How to Care for Your Writing Muse
~ Note: This is a guest post by Lisa Tener, she is the recipient of the Silver Stevie Award for Mentor/Coach of the Year 2014. For a free guided visualization to connect with your inner muse, click here. You can also read Lisa’s book writing blog or find her articles on writing and publishing on the Huffington Post. ~
As writers, we often expect our inner muse to produce on demand. Sometimes it works and sometimes…you know…it starts with feeling a little blocked, turns into dread, you pass by your desk feeling guilty, and then you let the papers pile on your desk to completely avoid writing.
If you think of your creative source, what I tend to call your muse, as an inner being that requires care and nurturing, you can reach and sustain a creative, productive state with greater ease.
You can even ask your muse what he/she needs from you to come out and play—to write and fully express.
Your muse probably needs the basics:
- A good night’s sleep.
- Enough water to hydrate those brain cells, especially the “right” ones!
- Nutritious foods that feed your mind and body well
- Exercises and stress reducing activities that support your wellbeing.
Your muse may also need you to cultivate a sense of safety—that you won’t judge your writing too soon or ask for feedback from a hypercritical person. Your muse may need permission to write a lousy first draft that you can polish later, after you’ve written your first draft.
My muse loves walks in nature. As I move, my creativity flows. You may also find that nature is a powerful stimulant for your muse. Many writers do. So, when writing is stuck, I often recommend getting out in nature first. Sometimes, that’s all you need.
When people tell me they have writer’s block, I often ask about their creative space:
- Is your writing space multipurpose? If so, perhaps you can find ways to organize your space better, cover up other projects with a scarf or cloth when you are writing, or find a better spot. Claim the space for your muse when you write.
- Do you need to clean or clear your writing space? Creative energy usually flows better when you clean up the messes.
You may well know these things and just forget to do them. Here’s one tip that often surprises writers: Your muse thrives on gratitude.
When you end a writing session on a grateful note, you nurture your inner muse and set yourself up positively for the next time you write . When you focus on what you did not accomplish, think how disheartened it must make your inner muse! So, allow yourself to feel good about whatever you did during your creative time.
If this feels awkward, don’t worry. The more you nurture your muse, the more creative flow you will experience. Your practices of self-care and gratitude will build on themselves and become even more powerful with time.
How to feel grateful for writing on an unproductive day:
- Think of what you did accomplish, even if you came short of your plan. If you aimed for a chapter and wrote a page, be grateful for the page, even if it feels forced.
- If you sat at your desk without writing, waiting for inspiration, trust that your muse needed down time before beginning. Trust that more will come the next time you sit down, or the next, or the next.
- Picture that you will write easily the next time you sit down to write. Trust. Feel grateful for the writing you know is coming!
How do (or will) you nurture your muse and do you have any suggestions for your fellow writers? Share in the comments.
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