Sunday, January 26, 2014

7 Ways to Catch a Muse

 
Everyone faces that dreaded ‘writer’s block’ in one form or another. 

It’s an ugly disease that pushes us away from success and keeps us from working.  Writers and  ‘thinkers’ (in other words, all of us who use our brains), whether in the school or work place, have different ways of dealing with this problem. 

How to catch a muse?  There are many ways to go about this task and make writing much easier for yourself.


1. Routine

 Having a daily habit of writing makes a world of difference. 
 
This does not mean, ‘set a crazy high goal and beat yourself up if you don’t achieve it’.  A habit can simply mean a 10-15+ minute session with your muse (AKA brain) every single day.  It takes time to train your noggin, and making a small time each day is the best way to do it. 
After a short time of doing this, your mind is more open each time you sit down, and the inspiration is ‘literally’ waiting for a chance to be let out.  You do not have to be a ‘big-bucks’ author to make writing easier for yourself – writing is a skill that’s worth its time in every area of life. 

Write every single random idea that comes to you, describe the most abstract things, and let your brain     squeeze some of that creative juice out.

 
2. Visual Arts

The human brain is stimulated by sight – so give it some food for thought! 

Images can spark ideas, so if you are looking to catch a train of thought, find a site (such as Pintrest) stocked with photography, doodles, or masterpieces and let your mind get some exercise from running circles around the colors.  Sometimes the most random detail can be the start of the greatest idea. 

A picture can be a building block for a huge web of inspiration.   Know what you’re writing about, and look up stuff connected to that.  People are sources for story characters; landscapes create worlds, so on and so forth. 
 
Even if you don’t expect to get anything out of it, remember, your brain is so complex you can’t imagine what it’s capable of.  Who knows, you may surprise yourself.  Inspiration can come from odd places.




3. Grab a Friend

Two is better than one. 

A friend, no matter to what extent they are involved, can be a lifesaver in terms of writing.  Whether they give you that inspiration through their funny, dumb or ridiculously moments or actually write with you, their input will always be invaluable. 

Everyone needs someone to push them forward – having someone to encourage you gives your muse someone to succeed for: a shoulder to cry on, a fist to bump, or a fellow genius.  If you write with someone, your work is improved by that need to be good enough and keep up with the other person. 

A partner can give you feedback, point out your flaws, and come up with juicy ideas that never would have occurred to you.  

4. Those Tunes

Music can also get the thoughts circulating.  

A song that you can tune out but still enjoy the influence of is a great background for writing.  Many movie soundtracks or inspirational music works for this.  Don’t listen to anything that distracts you, but find something that fuels your creativity.  Calm and relaxing, or upbeat and fast-paced - whatever floats your boat.  We are all unique and function differently. 

It is important to get your mind into a good state, so smooth it out with a good melody, preferably one that also inspires you!


   

 5. Lists

Any sentence, idea or lonely single word is worthy of a place on your canvas.  There’s a bucket-load of great words in your handy head to pick from – try closing your eyes and picking one then expanding on it.

Lists of words that relate to each other in a theme (or ones that absolutely don’t) can later be organized into a full-fledged piece.  This practice can help your mind see the connections between words, and how they can make a great idea. 

Start anything random from a small prompt and do something new.  Change can be good – let yourself try something different, because a fresh start is often surprisingly helpful. 


6. Use What Works

No-brainer, don’t use something that doesn’t work. 

So get ideas from past successes, masterpieces by the classics that give you an idea of what works.  Reading examples in your area of inspiration is a great tool, because it betters your craft while introducing your mind to great ideas.  Don’t take someone else’s work – that’s called plagiarism – but give your brain a hand by showing it a vision. 

Get yourself motivated by dreaming of what your own works can become.

7. The World Around You

For a good idea, take a look at what’s around you. 

So much of what we write and think about has to do with the world we live in.  You may not think your own life and actions would inspire someone, but a moment from a another person’s life may well be your ticket to a first-class idea. 

Conversations can be found in millions of open places – walking through the city, sitting in the coffee shop, or at your local grocery store.  Just take in the words of a couple strangers and find a start from someone else’s life!  You don’t have to go far to find words, and sometimes it is the very fact that these anonymous conversations are so everyday and unimportant that make them inspiring. 


 
  
Keep your eyes and ears open for those muses hiding out in the open, deceptively easy to find, and make use of them!
~Caroline M.

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