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Maureen Kauzlarich

Children's Author

How to Coax the Writing Muses

Ever wonder where that darn writing muse goes when you need her? Maybe yours is a guy who doesn't show up for the dates you make. Both silly and kind of true, this post may spark some creative way to coax the muse on YOUR time. 

 

Sit Very Still

You know that saying, "You can always edit a bad page. You can’t edit a blank page." Sometimes a blank page isn't so bad on the creativity bones. Even better, try to stare at nothing. Not even a blank page. Go to the place you want to write and sit there. Think and imagine. Don't pick up a pen. Don't click off that screensaver. Don't lay a hand on that piece of notebook paper. Let your thoughts roll in, but also try to push out what you want to write. It's a push-and-pull kind of thing with this muse. Perhaps you want to write in a particular genre, but you don't have a clue what the story is. Imagine what stories in that genre look like. In preparation for this sit-down, start thinking about what you want to write in the days before. The muse of inspiration will come.

 

Go Somewhere Else

When you go to a new place, there are new things for your five senses. New smells, sights, sounds, feel, and maybe even taste. (That's a big maybe.) If you're completely stuck in a story, the unstuck muse can only be found in an entirely new place. Explore it and don't think about the story. It's there in your subconscious. The unstuck muse will get it out, but first, you must go out of your way to get out.

 

Nature Walk

Find things in nature and describe what you see . . . in your head. Don't want you talking to yourself out in the open now. The way we see pictures in clouds (I see a dragon!) we can also see in other parts of nature. That pile of leaves kind of looks like it's hiding something, eh? If you have children, they are the perfect spotters. What we see as the everyday mundane, they see through a fresh lens. If you don't have kids, think like one. Remember your childhood. The setting muse will bring back your natural, creative ways.

 

Chat Up A Friend . . . or a stranger

This is a good one if you’re having problems with characters. Go out and start up a conversation with a stranger. Notice the way they speak, their body language, and what they talk about. The character muse will be standing somewhere nearby in the grocery store and hit you with a carton of milk. Figuratively, of course. Something your eye catches or something the stranger says will give you something to go on in your story. You must be mindful. This can be done with loved ones as well. Notice something different about them on purpose. Traits for your characters can be found in people you speak with daily.

 

Read Someone's Work

If you need a plot, read either your past projects or open a random page to an already published book (preferably in your genre). Get the feel of the way a book is structured in somebody else’s story. You can also find a gem in your own past work that you could use in your current WIP. The story muse likes to hide parts of your book or in other writings. You must dig with your eyes to find treasure.

 

All in all, have fun figuring out your muses. There's one for every writing occasion. *muse winks in background*

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