Why Is My Muse Hiding in the Shower?


Ah, that elusive muse. It's the writer's blessing and curse. It can be the source of wildly exciting inspiration or it can be the bane of our existence when the ideas stop flowing. So how do we learn to work with this fickle part of the writing process?


Well, first there is the "butt in chair" philosophy, which means even if your muse is on a bender to the Bahamas, you still sit in front of your computer and write. The idea is that eventually the inspiration will return. This is an important method to consider because once you have a contract and are on a deadline, you won't have the luxury of taking a few weeks/months off to let your muse return to you.

However, forcing the creative process sometimes shuts your mind down even further because you're using the logical part of your brain ("I need to get this down because x, y, z."), which can choke the free-flowing creative side.

So how do we free up that creative side?

Well, different things work for different people, but the goal is to get your mind into a relaxed state where the logical part can rest and the other side can take over.  For instance, I was watching an interview on The View with Aaron Sorkin. He was talking about writing the movie The Social Network (saw it yesterday, btw. FAB-U-LOUS. Seriously. Go see it.) But anyway, he said when he was writing it, he was taking like six showers a day. The ladies of The View looked at him like he was crazy, but I was like--Oh, I so get that.

He said the reason he was taking so many showers was because that's when the scenes would come to him. So when he got stuck, he'd either get back in the shower or would go for a long drive.

And those are two of my favorite places for inspiration too. Anywhere my mind zones out and goes on autopilot--the shower, a monotonous car ride, lying in bed at night before I go to sleep, listening to music. When I'm stuck, those are the times that the words finally come.

So, if you're doing BIC (butt-in-chair) but it's just not working. Get up, go for a long walk, a drive, or hell, jump in the shower like Aaron Sorkin. Give yourself permission to relax your mind so that you can hear the muse when he/she whispers to you.

So I'm curious, when does the inspiration usually hit you? What are some activities you do to let the creativity flow? Are you a believer of butt-in chair?

**Today's Theme Song**
"You're the Inspiration" - Chicago
(player in sidebar, take a listen)