Hunting for the Muse.

Writing and striking a balance

I know it’s in here somewhere.

It’s nine o’clock on a Saturday morning and I have been chasing the Muse around my  head for at least an hour. Whenever I did manage to catch up with it, I squeezed another few sentences out before it disappeared. So, after an hour of being as disciplined as I can, I finally put the last word to my latest chapter of Finding Henry Brubaker. I am on a deadline with this book so I really do have to sit down most every day and write something. Thank goodness for editing. Imagine if whatever we wrote could not be erased or changed.

So today I have written about three hundred words. Tomorrow I hope to write a lot more. The trouble is, I have to go to work in an hour and by the time I get home, the Muse will have gone. I am at my most creative in the mornings. I know what you’re thinking – 300 words, call that creative? Well some days I am more creative than others.  When I began writing my first book, I tried to follow the advice of more experienced authors. Most will say to write every day, even if the Muse does not grab you. Sometimes, like this morning, it’s me that is grabbing the Muse and beating the inspiration out of it.

Having written and published three books, I think I have found what works best for me. There are lots of days when the inspiration is there and thousands of words just flow from my fingertips and I cannot type fast enough to keep up with the ideas filling my head. Just about every book I have read on the subject of writing says that a writer must be disciplined. Write every day, even on those days when you have to go to work (if you are not fortunate enough to earn a living from writing – yet).

If you are an independent author, you most likely do all your own marketing, social networking, run a blog, etc. etc., you know the score. This is the work I mostly leave for later in the day – except for this morning, as my blog Muse is wide awake for a change. Some people feel inspired to write in the afternoon or evening. If you can take advantage of those times when your creativity is at a peak that’s great. However, if work or family responsibilities and other commitments need your attention, all is not lost. That was the BIG mistake I made for many years. It cost me a lot of lost time when I should have been writing instead of waiting for the Muse to arrive at a convenient slot in my schedule.

Do you have a book in your head? Are ideas swirling around in there, waiting to get out? Don’t wait for the ‘right’ time, set a goal. Write every day, even when you don’t want to. It may not always happen, some days you won’t manage a single word, but if you at least plan to do it, chances are you will. Pick two or three books on the craft of writing (it is a craft, a skill that needs developing if you want to do it well). I mostly stick to Stephen King’s “On Writing” and Brenda Ueland’s “If You Want to Write” but you may have your favourites. I randomly choose a chapter from either of these books whenever I need some encouragement. I love how Brenda Ueland describes what art is; “A creative impulse, a feeling of love and enthusiasm for something and in a direct, simple, passionate and true way you try to show this beauty in things to others by drawing it.” 

Here is what she says about writing; “Have the dreamy idleness of children when you walk alone for a long time, or lie in a bed at night and thoughts come and go, or dig in the garden or drive a car for many hours alone. An idleness where you sit before your typewriter quietly putting down what you happen to be thinking – that is creative idleness. At such times you are being slowly filled and recharged with warm imagination, with wonderful, living thoughts.”

Tomorrow being Sunday, I think I will take Brenda Ueland’s advice and spend some time being “dreamily idle” and instead of hunting for the Muse, I will let my thoughts wander and do a little day-dreaming and hopefully write something good. If not good – then profound, I might as well be optimistic about it.




About Jean Reinhardt

Author of 'A Pocket Full of Shells' an Amazon International best seller, Jean writes young adult and historical fiction. She has been known to shed a tear over Little House on the Prairie.
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2 Responses to Hunting for the Muse.

  1. Pingback: Hunting for the Muse | The Writer's Workshop Blog

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