Muse Food

It’s no secret that I love chocolate, so it was no surprise that Christmas 2012 granted me this mountain of chocolate from my family. It took me a month to get through all this.

Most writers know about that thing called a muse, and just how difficult it is to get the thing to cooperate. Most people who aren’t writers probably know about it anyway because their writer friends won’t stop talking about it. Muse bunnies, plot bunnies, bunnies everywhere. For people who have such trouble with writing, we writer folk sure are good at anthropomorphism. Either that or we’re just obsessed with bunnies. But I digress.

My last post was on the subject of writer’s block and whether it actually existed or not. I was honored to see that said post was Freshly Pressed, and honor quickly turned to panic as my inbox started chucking emails at me faster than I knew what to do with. (On that note, thank you to everyone who stopped by to comment and followed!) But from the plethora of comments I received, I learned a lot about how different people deal with writer’s block, and that has inspired today’s subject: what gets you in the mood to write and work?

The cool thing about this is that it differs for everybody. Everybody has a different thing that helps them overcome those Moments of Blah where they just don’t feel like writing or are struggling to get through a tricky plot problem. Most of us have solutions to get around it or at least fight it, so I’m going to share a few of mine.

1. Chocolate. Oh how I adore chocolate. I have a monthly chocolate budget. Everyone gets me chocolate for birthdays, Christmas and just for fun. It tastes good, it’s delicious, it appeases my tastes buds and other redundant statements. I’m a lover of food in general, but I love to snack on chocolate. Scientifically speaking it has actual physiological effects, so that might have something to do with it. Either way, whether I’m in a writing mood or trying to find my way to it, chocolate always helps.

2. Music. I’m sure many writers do this, but when I get really into a book or written project, it eventually gets its own soundtrack. Sometimes I find songs on my playlists that fit perfectly, then as I hear the music, I picture scenes from the book in my mind. Once that’s established, every time I hear that song, I start thinking about my book. Some songs are for characters, others for places, others for scenes. Whatever the case, the right songs eventually get connected with what I’m doing, and then just hearing the music can put me in the mood.

Anyone remember these? These were so cool. But these are what I picture people to wear whenever they talk about bouncing ideas back and forth.

3. Brainstorming. This usually involves me talking with my fiancee, who is also an author, and tossing ideas back and forth until we get something that sticks. I know many writers don’t like sharing their works in progress, but having another person to bounce ideas off of is extremely helpful. At least for me. I can be fighting with my plot all day, and then she’ll come in and give me some idea I hadn’t yet considered at all, but something that works just fine.

4. Ignoring it. You know in those movies where a couple will have a cheesy argument, yell ‘Fine!’ at each other a few times, then walk away and give each other the silent treatment? That’s what I do to my plots when I have enough trouble with them. Just ignore them. Some people try to fight writer’s block by over-analyzing everything until they’re brain-dead, and I haven’t found that to work very well for me. Sometimes letting it sit for a while works wonders. Some things just solve themselves on their own, or I’ll have an epiphany in the middle of something completely unrelated where a problem will just solve itself.

5. Just doing it. As with many tasks, writing feels the hardest before you start. I’m sure you know how it is. Whether it’s running a marathon or just getting out of bed, the hardest part is getting started. But after you get started, it feels easier, right? Most of the time, anyway. So sometimes, when I don’t feel like writing, I’ll start anyway. I often find that getting started is all it takes. Doesn’t work all the time, but there’s no harm in trying! And I can write in anything, it doesn’t matter, just as long as I’m putting words somewhere.

If and when you feel as though muse bunnies are attacking you from all sides and bringing you down, how do you get out of your rut? What are the ways you combat your lack of motivation or other writing troubles?

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13 thoughts on “Muse Food

  1. I’m definitely an advocate of number 4! My epiphany will always occur somewhere lacking in the tools to capture it though – the bath, the car etc. and I have to stop what I’m doing and get it down before it evaporates again!

  2. good ideas! thanks for sharing, might try the chocolate :p! I feel like i’m going through a writer’s block right now, I have to update my blog everyday for class, but I can’t think of a topic. It wouldn’t be a problem if it was creative writing, but it’s not :c

      • It’s called ‘English Writing Skills’ ..and the blog is more of a side-project thing. Unfortunately my posts are turning out boring, so I’m thinking of devoting a section to story/poetry writing 😀

  3. I tend to have dreams, usually about whatever I’m writing at the time or sometimes it’ll be the start of a whole new story. Unfortunately if I don’t wake right up and jot down as much as I can I never remember the entire dream. I sleep with a pen and paper under my pillow. lol.
    I also get great inspiration in the shower, now if someone could just invent paper that could be used in the shower I’d be all set.
    Great post I also love chocolate, just never used it for inspiration before, might have to start, it would be a great excuse for eating more chocolate.

    • Well, there is waterproof paper… or waterproof sound recorders! It’s a shame the brain sucks at note taking. Sometimes I’ve said to myself, ‘Yeah, I’ll remember my dream for sure, I’ll just go back to sleep…’ and when I wake up, all gone. It sucks. And I find there’s always an excuse to eat chocolate!

  4. As a marathoner and a writer, I gotta say that just doing it is usually the real answer. In running, there are times that you really need to take a day or a week off (or longer, sanity willing) and the same holds true in writing. There was a point about halfway through my novel where nothing worked–nothing–and worst, my characters stopped talking to me. The usual tricks: endless whining; all variations of music; long, solitary runs in the woods; conversations with my husband; strict orders to myself to write 500 words or clean the bathroom — none of it worked. So I took a couple weeks off. I found the words and started hearing my characters and the novel got written, eventually.

    And writer’s block? Sure. Like you said, we’re not plumbers. I do think the key is trying to always be writing something. I have three projects going at once (two manuscripts, and one vague plot coming together) so usually, I can find words for something. Or I can blog.

    It’s good to meet you. And good on you re the FP!

    • Yeah, I’m not sure I want to write tomorrow… I mean I do, but I don’t. >.>; So I think I’ll just jump into it and see what I can get. It’s been a while, but I still don’t feel like it’s coming back. And thank you. =D

  5. I’m a big fan of numbers 2 and 3. I usually put on my headphones and tell my wife I’m off brainstorming, then I hit the shuffle button or a certain playlist and go to town. Like you, I eventually get a whole soundtrack for the story and I think to myself, “If only that song wasn’t specifically for this other movie…poo…”
    And yeah, I talk to my wife about the writing blocks in my head. Once I get the ideas out loud, I can usually find new ones and clear through the haze, or figure out which idea of several is best.
    Good stuff, keep writing!

    • Right? I do that all the time. I even made a movie trailer for one of my books… I wish I had a team to work with so I could make one for real, there’s such good music out there. Ah well. Thanks!

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