Training your muse

I’m not always fond of using the word muse, because the way I see it you are your own muse, but writers like to give their talent a name, so let’s call it the muse, shall we?

Traditionally the muse is female, but screw tradition. Your muse can be anything you want it to be. Sometimes, we get a say in the matter, other times we really don’t. My friend Sarah Dahl’s muse is a troll. Mine is a short, sturdy man with long black hair, bright blue eyes, tattoos, a little stubble on the face, and a penchant for leather. He’s a bit of a bad boy, forever getting into trouble. I didn’t choose this guy, he just showed up one day. There he was, sitting on my desk, one ass on, the other off, swinging his left leg to and fro, going, “Howzit? I’m your muse.”

The muse, I guess, is the one responsible for your inspiration. He runs off, fetches the people who needs to tell their story, and brings them to your desk (or wherever you sit and work). Other times, he comes back to you alone, but he’ll have the story ready for you.

Often though, the muse just won’t cooperate. He’ll show up late, or he’ll just sit there, twiddling his thumbs, refusing to fetch your story for you. Other times, he’s so stubborn he won’t show up at all.

You have to train your muse to show up at the same time every day, and do his job! It might take a while, but it’s worth it in the end. So where do you start?

Start working at the same time every day
If you are new to writing, you may not yet know when your best writing hours are. Everyone’s most productive hours are different, but most of us can write any time of the day and night when push comes to shove. The idea is though, to start writing at roughly the same time every day – that way, you’ll get into a nice rhythm and your muse will get used to you being at your desk at the same time every day. At first, you’ll have to go fetch the little bugger, tell him to sit down and stay put, but over time he’ll get used to it, and eventually he’ll show up at the appointed hour, ready to get started.

Do not wait for the muse to come to you
I can not stress this enough. The muse is a fickle being, and if you wait for him, you’ll wait forever. If he refuses to show up, get up and go find the bastard, feed him some caffeine, and tell him to do his damned job, or he’s fired. If he just sits there and watches you with his pretty, big blue eyes, ignore him. Start writing anyway. Write about anything, your day, your luscious green pot plant’s life cycle – anything will do. Yes, it will probably suck eyeballs, and it will be painful, but eventually the muse won’t be able to resist and he’ll jump in to help.

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