My muse didn’t show up to work, but I still had to.

Ever had it happen where you have the time to write, you have the inclination to write, and the words literally won’t come?

This is how it happened to me the other week.

Monday: I have a half hour, I’m going to get some writing done! Or take a nap. Whatever.

Tuesday: I have an hour before my usual bed time, and no other work! I should get some writing done. I’ll open my laptop and…. why don’t I know what to write? This is frustrating. I’ll just read instead.

Wednesday: I have some time, I’ll get that laptop open and get some writing time in. Fingers… frozen… send… help.

Thursday: All right, muse, I’ve been waiting for you all week. Where the heck are you?

Upon reflection, here’s where I might have gone wrong: 1) Since I gave myself permission not to do any writing on Monday (not even 10 minutes), that was enough to make the habit feel onerous. 2) On Tuesday and Wednesday, I let my muse dictate whether I wrote or not, and she was still mad that I’d stood her up on Monday.

Thus, on Thursday I decided it was time to change things up. No more waiting for the muse to show up and help me finish writing chapter 37. I was going to entice her to come back to me by (surprise!) writing.

It may seem counter-intuitive, but sometimes the way to get back into the flow of writing is to just do some writing.

Since chapter 37 wasn’t coming, I switched it up. I did some editing in early chapters. I moved on to a later scene that needed fixing (instead of writing from scratch). Thursday was a slog, but by the time I finished I felt so much better.

And you know what? On Friday my muse showed up and helped me finish chapter 37.

Has this ever happened to you? How did you tempt your muse to come back? I’d love to hear about it in the comments.

Happy writing!

Image of typewriter by Elijah O’Donell on Unsplash
Image of crumpled paper in wastebasket by Steve Johnson on Unsplash

1 thought on “My muse didn’t show up to work, but I still had to.

  1. The saying goes you need to act your way into feeling. “Character is the ability to carry out a good resolution long after the excitement of the moment has passed.”

    Funny, character(s) are also what your muse is working on developing with you.

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