The Bookish Fox

What to Do When The Muse Takes a Vacation

You love your muse. You might imagine your muse as a devil-may-care young man in a leather jacket that looks like James Dean (not that I am talking about my muse or anything). You may take the more traditional route: your muse is a young woman in a flowing Greek toga. Heck, you might think your muse is a weird mythical creature that you made up (if so, props for mad creativity). You might not have an image of your muse at all: it may simply be a word you use to describe that “gotta write it down right now” feeling. 

Regardless of the way you imagine your muse, there are times he/she/it is going to take a vacation. Unfortunately, there is no exception to this rule. Your muse is going to take sick leave or head off to the Greek islands for some nice wine and relaxation. There are exceptions to this rule.

So what do you do? Do you take a vacation when your muse does?

Heck no!

You know what happens when you do that? The muse is pretty lazy (regardless of the fun). He will say, “Sweet! I can take forever off.” And he will never come back.

Basically, you should imagine your muse like a Seth Rogen character (if you do not already have a cool image in your head): you need to push him to step up and put the work in.  He may take a bit of coercing, but he will eventually show up in a major way. 

How do you get your muse to get back on a plane and hang out with you at your desk? You write. Even if it is just “the cat sat on the mat” a billion times (bonus points if you know what book I am referencing).  It totally counts. What matters is that you are developing a writing habit. It might be a few days talking about felines sitting on Anthropologie rugs, but, one fine day, you will write something else. The muse gets sick of hearing about cats (unless you are T.S. Eliot).

I just finished the first draft of my fifth novel. How did I finish it? I wrote every single day. Even when I felt sick. Even when I was sleep-deprived. Even when I was pretty sure that everything I was writing was garbage. 

How did I do this?

I held tight to the knowledge that if I kept writing, he would come back in all his 1950s glory. And it took less time than you would think. He would often show up after only a few paragraphs. What can I say? He doesn’t like to miss the drama. I think that is why he often visits me when I am watching The Bachelor

So keep writing, my friend. Your muse will be with you sooner than you expect.

How do you imagine your muse? Tell me in the comments below!

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