Put Your Muse in a Jar

Okay, you have probably read a billion posts about how you shouldn’t stare at a blank screen when you are stuck and how you should go out and do things. But what if you are stuck on what to do to get you unstuck? 

The solution: shove your muse in a jar! No, I am not shoving Frank into a jar (or advocating pushing yours into the trendy Mason jars that hipsters love). I am asking you to think about all the times you were inspired and write down what you were doing on a piece of paper. Then tear up the paper so you have each activity on its own strip of paper and then fold it in half. Then drop it in a jar (preferably one with cartoons on it). Whenever you get stuck, pull out the strip and do the activity. Then, before you know it, you will be racing back to your keyboard or journal! 

Here is a peek at a few things that are in my inspiration jar:

  • Watch 80s music videos (my favorite is the a-ha’s “Take on Me”): I don’t what it is, but 80s music is always the most inspiring music in the world to me. When I hear it, I always feel things, and it takes me to another place. Add usually ridiculous videos that give me permission to create something that isn’t perfect but is goofy in a fun way? I am ready to write. 
  • Play arcade games: Okay, this doesn’t work for every book, but I am writing a novel right now that is centered around an arcade game. As soon as I play Pac-Man, I am chomping at the bit (or, in this case, weird pellets) to get back to my computer.
  • View a film from my “to watch” list: This involves creating a separate list, but it is worth it. A film is a great way to quickly analyze a story and inspire you to get back to your own. My latest one was Tron. The writing was DEFINITELY uninspiring, but the visuals were. 
  • Listen to podcasts about writing: Nothing inspires me faster than hearing other writers discuss their craft. 
  • Move my body: You are really sick of probably hearing this, but it works. Every time. 

What is in your inspiration jar? Tell me in the comments! 

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