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.
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?