The Muse in Everyday Life

Every writer has come to the point where things become muddy, sticky, and possibly monotonous. Is it writer’s block? Sure. Is it becoming bored with your own story? Maybe. Is it the dullness of life or a perpetual northern winter or a life event that arrives like a stray lightning bolt and saps you of any motivation to get to the page? Of course.

Do things that bring joy. Use that joy as fuel to write.
Do things that bring joy. Use that joy as fuel to write.

As a writer I admit I have been there. All of us have. But what can you do to get out of that funk? How can you rise above yourself and this particular situation with your friend or family member that just won’t leave you?

I believe the answer lies in what can be called a Muse. It’s the age old question. What can the artist (in this case writer) do to keep, well, doing? It’s not a sudden burst of energy that finishes a great work but coming back to the project day after day after day. The great writers of the past may have written amazing things because of the epic lives they lived. But more likely they became great writers because they pulled up their sleeves and wrote.

But this work requires energy. And yours is sapped remember?

In the article, How to Keep and Feed a Muse by Ray Bradbury, he explores a thread which holds the “fuel your writing idea” together and it is this twofold:

“I believe one thing holds it all together. Everything I’ve ever done was done with excitement, because I wanted to do it, because I loved doing it.” (Bradbury, Zen and the Art of Writing, pg 40).  This means, obviously, doing things you love. I have children and a full time job yes. But I haven’t stopped watching hockey or finding time for that good book or going on a walk or stopping by a library during lunch break.

What do you love?

Number two:

“Do not, for money, turn away from all of the stuff you have collected in a lifetime. Do not, for the vanity of intellectual publications, turn away from what you are – the material within you which makes you individual, and therefore indispensable to others.” Bradbury, Zen and the Art of Writing, pg 42).

So, writer. It’s time to unlock the broom cupboard you’ve put yourself into. The key, after all, is right in your hand. Take it and unlock the door. Don’t cast away responsibility but be sure to remember who you are and do something you love.

Allow that love to unlock excitement, ardor, joy.

And use the fuel it creates to write.





14 thoughts on “The Muse in Everyday Life

  1. Thanks, Bob! This was very helpful today, as I sit here and seriously ponder deleting three months of work. Deleting it and starting fresh might just be the key that unlocks my little door!

    1. Jessie, why not just send what you’ve done for three months to me? I’ll slap a closing statement on it and publish it as though it were mine. That’s got to be easier than actually writing, right?

      1. Right, right. Good plan. Except this book is about marriage, which is something you love to discuss. And it’s such a mess, I’m afraid that I’d be causing you far more work than is reasonable. But maybe I’ll do just that.

      1. Doing great, but slow, thanks. I’m supposed to hand in a draft on the 15th, but I’m not sure if I’ll make it. I need to increase my output. How is yours coming along?

      2. Today was my personal deadline but it looks to be at least another week before I can send it to the editor. I’m headed on vacation tomorrow. So, we’ll see. Goals keep me driven, I just wish I set realistic ones for myself.

        Good luck!

  2. Julie Catherine

    Great post, Bob! I attended a 3-day online writers’ conference a few weeks ago, which was truly awesome. From that, I finally decided to put the novel I’ve been stuck on (forever) aside for now and work on the other one that proves to be much more fun to write; and possibly a lot more successful in the long run. I’ve developed a new enthusiasm for it and have been busily working away on new outlines, plot twists and character development. I have a writing buddy to bounce ideas off and to help keep me on track with my story. And while I know it’s going to take me a lot longer simply because I need to work around health issues, I’m looking forward to writing again! Oh, and I’m also working on a second collection of poetry, too. My goal is to have at least first drafts completed by the end of the year – and I’ll be more than thrilled if I can meet my own deadlines! 🙂

  3. Great post, Bob. I agree that in order to be writers we have to tend to the writing on a regular basis. Personally, I think that means every day. But not everyone does, and I think it’s important for writers to figure out their best level of dedication.

    Lucky for me, my passion is writing. I have been at it for about 8 years now, so obviously I love it. And when we start looking at writing as a ‘have to’ instead of a ‘want to’ then we’re in trouble.

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