WHAT TO DO WHEN LIFE THREATENS TO KILL YOUR CREATIVE MUSE
Life is full of ups and downs, things expected and things unexpected. Many people find themselves so busy with working, raising a family and keeping house that there is no time for much of anything else. Life can get in the way and prevent you from having any time for yourself.
Right now, life is getting in my way. I am currently in the last few weeks of (what I hope) is my last semester in graduate school. Between a few final class projects and a whole lot of studying in preparation for a final exam, my brain feels as if it is well and truly fried. This semester has been the most busy and stressful of all my semesters in graduate school. I have had to read inordinate amounts of text that would bore pretty much anyone to tears. On top of that with writing assignments every week have taken up much of my free time. Add to the mix, the arduous task of job-hunting every day in preparation for graduation and you have one pretty burned out grad student with little free time.
As a result of my myriad of life responsibilities, my creative muse has started to suffer. What do I mean by this? I mean that the voice inside my head that tells me what to write is having a hard time speaking lately. With less and less time, when I do make an attempt to write, I'm finding that I'm starting to struggle. It's getting harder and harder to pick up my story and work on it in irregular spurts. I'm finding that the passion I had when I started the story is diminishing. But most of all, I can find myself fearing that life will always get in the way of my writing.
So what do you do when life threatens your creative muse? I've thought about this long and hard as I struggle to build my writing career. Here is what I have come up with
1. YOU MUST WRITE EVERYDAY- I've heard this said more than once and it couldn't be more true. While writing may be a talent, it is also a skill. To sharpen your skill, you must practice and that means writing everyday. It doesn't matter how much you write. What matters is that you write something. This will not only keep your skill up to par, but it will keep your enthusiasm for your story going. As you work on your story, day by day, not only do you get closer and closer to completion, but you get affirmation that your muse was not just a fluke. It's there to stay.
2. DO THE BARE MINIMUM- What do I mean? My mother is likely to disagree with this one. What I mean is we all have things to do, but that doesn't mean we are required to spend all of our free time doing these tasks. For instance, I do all my laundry on one day of the week, as well as my cleaning. When I make cook I do a lot of crock pot ready meals. That means I don't have to spend valuable time making my meals. Instead I'm free to write as the crockpot does all the work. When it comes to my schooling, I have stopped reading materials that I know will be lectured on in class. It frees up more writing time for me.
3. READ, READ, READ- A writer will never be successful unless he or she spends time reading the works of others. Reading will keep your mind stimulated and often provide you with new ideas that you could incorporate in future works. Besides that reading exposes you to different writing styles that can help influence your own particular style.
4. KEEP UP WITH OTHER AUTHORS- There is nothing better to motivate you and your muse, than seeing that there are other authors out there trudging along through the mud that is life. Whether it's a NY Times bestselling author or an indie author, seeing someone else talking about their work and the new release they have coming out will motivate you to keep going with your current work and keep your mind open for new ideas that will keep you writing.
Since I've started trying to adhere to these techniques, I'm finding that my muse is slowly starting to come back to me. I find my mind conjuring new twists and turns to add to my current work in progress. My muse has even come up with a new novel idea in the past month. With 32 more potential stories to waiting to be written I have no choice but to find something that works and stick to it. After all, these novels aren't going to write themselves.
What kinds of techniques do you use to keep your creative muse alive?