There are going to be days when you’re tired, you’re uninspired, where you plain just don’t want to write. There will also be days when you would love to write your thoughts down but the phone won’t quit ringing, the toilet is leaking. These are the days when your life will just be too complicated to get any writing done.
I find that’s when my brain kicks into high gear, when I don’t have any time to indulge myself. When I have all the time in the world, I can’t write three coherent sentences. How do you work around your writing muse?
First of all, you have to train your muse like a pitbull puppy. Although they can make fine pets, you can never forget it’s a pitbull. The same goes for your muse. If you let it run wild, you’ll never get anything done.
First, you need to potty-training your muse. Don’t laugh. Do you want your muse making messes on the new carpeting? No. You must be firm but not mean. Set up a schedule to write. If possible, write every day. Pick a time when you won’t be interrupted and sit down and put words on the page. Perhaps write during your lunch break or get up forty minutes earlier to write before work. They don’t have to be great words, just words.
After awhile, your brain gets use to kicking in at a certain time of day and after several months, you can actually feeling the writing juices start to flow during your ‘writing time’. It’s just like puppy training, there will be accidents, there will be successes but the key is to be consistent.
Can’t write every day? Then set up one day a week to devote to writing, perhaps Sunday morning. The key is to be keep your schedule. It’s not going to work immediately. I’m just letting you know that. You have to work at it. There are no perfect puppies.
Leash training your muse is the next step. Be prepared. Can you walk a dog without a leash, collar, and some pre-training? No. The same goes for your muse. Keep a pen and paper in your car or your purse (or your man bag). If you have some cash, buy a little recorder. When driving or when you’re working on that leaking toilet, you can dictate your plot ideas or your cool lines of dialogue.
Don’t let your muse boss you around on the walk. You’re in charge.
The next step is obedience class. Obedience class is about socializing, networking, and improving your relationship with your muse and other writers.
Why? Isn’t writing a job of aloneness? It doesn’t have to be. Workshops and classes give you a chance to learn how to take criticism and to improve. Sometimes the lady with the poodle will constantly bait your dog. You have to learn how to deal with these kinds of people.
Maybe you can’t stand to be growled at. Get over it. You have to learn to be the best writer you can be, to see your flaws and your high points. Your muse has to learn to let yappy poodles go on their merry way. You won’t change the poodle.
In workshops and classes, you’ll also network. You’ll meet future agents, editors, blog writers and fellow novelists. You’ll learn from them ideas on how to do viral marketing, self-editing and self-promotion.
You’ll also learn how to tell someone to ‘Bite your Ass’.
And if you’ve ever tried to publish a book, you’ll know that these are skills you need.
The last thing you should know about training your muse is that you should have fun with it. You should play with it, build a relationship. Control your muse except when it’s time to let it run wild.
And if you’re good to your muse, train it well, it’ll be a loyal companion for the rest of your life. You let it be the boss and it’ll eat your sofa.
Muse Training 101.