THE MUSE: Don’t Wait For Her, Track That Lady Down

by | Apr 25, 2017 | writing

In this season of my life (in the midst of grieving for the loss of my mom), I am having some difficulty finding the writing muse. Mind you, this is not the first time that muse has been tricky with me. Sometimes I find that the house has to be perfectly straight, all my mom chores done (like that ever happens), and I have to be in my office, at my desk, in the zone, with the right music, and my mouth in just the right position…you know what I’m saying?

Well, life doesn’t really allow for that, does it? If I waited for that, I’d write maybe two sentences a month. We can’t always wait for the muse to come to us. We gotta track her down. That calls for a little flexibility and a little determination.


Yes, it would be nice if everything could work out as in my above scenario. But I have had to learn to quiet those OCDish tendencies in myself (or just change my locale to a coffee shop and escape the nagging mom-to-do-list-voice in my head) and focus on my work. That calls for flexibility in my environment. I have found that, with a little flexibility, very few things have to be in place for me to get writing done. Truly only two: my computer (with Scrivener in the “compose” mode – if you don’t know about this, you need to find out) and my music with headphones. I have discovered that with those two things, I can write almost anywhere. Today I’m actually at my friend’s house…she is baking up a storm and her kiddos are screaming like banshees. But I’m still writing.


I’ve talked about determination before. As a writer, it is essential. You are going to be the one who cares the most about your work. And whether or not it gets done. So, when you sit down and can’t get going, you have to make the decision to “make it work” as it were. Journal about something completely off topic from your manuscript, write through a writing prompt you find on the internet, free write about one of your character’s opinions about something…just write. Get the pump primed. Then return to your manuscript. You might discover that the muse has shown up. Writing as a career becomes a job. It’s not just a hobby. If you want to be serious, you have to write whether you feel like it or not. The requires determination.

So, what’s it gonna be? Are you going to be the kind of writer that only writes when the mood hits you? When the inspiration is present? Or will you find that flexibility and determination to make a real go of it? To make it more than a hobby?

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Sara R. Turnquist