly blog posts
I didn’t realize how much I missed writing these, and just how beneficial they were, until I started writing this post. It has been almost 2 months since I have written anything “new” for an essay, since nothing was posted in May, and one could argue that the posts in April were prior works. No wonder I’m antsy! I also feel that researching a more complicated piece like my Origins of Witchcraft, or Mythical Creatures posts, keeps my mind sharp which in turn makes my Muse happy.
The research posts are a bit much every week, so concentrating on one a month will be a nice balance moving forward. The rest of the shared works could be some shorter pieces I create along the way, or other announcements. Keeping the balance here will be key, since I tend to over-do things. So…
Dear Muse, my promise moving forward is to get back to my weekly Saturday posts.D.A. Henneman
Write shorter pieces
This is really the key piece in the plan moving forward. Finding the right “short” piece to work on is going to be the tricky part. I am coming out of several years of writing novels at around the 100,000 word length and, until now, hadn’t really spent a whole lot of time concentrating on shorter works. I used to write them all the time, some of which I am sharing on my website, but even though they are shorter, I don’t find them any easier than the fantasy romances I took a year to complete.
With all things, I believe practice makes perfect, so I am more than up for this latest challenge. However, the Novella or Novelette sized short may be still a tiny bit too long for me to keep my Muse satisfied. She is voracious and tired of being squelched. So, it is quite possible that I will need to dabble with Micro-Fiction again, or perhaps poetry, especially if I am blogging more. Honestly, I’m not sure I have much choice in the matter, since she will be telling me what she wants moving forward. She’s pushy that way.
Dear Muse, my promise to you is to write shorter pieces to feed your voracious appetite.D.A. Henneman
P.S. Sorry for calling you “pushy” and insinuating that you eat a lot.
Fill the experience well
I have some things planned this year that will help with this immensely! 2020 put a damper on all in-person events, so writing conferences, retreats, book signings, were all canceled. That put my social stuff on the back burner, which I think has finally caught up to me. I did manage to get out for a signing in April 2021, which was lovely despite the small crowds. It is always amazing to meet readers interested in what you have written, and even though folks had masks on, you could still see the excited smiles in their eyes.
Without the in-person options readily available again this summer, I have focused more on creating instead of selling, and have booked 3 writing retreats with 3 different groups of writer friends. I am over-the-moon excited about attending these in the 2nd half of this year, and am already planning what I will be working on. I have promised myself that it will be about new creation, and less about editing. The plan is to research ahead and prepare myself for the creation process, so when I am there I am ready to roll!
The other thing I am trying to do is to schedule more day trips. I am taking in more beachsides, spa days, and movie nights, making sure that I am present with each of the experiences. After the year of the self-imposed isolation we had last year, it has been a wonderful change. I also have plans to get out in my neglected gardens this year and dig away the blues. There is nothing more therapeutic than putting my hands in the dirt, something I should have never stopped doing if I’m being honest.
Dear Muse, my promise to you is that I will be better at self-care and giving you new experiences to feed on.D.A. Henneman
The care and feeding of your Muse is probably no more complicated than my own. It is finding the right balance of what you “have to do,” and what you “want to do,” with a sprinkling of what your soul “needs.” Sometimes figuring out what your soul needs is the hardest part of this journey, but once you figure it out, I promise you that nurturing it will only bring you greater joy in your life.
What are some of the things you do when caring for your Muse? Are there things you put on hold that you can start easing back into your life? Let me know in the comments below! I would love to hear from you!
As always, thank you for sharing this journey with me, and for taking the time out of your day to read my thoughts. It means alot. For anyone interested in what I write, please feel free to stay a while and poke around on my website. I have a ton of content I’ve been developing over the years and I would love to get your thoughts on it.
For my Power of Four series, the best link is:
For my Mythical Creatures posts, head over to:
For more Soundtrack of my Life posts:
And for my Shorts and Tidbits:
As always, I hope this post finds you happy and healthy. Until next time! XO