When the Muse Doesn't Cooperate
I've spent that last week or so wrestling with my muse. Okay, let me be honest. I'm not one of those writers who makes excuses. My characters don't "talk back to me" or refuse to behave. What helps me is the knowledge that I'm in full control. The "muse" is really me. Characters are people I create, which means I tell them what to do and say. So, if I say "my muse", I really mean Lynn wanted to lounge around watching streaming series, going for walks in the sunshine, and find all kinds of reasons to do other stuff. Because writing is hard y'all!!!
I hit a familiar stretch, the time when I want the words to magically jump on the page so I can write "The End" without the grunt work. You know, when I love having written books, but hate having to WRITE them. Hard. Mind numbing. Mental labor.
Then I have to put Plan B into action. Plan A is when the creative flow is smooth as mama's gravy on mash potatoes (hmm, must be close to lunch time). When the gravy train stops literally, I have to grit my teeth and put on my big girl pants. I sit down and write even if I don't feel like it. I'll bribe myself if necessary (shopping and Greek food work best).
There you have the answer to the question I've been asked dozens of times over the years, "How did you write all those novels?"
If you have goals but find it hard to do the tedious steps to get there (and yes, sometimes it's fun. But you can't count on it), here are tips:
1. Promise yourself a treat later
2. Review past accomplishments and say, "You can do it because you've done it before!"
3. Read about people you admire for inspiration
4. Set up a dedicated work space
5. Schedule dedicated creative/work time
6. Kick yourself in the butt (just kidding)
Don't berate, belittle, or get down on yourself. I think in the long-term that kind of technique is destructive. You'll talk yourself into believing "I can't", "I'll never", "It's too hard". Be as kind to yourself as you'd be to your best friend. If you don't have friends that's a hint you need to get better at being kind, btw. Ahem. Just saying.
Anyway, give those a try and soon you'll be all-