Waiting for the Muse is a Lie


The writing process can be a bit daunting at times. At first, it may seem romantic to imagine the lone writer, sitting by the window, gazing out into nature with a cup of steaming coffee and a fresh Moleskin notebook at hand with a favorite pen poised and ready to capture the muse’s gentle whisper.

Waiting for the muse is a lie. You have to wrestle it into submission because the truth is that some days it just doesn’t want to work with you. You have to force it and other days, I call those the beautiful days, it comes with such a fury that your hand flies across the page and you write so much that you get that little indention on your writing finger from that favorite pen or your wrists start to ache from pounding the keyboard. When those days come, it’s wonderful, but most times, it is the slow and steady rhythm that will produce that masterpiece.

3 Ways to Capture the Muse:

  1. Set a Goal.

I love to write down word count goals to meet every two weeks. Usually, I write 10k-15k words in two weeks. I know it doesn’t seem like a lot, but with a 10k pace, you can write a 90k word count novel in just 5 months! My last novel was 87k that I completed and edited it in six months while working a full-time job, so that’s why the word count pace was a little slower, but now that I’ve moved to part-time, I’m hoping to increase my pace to 40k per two weeks, but we will see! I just gotta type faster…and maybe strangle the muse into giving me inspiration sooner.

For some people, two weeks may seem like too long of a due date, but it helps me. Some people like to do daily or weekly goals. Just find what works for you. It’s like a diet. If you stick with it, it will work!

  1. Set Aside Time to Write.

There will always be an excuse not to write. In my vast knowledge of married life, which I have gained from a whopping 2.5 years of marriage haha, I have found that sometimes, dishes just don’t get done and laundry has to pile up and sometimes, yes the shame, I surrender to ordering take-out. If you are a writer, I know you know how it feels. If you don’t write, you feel like you are going to EXPLODE! So, don’t feel guilty about putting aside some things and just write.

  1. If You Get Stuck.

I don’t like to use that nasty word “Writer’s Block.” It’s more like writer’s mud. You aren’t blocked. You are stuck…and sometimes the mud is sucking you under and you might die, but most of the time you won’t. You just need inspiration to get out of the mud.

What I like to do to gain inspiration is to either watch a movie that is set in the time period that I am working on and take notes about what the characters are wearing, how they talk, how they act, what objects they are around/use and study the scenery. (Currently, I am writing another American Victorian piece, so I while there may not be loads of American Victorian movies, there are tons of just Victorian movies. Miss Potter comes to mind.)

Also, take a break and read! Don’t get too caught up in your own writing that you forget to study the other novels that are set in around the same time period. Go back to the novel that inspired you to write in that particular period!

I recently got stuck on a male lead’s character development, so I pulled out an old favorite book by Janette Oke, When Calls the Heart, and after a few minutes of reading, I got an idea for developing the male lead while getting another idea for the direction of the plot. Thank you, Janette Oke!

I hope this helps you on your writing journey!

Happy Writing!

Photo Cred: Unsplash.com

About Grace Hitchcock

Grace Hitchcock's first novella, The Widow of St. Charles Avenue, released in Barbour Publishing’s The Second Chance Brides Collection August 2017. Her second novella will release in Barbour Publishing’s The Southern Belle Brides Collection in 2018. She has a Masters in Creative Writing and a Bachelor of Arts in English with a minor in History. Grace is a Louisiana Southerner living in Colorado with her husband, Dakota, and newborn son.

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