Posted in Writing, Writing Tips

How To Survive When Your Muse Decides To Abandon You (and does not leave any cookies)

Good afternoon, Cyberspace!

As most of you are currently oblivious to, probably aware, I am currently in the process of writing–and finishing up–the first draft of my novel, which I began way back in November.

Well, the First Draft 2.0. (because obviously this makes all the difference in the world)

Either way, it has been 5 months since then, and–wouldn’t you know it–I’m still not done with this first draft (ahem, First Draft 2.0). Since NaNoWriMo, I have witnessed numerous posts from happy writers all over the blogosphere about how practically everyone who has been blessed with a nose has finished their first draft, and I’m just sitting over here like a cold turkey leg that got dropped on a hairy dust bunny.

Without a nose.

So basically I’m Voldemort.

However, I am quite the excited Voldemort, because although it is highly unlikely that I should finish this First Draft 2.0 by April first (which is on Saturday, if you can believe it) I am thoroughly convinced that I shall finish it sometime during the month of April.

Which, of course, is Camp NaNoWriMo. And we all know that Camp NaNoWriMo is one of the jolliest times of the year.

Because Camp NaNoWriMo.

Anyway, I have been in a bit of a writing slump lately, and so not only has my blog been suffering (if you couldn’t already tell by my extremely late posts every week [petition to start uploading every Thursday instead of Tuesday, anyone?]) but my behemoth first draft that is currently over 100,000 words poor little First Draft 2.0 is suffering as well.

Along with my characters. And the plot.

And basically everything writerly that I’ve ever done.

I have chosen instead to spend my days reading Pride and Prejudice, watching Pride and Prejudice, daydreaming about Pride and Prejudice, wishing that I could have been born in a different century, and going to see the new Beauty and The Beast movie twice.

Which made me want to be born in a different century, and also get transplanted to France.

#grateful

But anyway, as this wish is probably not going to be granted in the foreseeable future, I have finally forced myself to sit down and write a post.

You’re welcome.

This is, however, not the post I was initially intending to write for today, as I have not been able to acquire someone to help me with a photoshoot yet. Hopefully, I can convince someone to take a million and one pictures of me acting like a complete and utter idiot in the next week so that I can write that particular post for next Thursday Tuesday, but until that actually happens, I am left stranded with a brilliant idea for a post swarming around in my grey matter while I’m forced to write whatever this randomness is.

Anyway, let us sally forth and see what spews out of my fingertips, shall we?

Why, yes. Yes, we shall.

As you might have guessed from the title, this post is on what to do when you are in a writing slump.

Or, more importantly, what to do when your Muse abandons you.

Because obviously it is their fault. Not yours.

Obviously.

Now, I know what you’re thinking.

“Kenzie,” you say. “Didn’t you just post an exceedingly similar Smudge on getting past writing slumps? Is this a–GASP!– repeat post?????”

And to that I must say, “Of course not, dear bean.”

*viciously rips notes to shreds*

That post, while possibly extremely informative on how to keep writing, is not in any way shape or form the same as this.

This, dearest Cyborg, is a survival guide. This is that post that you cling to when you are completely and hopelessly so far gone into the Pit of No Inspiration that you are rocking back and forth while silent tears trickle down your face and splash onto the cold cave floor that you have mysteriously found yourself in.

Or rather, this is a guide to rekindling your inspiration when your Muse has up and gone without the slightest inclination as to where he might be heading, or when he will return. (although the aforementioned description is my favorite)

And so, without further ado, I give you–

How To Survive When Your Muse Decides To Abandon You (and does not leave any cookies)

Number One– Find Inspiration in Something Else

Question– What is the number one thing to do when your Muse leaves you?

Answer– Find inspiration somewhere else and make your idiotic Muse feel superfluous.

This, of course, can go one of two ways:

A) You find a wonderfully energetic burst of inspiration and suddenly have about ten thousand ideas bursting forth in your brain so that the only way to get them all to quiet down is to write ALL THE THINGS,

or, more commonly,

B) You end up eating a bunch of candy in boredom and bloat up about three hundred pounds until you look like Harry Potter’s ballooned Aunt Marge before realizing you just wasted your entire day listening to music and day-dreaming about being a fictional character.

(*coughBELLEcough*)

In order to avoid option B becoming your reality, I would highly suggest looking for inspiration outdoors, while taking nice LOOOOOOOONG walks to burn off the massive amount of truffles you just ate, and also preferring the scenic beauty and sounds to the Beauty and The Beast soundtrack.

However, for those of you–like me–who think just randomly going outside for a walk is rather odd because you live in a weird little town where you’ll probably get hit with a car and murdered before you get to the end of your street, you’re probably better off just going outside, sitting under a conveniently placed tree, and watching the scenic beauty from a more carefully concealed spot.

Now, I never go outside (because I’m a vampire, obviously), but since the weather has been just so lovely lately, I’ve been feeling this strange, slightly sinister desire to go out and enjoy it.

Horrendous, I know.

But you can bet your rutabagas that the great outdoors holds many inspirational tidbits within its gigantic grasp, and I would highly recommend grabbing a notebook (or just hauling your laptop out there to get grass stains and bug guts splattered all over it, or whatever) and heading outside to soak in all the pure goodness of the heavily chemical-polluted air.

#refreshing

Number Two– Talk About Your Story With Someone Else

Also known as ‘Strap One of Your Friends, Siblings, Parents, Distant Cousins, or Favorite Pets To a Chair and Force Them to Listen to All of Your Writerly Woes‘.

This is actually a very effective technique, and can easily trigger something in your creatively dead brain that allows you to regain focus on your story and become all the more enthused with it.

However, it is within my knowledge–of which I have plenty–to know that there are very few people in life who will have the strength to politely listen to you as you ramble on and on about your characters throwing potatoes at each other instead of slitting their enemies’ throats, and after about three minutes, your friend/sibling/distant third cousin will casually remove themselves from their current situation of having to listen to your demented story ramblings.

By running away screaming.

Or, in my cockatiel’s case, flapping away as fast as he can while perching himself somewhere near the ceiling so that I have to find a step-stool in order to get him down.

This is where the strapping down in the chair comes in handy. That way, they cannot leave.

Or, you know, you could just skip human interaction entirely and blab about your writerly woes on the internet in the form of friendly advice through a blog post.

You know. Whatever floats your boat.

Number Three– Switch Your Method of Writing

If you are currently finding yourself staring blankly at your laptop screen while drool is slowly dripping out of the cracked corners of your mouth, it might be time for a little bit of change in writerly resources.

(Hopefully you are not this severely bored because of my blog… [heh heh…heh.])

For those of us who usually use laptops to transport ourselves into other dimensions, I would recommend switching over to a notebook for a little while. Notebooks, with their beautifully crackling pages, have a tendency of forcing us to write a little slower, which inadvertently unleashes a part of our imagination that lets the story–and inspiration–flow forth from our fingertips.

Or rather, pen.

I would also highly recommend using a little notebook. There is something just so aesthetically pleasing about little notebooks, wouldn’t you say? Of course, giant composition notebooks are wider, and therefore will probably not give you arthritis in your old age from cramming your story into it, but still.

Little notebooks.

For those of us who use notebooks regularly, and are starting to feel the pain in that weird little bump that somehow appears on your finger after writing for extended periods of time (is it bone or just inflated skin material??? [and stop poking at it, because then it starts to sag and look wrinkly {seriously, no touchy}])), might I suggest switching over to a computer of some sort? Laptops are preferable, as they are portable, but a desktop computer, or even a tablet, will work just as well.

Typing out a story is a lot faster than writing it out by hand, and while it may seem like you’re just breezing through that plot hole that’s weighing you down like a cannonball tied to your feet as you sink deeper down into the depths of the ocean at the time, that is exactly what you should be doing. Especially in a first draft.

Completely ignore what I mentioned in my Smudge from last Tuesday. I know nothing.

So go ahead. Whip out the laptop, breeze through your plot holes, and repeat after me:

“This is for future me to deal with. This is for future me to deal with.”

Or, you know, you could take your time now to figure out this problem, and then your future self would thank you, but I think your future self would thank you even more if you baked them some chocolate chip oatmeal cookies, wouldn’t you say?

Number Four– Physically Force Your Muse to Return (and bring you those cookies)

Now, this may seem complicated. Maybe–some might say–even impossible. But I can assure you that it is not. It just requires practice.

And also a really good idea of what your Muse looks like, and also how they act and react to situations.

Basically, you need to have your Muse be as much like a physical being as you possibly can in your mind’s eye. You need to know them, befriend them, understand them.

They need to be one of your bestest friends.

And then, once you’re ready, you must go deep into the very recesses of your imagination and haul your Muse back into the real world, where you physically strap them down to an electric chair and force them to spill every single secret they could possibly possess on your current WIP.

They’ll probably be angry at you for a while. Possibly not even compliant. Chances are, you’re going to have to weasel it out of them, and they are not going to like that. They will be stubborn. They will be furious that you pulled them away from their vacation.

And they will severely disappoint you by not bringing cookies.

However, you will now have your Muse back in the real world, where you can batter them with tons of questions (to which you might receive some rather snappy replies), and eventually, your darling Muse will finally roll their eyes and tell you all the things you need to know about your story.

Hopefully.

As I said, this method only works if you are severely mental (like me) and have a vivid imagination where you see mythical beings in the real world through your Inner Eye.

#imnormal

WARNING: Getting this well-acquainted with your Muse may cause serious problems later down the road, such as not being able to sleep because they will not stop yelling in your ear, laughing out loud at something they tell you in a quiet public setting and getting random stares from everyone else in the library, and also some minor mood swings when they decide to possess your body (which totally happens, just so you know).

Number Five– Just Keep Writing

Oh great. Here we go with the blechy, “Just keep writing, everyone! We can do it if we stick together *insert annoying high-pitched giggle*!!!”

No.

This is not some fairytale land where if you just keep writing, you’ll miraculously find your niche and have every single thing you write be perfectly perfect in every perfect way.

I’m sorry, truly I am, but no. Here’s what’s going to happen.

You are going to sit down with a pen and notebook, or a dusty old laptop, probably in a cramped little corner of the room because your bedroom or writing room or whatever is completely trashed with clothes and sleeping bags and books, and you are going to force yourself to write. A lot.

What you write is not going to be good. In fact, it’s going to stink.

Terribly.

But you are going to write it anyway. You are going to forget about plots and plot holes and character development and all that wonderful salsa, and you are going to write.

You are going to hate what you write. It’s going to be so awful that you wish you could scrap it right here and now, but you are going to keep going, because someday, eventually, you will strike gold. You will find that wonderful little sentence or word that makes you want to keep writing. It may be tiny. Possibly insignificant. But it will be there, and it will remind you why you love to write in the first place.

And then you will look back on all you’ve written to get there, all those terrible scenes with awful dialogue and poor character planning, and you’ll consider yourself the worst writer in the world. You’ll stretch out your legs and snap your back from sitting in a very uncomfortable position for so long, and then you’ll flex your fingers, crack your neck, and keep writing.

Even though it’s bad. Even though it’s lame. Even though you literally have no idea what you’re doing.

Because the only way to get better at writing, the only way to find your inspirational Muse again, is to keep writing.

At least, that’s what I’m hoping…

Wishing you the best of writerly inspiration from my cramped little corner of Cyberspace,

~Kenzie 🙂


Bonjour, mon amis! How fare thee, today? Did you like this post? Have you somehow lost your Muse in the jungle of Pinterest and books and Pride and Prejudice and Beauty and The Beast? What does your Muse look like? What are your top tips and tricks for finding your inspiration again? Are you ever so bold as to venture outside? Tell us all of the things down in the comments below!

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Author:

Christian, writer, blogger, dreamer, and full-time dragon enthusiast. I also like to fling cookies everywhere. Preferably at your face.

20 thoughts on “How To Survive When Your Muse Decides To Abandon You (and does not leave any cookies)

  1. “This is for future me to deal with” MY MOTTO. (Also, the Harry Potter references in this post were excellent)
    Sometimes I venture into the great dangerous unknown, (outside) and I do tend to enjoy it. But there are bugs. And dirt. And I could be reading in the comfort of my lair. (room) So I don’t usually last very long.

    I definitely know what it feels like to have Mr. Muse abandon you, and it’s not fun. I’m actually participating in Camp NanoWrimo as well, so I’m hoping he’ll stick around until that’s finished😂 Also, good luck with first draft 2.0!!

    My Muse probably looks like a wicked little thing with wings that likes to swoop in at the most inconvenient moments and whack me on the head with a brilliant plot idea. (Like the middle of the night.) I adore it so.

    I seriously loved this post!! It got me all inspired😂 Blessings, Abi

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ah!!! Thank you so much!!! I actually didn’t plan to have multiple Harry Potter references??? Or even any at all for that matter! They just sort of…happened…

      Which is basically my life.

      Oh yes, same! Bugs and dirt tend to make me feel gross, so I prefer staying indoors where there is a roof over my head to block any potential vitamins from infiltrating my system and causing me to want to get up and move around… It’s actually a problem at this point…

      AH!!!! A camp participant!!!! *high-fives* I am SO EXCITED for Camp!!!! It’s going to be so much fun!!! And yeah, I’m hoping my Muse comes back before Camp??? He’s currently gone… And he definitely did not leave me cookies… 😦 Aw, thank you!!!

      Oh dear!!! That is either hilarious, slightly creepy, or both, haha! I can’t help but imagine a Cornish pixie???? (Again with the Harry Potter references, but still) And Cornish Pixies are absolutely amazing, so I think your Muse is fantastic!!!! 😀

      Awww!!! Thank you so much!!! That means so much to me, and I’m so glad I was able to give you some inspiration!!!!!! Now if only I can somehow inspire myself to actually write this book???? 😂😂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. This is awesome! I definitely need this with Camp NaNo coming up. I’m writing a kids’ novel (like maybe 30k words) but I haven’t planned anything yet and this is stressing me out. Your post made me actually giggle out loud, so give yourself a round of applause.

    My Muse is an insecure, prissy little thing that has amazing ideas but doesn’t want to tell me and gives stupid reasons for why not. Also, she doesn’t bring cookies either! What’s up with that?

    DID YOU WATCH THE BBC VERSION OF PRIDE AND PREJUDICE?? BECAUSE THAT IS MY LIFE.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ooh!!!! A kids’ novel sounds SO cool!!!! I’ve never tried to write something like that, so I shall applaud thee as well as myself! *applauds for fifteen years* And yes!!! I love making people laugh! It is one of my favorite things!

      Oh dear! Your Muse sounds like she needs to be strapped down to a chair and forced to talk. And I KNOW, RIGHT??? The least our Muses could do is bring us cookies!!!!! They are SO selfish…

      Umm… I’m not sure? I watched the 05 version with Kiera Knightley (did I spell that right???), but I LOVED it!

      Like

      1. Thank you, thank you (bows until the blood rushes to my head and I faint)

        Oh, girl, you ain’t seen nothing yet. The Kiera Knightley version is beautiful, but – just – take a weekend, or a day if you’re not doing anything and you’re feeling ambitious, and watch the BBC mini-series of Pride and Prejudice. It comes in at about six hours total, and everything about it is phenomenal. Colin Firth plays Mr. Darcy and he is amazing. If you loved the movie, then this mini-series will take over your life. I want to BE Elizabeth Bennet.

        I forced my Muse into a chair yesterday (although I could only hold her there for an hour or so) and I ended up finishing and posting a fanfiction oneshot, so thank you for that tip 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Oh dear! With Camp NaNoWriMo coming (and with me JUST discovering a burst of inspiration [I think???]), I’m not sure I should start watching it quite yet! 😛 But now I’m totally curious, so I’m gonna have to take a look at that… Oh well! Goodbye life! Hello, Pride and Prejudice! It’s been so long, mwahahahahaha!!!

          Ooh!!! I’m so glad that my advice actually worked!!!! I was slightly worried that I was just rambling along about something that might Hopefully work, and it really wouldn’t help anyone at all??? But, alas. Thus is the life I lead…

          Now if only I could strap Chess to a chair long enough for him to tell me what it is that’s going abominably wrong with this story…

          Like

  3. How exactly did you know that literally all my time this last few days has been spent solely with Pinterest (looking at DIY that I’ll never actually do), books (read Divergent in two days), Pride and Prejudice (watched it last night), and Beauty and the Beast (which I watched just a week ago)? How did you know this? Also, how did you know that, in the last week, my muse has completely vanished and left me lying in a puddle of tears?

    Ha, outside? Socializing? Don’t be ridiculous! Those are not even words in my world. 😛

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ah, well, I have been blessed with the rather unusual gift of KNOWING ALL THE THINGS.

      Also, I sort of made our entire cabin plummet into the pit of Pinterest, so I am totally to blame for that… 😛 And oh my goodness, Divergent! I love that book! Have you ever read it before, or is this your first reading of it? As for Pride and Prejudice and Beauty and the Beast, you, dear bean, have EXCELLENT taste! I highly praise thee for watching such splendid films!

      Ugh! Muse’s are SO mean! Here’s hoping they all come back… I think a lot of people are experiencing Muse disappearances. Perhaps there was an alien invasion? Maybe they were abducted like cows????

      Oh dear, same! Socializing is so awkward…

      Like

  4. LOL Yesss I love this post…. so much….
    And I needed it because I haven’t worked on my novel since November… how sad is that?? AND IM ALMOST DONE I JUST CANT BRING MYSELF TO WRITE IT UBHHHH. ANyway… love this post lol again. It’s awesome and hilarious and true. ❤ ❤ ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh, trust me, dear bean. You are definitely not alone in that! I have been working away at everlost since around the end of February, so it hasn’t been TOO awful long of a break, but I thought I was nearly done THEN. Now I’m just like–

      “Nope. this thing is never getting finished. SORRY!”

      But I’m still working on it, so obviously it will get finished someday, right? (I hope…)

      UGH!!! I CAN RELATE!!! Sitting down to write is the HARDEST thing! Especially when there’s internet to get distracted by and food to eat and–OH LOOK!!! Shiny new blog post!!!

      Awww!!! Thank you so much! ❤ ❤ ❤ 😀

      Like

  5. My muse better run if she doesn’t bring me cookies. And nothing quite distracts like the lethal trio of Pinterest, Pride and Prejudice, and Beauty and the Beast, now does it? (I’ve only watched B&B once–you’re so lucky!)
    Speaking of procrastination, guess what I’m doing? I *was* outlining on Scrivener (which I *just* got, and it’s AMAZING, BTW), when I popped over to Pinterest to find a pic for a setting, and now I’m on your blog. I’m not entirely sure how I got here, but I have like ten tabs open, and Scrivener is buried.
    RIP Scrivener.
    When I can’t write, I usually go with numero 5: turn off all distractions, feed all the pets and the little brother, and write. And yes, it’s bad. But I get *something* out, and I always feel better if I can put at least five hundred words on the page when I’m writing. I do like to go outside (and as someone deep in the woods with large dogs, I can do that), or pace around my bedroom laughing maniacally to myself as my muse slowly comes back (yes, my family thinks I’m crazy). I love listening to music, but it usually distracts me because I’ll take a moment to skip a song and then I’ll be back on Pinterest. SO. It’s difficult.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. First of all, this comment literally had me laughing out loud with RIP Scrivener… Just…that was beautiful…

      And oh my word, I LOVE Beauty and the Beast!!! Although watching it in such a short span of each viewing sort of made it a little…boring? But not really because it’s a fabulous movie. And Pinterest? Pinterest is a death trap. DO NOT VENTURE WITHIN ITS REACH. *she says while opening a fresh tab for Pinterest*

      And of COURSE you are allowed to procrastinate to read my blog, dear bean! This isn’t procrastinating! This is gaining wonderful writerly knowledge to add to your vast supply. (It’s totally procrastinating. This blog is one of my many ways of procrastinating. It’s a problem)

      Ooh! I love how you feed everybody before writing! Honestly, that is the best thing ever, haha! No one can distract you while writing when they’re well-fed, right??? Oh my word, I am SO jealous. I would LOVE to live deep in the woods… That is like my dream home. I live in a weird little town, which of course makes me feel more like Belle, but there’s nothing quaint about this ‘city’, and really it’s just the City of Disappointment. But it’s home, so I love it.

      Oh yeah. Music has away of distracting me too… It’s nice to write to, but it tends to be more of a distraction than anything.

      Thank you SO much for commenting! Your comment literally just brightened my day. 😀

      Like

  6. Your writing is always so much fun! I’m not sure if my muse ran away, is just really fuzzy, or if I have several little muses running around with less-than-stellar quality trying to switch things up all the time.
    I think I need to get a crystal clear Muse and then strap him/her to the chair–I mean, graciously accept a gift of cookies from–and find out what’s happening.
    Is a Muse the main character? Or does the Muse become a character after all that imagination? It may be a paradox of sorts…(Feel free to ignore my ramblings trying to incite further insanity amongst writers.)

    “As I said, this method only works if you are severely mental (like me) and have a vivid imagination where you see mythical beings in the real world through your Inner Eye.”
    If all else fails, you can always communicate with mythical beings through comic strips too. There’s all sorts of magical communications going on there…
    #imnormaltoo

    Definitely need a Muse to help me sort my Pinterest boards into the perfect array of immersive images for storytelling….

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Awww!!! Thank you so much!!! 😀

      Oh dear. Yeah, having multiple Muses WOULD be exceedingly difficult to manage!!! Even with just one, my Muse always gives me fresh ideas when I really don’t need them. Sometimes I wish he’d just hold onto them a LITTLE BIT longer so that I actually have them pop into existence when I’m trying to write. But when I sit down to write…

      Blank.

      Bahahaha! Oh yeah! Make sure he gives you cookies! Some Muses (like mine) refuse to give me cookies, even though I beg him to…

      Hmmm… My Muse started out as a Muse, but I’ve decided that, somewhere down the line, he’s going to get his own novel. Although, my Muse is slightly complicated in the fact that he’s not exactly your average Muse??? (#confusing)

      Oh yeah!!! That sounds fantastic! Except, I can’t draw worth a rusty old penny, so I’m not able to do that, really… 😦 But I WISH I could… I’d love to write and create comics! That would be epic…

      Ugh! I WISH my Muse would help me with my Pinterest boards. Usually he just throws me into the abyss of pins and pictures and leaves me there while he goes to watch TV or read books or whatever it is he does when he abandons me…

      Like

  7. You asking about if your reader liked the post, I loved this post! ❤
    Not only the content was wonderful, but the bond that it created with me was impeccable. More than a tirade (which, by the way, you nowhere mentioned this is), it was a humorous read. Sentences you added in the brackets made the write-up more impactful and of course, more relatable.
    I, especially, loved certain sentence structures and the beautiful use of punctuation. The first read of the day and it made my feet sweep high in the air. And yes the tips-they are useful and practical.
    Good Day, Kenzie! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Aww! Thank you SO much!!! I’m so glad you liked it! 😀 I was having a little bit of difficulty writing it, since my Muse was obviously missing, so I am so happy it turned out relatable and funny! I often find, if I write about things I myself am struggling with, other people tend to be having the same struggles! It is rather weird, to be honest…

      And yay!!! The brackets are some of my favorite things to do! Sometimes they just sort of…appear? So I don’t normally plan on having them, but I love incorporating them into the post!

      Aww! Thank you!! This comment is literally one of the sweetest ever!!! Thank you SO much!!!

      And good day to you, too! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I could resonate my writing style with yours, especially if talked about the tirades or rants.😃 That bracket thing, I can totally understand; they add a tinge of relatedness.☺️
        Pleasure is all mine, and in fact thanks to you to let me have my eyes on such a wonderful piece.😍

        Like

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