by Shirley Drew
When she finally arrives and settles in, there is no way to predict how long she will stay. And since I often don’t have time to wait for her, I must find ways to keep plugging along while “waiting for the muse”:
1. Research—Most writing, even fiction, often requires background research. When I can’t even string together a worthy sentence, I’ll go to my research for a time. It often brings my muse back.
2. Edit—I often edit at the beginning and end of each writing session. But if I’m making no progress writing, I go back and edit again.
3. Read, Read, Read—Reading work I love is a great inspiration for my own writing. It will often get me back to my keyboard in a hurry.
4. Skip Around—Instead of working in a linear fashion, for example, from beginning to end, I will work on another section of the piece in order to make some progress.
5. Work on a different piece of writing—unless I have a deadline that’s extremely close, I’ll move on to another writing project; sometimes a change in focus will mean a couple of completed pages.
6. Go for a walk and let my mind wander. In his novel, Bag of Bones, Stephen King says that, “…eighty-five percent of what goes on in a novelist’s head is none of his business”. I often come back from a walk ready to work.
What does NOT work is going to Facebook (my digital crack) or answering emails. This will surely pull me away from my writing entirely.
Who or what is your muse? What do you do when you’re waiting for your muse? I would love to hear your stories.