Oh Where Or Where Has Your Muse Gone?

22549648_sFeeling uninspired? Have you hit a road block? Is the blank page taunting you? Having trouble knowing what to write after “It was a dark and stormy night?”

Join the club. We’ve all hit those times when we can’t seem to put a sentence together. Whether you are trying to write your next chapter or a blog article or even a status update, sometimes the words just aren’t there.

So what do you do?

Chuck Sambuchino has written an article for Writer’s Digest entitled 7 Ways to Overcome Writer’s Block. He offers some standard tips to help but my favorite are the two he mentions that involve your sleeping. I don’t know about you but if there is something I can do while I sleep, I’m all for it. So check these out:

Write while you sleep. Your subconscious mind is always problem solving, even when you’re sleeping. Sometimes when I’m stuck on a chapter I’ll write for 15-30 minutes prior to bedtime. I’ll think about the problem chapter as I fall asleep. The next morning I usually wake up with a solution to the problem and get back into the flow of writing. I’ll see the scene from a fresh perspective or my characters will say or do things that take my story in an exciting new direction.

The Glass-of-Water Technique. Before bed, fill up a glass of water. Hold it up and speak an intention into the water. (Example: My intent is to tap into my creative source and write brilliantly tomorrow. I choose to be in the flow of my best writing. I am resolving my story’s issues as I sleep and dream). Drink half the water and then set the half-full glass on your nightstand. Go to sleep. When you wake up the next morning, drink the rest of the water immediately. Then go straight to your computer and write at least an hour without distraction. This may seem a bit out there, but give it a try. It works! Do this technique for three nights straight. It gets me out of my writer’s block every time, often the next morning and definitely within 72 hours.

When I see an article with the word “wacky” in it, I know I am going to find interesting information and that is what happened when I read Henneke Duistermaat’s article 27 Wacky Ways to Break Writer’s Block.

She has a few really unique tips but here are the three I can’t wait to try:

Browse your photo albums

Sharing tidbits about yourself is a good way to build up a relationship with your readers.

Browse your photo album to find anecdotes to share; and link these stories to your topic. That’s how I came up with the idea of comparing cycling trips with surviving a content marketing journey.

Remind yourself of who you are. Think about the lessons you’ve learnt. Who has inspired your career? How have your travels influenced your thinking?

Create your own merry-go-round

Done all your household chores? Or just don’t feel like cleaning again?

Try this alternative routine: walk around in circles. Or just pace up and down your room.

Seems silly, I know, but sometimes just the simple act of movement can get you going. Give it shot.

Start in the middle

You know you need to draw a reader into your post with a fantastic introduction. That’s true. But trying to write the perfect opening can obstruct your writing process.

Leave your introduction for later. Just get going with your post.

Her last idea has the best practical merit. If you know where your story is going but you are just stuck with a particular scene, skip ahead. Stick a pin in the problem area and move forward to the next scene or even the ending. The main idea is to get writing. Once you begin to create you’ll feel more confident about tackling the area that gave you trouble.

We all face hours, days, weeks when we don’t feel inspired but the important thing is to keep writing. For example, consider writing:

  • A grocery list
  • Pros and Cons of some upcoming decision
  • A “honey do” list
  • A Haiku
  • The lyrics to your favorite song
  • Instructions for your favorite meal
  • A description of your favorite pastime or vacation location

Once you get the hand moving across the page, the muse will return. And when all else fails, drink a glass of water, like Chuck suggests.

Bottom Line: We’ve all been there.  Sadly, we will all be there again. So buck up and power through rather than giving up. This too shall pass.100_3207

p.s. If you need a little motivation to keep you going, try writing in Written Kitten. Every time you hit 100 words, you’ll see a picture of a kitten.