Whether your goal is to finish a novel or nonfiction book, start a blog, or cross off more items on your creative “to-do” list, you’ll achieve more “inspired results” if you persuade your muse to become a willing partner.
A reclusive muse, (A.K.A. a block in creativity) can cause a block in cash flow and derail your goals.
No output means no income. No income can cause stress, which, in turn, can cause your muse to become even more resistant.
If you’re on deadline with editors, publishers, or clients, this situation can become problematic.
6 Common Reasons for a Lack of Inspiration or Creativity
That’s why a strategic approach can improve your productivity, your outlook, and bottom line.
But before we address “muse management,” let’s examine some of the most common reasons a muse abandons us when most needed:
- Deadline pressure
- The pressure of expectations
- Lack of focus
Here’s a perfect example that underscores how pressure can create havoc with your muse and cause you to underperform. Many years ago, I had to complete a timed essay for a college entrance exam. Students got to choose from about ten topics. The instructions were simple: Write a persuasive essay. I completely blanked out–even though I had been writing professionally for many years.
I folded under pressure.
Luckily, after about 20 minutes of staring at that ticking clock, I was able to focus, and I passed the test.
Once I regrouped, de-stressed, and lost my fear, I was able to gain perspective and write.
And you can too.
“Make Nice” with Your Muse
With this in mind, here are five practices and principles to help you “make nice” with your muse and become more productive this year.
1. Change the Scenery.
If you’re used to working from home, why not tote your laptop or journal to the local library, coffee shop, or park? Bird watching, star gazing, or simply engaging in conversations with others can often provide information and inspiration for that next chapter of your book or your next blog post.
Adult coloring books are all the rage. If you think they’re just for kids, retrain your brain. According to Craig Sawchuk, a clinical psychologist at Mayo Clinic: “Coloring can help slow down heart rate and respiration, loosen muscles and stimulate the brain.” Many psychologists even suggest coloring as an alternative to meditation. (Looking for coloring book pages specifically for writers? Check out Creative Visualization for Writers. http://ninaamir.com/creativevisualizationforwriters
In 2015, an estimated 12 million adult coloring books were sold in the United States.
3. Take a Break
That’s right. Though this may seem counter-productive, it works. Scheduling some “down time” helps to relax the mind, rejuvenate the spirit, and “unplug.” Make it a part of your routine to break the monotony and to break through to new levels in your writing.
4. Dabble With Creative Prompts.
Creative prompts serve to jump-start the brain, ignite the imagination, and get those creative juices flowing. They usually consist of one to four opening lines and are also commonly used in writing contests as story starters.
Here are a few sites to check out if you want to give creative prompts a try:
When you open a book, you open to a world of possibilities. Reading helps broaden your perspective, expand your knowledge base, hone your craft, develop your voice, escape, and understand the needs of an audience.
To quote Dr. Seuss: “The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.”
The next time you’re stuck, simply reach for that book on your night stand or coffee table, and your muse will appear before you know it.
Though writing is said to be a solitary profession, you don’t have to go it alone. Let your muse inform, engage, and guide you.
Follow these five timely tips for greater progress, peace, and productivity in the months ahead.
How do you manage your muse?
About the Author
Jennifer Brown Banks is a veteran freelance writer, relationship columnist, ghost writer, award-winning blogger and author. Her work has appeared in various online and print publications including:.ProBlogger, Men With Pens, Write to Done, Tiny Buddha, Women on Writing and the Well-Fed Writer E-zine.
Banks is the managing editor of Coffeehouseforwriters.com, where she also teaches creative writing classes. When she’s not at the keyboard, she loves cooking, reading, “Jeopardy,” music, and shopping.
Find out more about Jennifer here: Penandprosper.blogspot.com/
Photo courtesy of NejroN /123RF.com