The Muse is Out to Lunch


“Today I have nothing to say,” I typed after staring at the screen for what seemed to be hours. I tried to think of something witty, compelling. After all I’m a writer aren’t I? I started over again, itching to pull the paper out of the typewriter roller, crush it and throw it in the basket. But that too was unsatisfying. I’m using a computer. I heave a heavy sigh, *sigh,* and once again look at the blank screen. Oh no! I have it, the dreaded writer’s block!

There are lots of reasons why we reach a barrier: we censor our work, stress in our ‘other’ life, rejections, low self esteem, I could go on but you get the picture.

Here are some tips I found on About.com to help you move forward:

  1. Develop and follow a writing schedule even if you write only a few hundred words. If you are consistent and sit down to write on a schedule, your mind will react accordingly.
  2. Don’t be hard on yourself. Just write. Save the critique for later when you edit.
  3. Don’t panic. Panicking will only make the block worse. The less you think about what you’re doing the better your writing will be. Let it flow.
  4. Take some time off especially if you have just finished one project. Give yourself time to recharge your batteries and gather new experiences.
  5. Set reasonable deadlines and goals for yourself. You may also want to find a writing group for support. It’s good to touch base with other writers and understand you are not alone. Commiserating puts things in perspective.
  6. Take a good look at any long standing issues that stop you from writing. Writing can be cathartic. Write about your anxieties and talk them out, preferably with another writer.
  7. Work on more than one project. Sometimes a second project can spur ideas for the first.
  8. Try a writing exercise. Just for fun. Finish this sentence: Like a butterfly, she magically …
  9. Get away from your desk for awhile. You need to stretch your legs, get the blood going. Go to the gym, browse your favorite book store, or go for a walk. When you come back to your desk you will feel renewed.
  10. Remember why you started writing and don’t give up. Think about the excitement, how much fun you had getting the words down. Recapture the spirit that is the muse.

Personally, I went for a walk and reconnected with some friends. With encouragement from my son, I contacted the editor who passed on my story and asked if she would consider re-reading it once the editing was done. The weight lifted but I have one more thing to do before I invite the muse back to my desk. I found this great romance novel. A few chapters should get me in the mood to write!

Happy Spring everyone which ever holiday you celebrate.

… Ruth

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2 responses to “The Muse is Out to Lunch

  1. Ruth we all go through this as writers. I find if I take a day off it seems to help. It usually happens to me when I have been pushing my self to write. I think my brain goes into over load then shuts down. It’s like hitting a brick wall. I also find if I read it sparks my imagination. Plus I just really like to read. That was one of the reasons I started writing. As for the writing groups, I would be lost without my crit partners. They are so much more than just crit partners. They are there for me in all my times of need. No one understands your distress better than another writer. Great blog.

  2. Tabitha, Thanks for the encouragement. As you know it is not always easy sitting by yourself demanding creativity. If anything, it makes it more difficult. I am learning that for me walking away is not a sign of defeat but a sign of regrouping. Today’s regrouping was to sit on the sofa and read. Thanks again.

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