Webster’s dictionary defines a “muse” as any of the nine sister goddesses presiding over song, poetry, the arts and sciences. Greek mythology aside, we writers think of a muse as a source of inspiration, a guiding genius rife with ideas. But what if you lose your muse? What if she takes a vacation or, horrors, bails because she’s sick and tired of working for you?
Here are five things that you can do if you lose your muse.
1. Maintain a mob of muses. It’s risky business to rely on just one muse, so have more waiting in the wings. Muses come in many forms. They inspire us through words, music, pictures, and the great outdoors. A muse might even be a real person, maybe your very best writing buddy. You can find some muses online at:
Fun with Words. Grab a cup of coffee and get inspired.
Pinterest. Did you know that you can look around without signing up? Type any topic into the search bar, and you’ll find tons of pictures to inspire you. Click on any picture to go to its website.
Pandora Radio. Set up a free account. Type in the name of a music genre, artist, song, or composer, and Pandora will build a playlist for you. Pandora, the very best site for music inspiration!
Virtual Travel sites, like Armchair Travel Company, take you on virtual tours around the world. Explore the Taj Mahal, a Russian submarine, Westminster Abbey, and more. There are many online travel sites, so dig around for one you love and add it to your muse mob.
2. Call in the retired muses. Pull out all those old manuscripts and brainstorming lists. The muses you sent into retirement in earlier writing days might still be there waiting patiently for you to rediscover their wisdom and creativity.
3. Be your own muse. Well-known writing teacher Natalie Goldberg says, “Just keep your hand moving and write!” For ten minutes, write whatever comes into your head. You might find your own inspiration hiding in the gibberish.
4. Go museless for a while. Leave your missing-muse crisis behind. Get out, and do something fun. Muses sometimes like slipping into your house when you’re not there. What a surprise if when you return you find one waiting for you!
5. Give your muse the silent treatment. Stop begging her to come back. Some muses are very shy. They like to whisper gently to you in quiet thoughts. In her recent article, “6 (Easy!) Ways Anyone Can Become a Writer,” Natalie Goldberg writes, “Silence can be the door to listening, which is one of the great cornerstones to writing.” Be quiet, and listen carefully to your thoughts. Someone might be speaking to you.
And remember—be good to your muse. Sing to her sometimes!
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