– ‘Biting my truant pen, beating myself for spite: Fool! Said my muse to me, look in thy heart and write.’ – Philip Sidney
It’s Monday morning, it’s raining, it’s cold, and I’m sitting at my desk with a blank screen on my PC and a blank look on my face. I wait in vain for inspiration to come and grab me by the… imagination. Where is my muse when I need him the most? Probably sitting on a beach somewhere, topping up his suntan and watching the world go by while I sit here abandoned and all alone.
So what to do on those days when you’re struggling to write anything at all? Perhaps this piece of advice from Dorothea Brande might help. First off, try getting up a little earlier than normal and begin writing as soon as possible. Don’t talk, don’t read anything, just write down the first thing that comes into your head. It might be last night’s dream, or perhaps a conversation from yesterday, but get it down on paper. Write rapidly and without giving any attention to the value of what you are writing. This is a training exercise in writing in the twilight zone between sleep and the full waking state. Forget that you have any critical facility. The unconscious mind is in the ascendant, so leave it free to rise.
I’ve found this advice from Dorothea Brande extremely helpful on those cold, dark mornings whilst working on my series of mystery thrillers involving a reluctant private investigator called Ben Whittle. It truly does help to get the creative juices flowing. Dorothea’s excellent book is called Becoming a Writer. It was first published in 1934 and is still available now to buy on Amazon now.
What do you do to drag your muse back form the beach? Perhaps you go for a nice long walk, or go and do something completely different. Whatever it is, I’d love to hear from you.
All the best,