Muses have a terrible habit of getting lost. But, as a creative, you need to maintain a near-constant connection with your muse, or you risk the danger of getting lost yourself.
It’s easy to lose your way as a creative. You feel the urge to express yourself, but sometimes, you don’t know what to say. Trying to generate fresh ideas by yourself feels like an exercise in futility. It's nearly impossible to create without first being inspired to do so.
Inspiration fuels creativity. It gives you the power to motor through the boring parts of writing, such as coming up with a story and imagining characters to bring that story to life. Inspiration speeds up the process so quickly that you can develop the essential elements of your story in the blink of an eye. Idea generation is never a challenge when the muse is around.
But when inspiration's not there, every idea sounds stupid, blah, or time-consuming. You've seen it all done. It seems like nothing you can think up sounds original. Coming up with the basics can be excruciating. That's why we need muses.
But how do you find your muse when it’s lost?
In this guide, we tackle how to find inspiration if it's been days, weeks, or even years since you’ve had that twinkle in your eye. There’s no time to waste. Let’s jump right in.
Where Do Muses Go?
When we were kids, we didn’t have to read articles like this to find inspiration. Inspiration was around every corner. It wasn’t even a thing we needed to discover because the inspiration just found us. You minded your own business, and then, BAM! a whack of inspiration.
However, as we grow up and become weighed down by the brutal habits and necessities required to be functioning adults, easy inspiration is a thing of the past. Sometimes, we’ll get a fading glimpse of inspiration when hearing a wild story or seeing a unique sunset, but if you don’t catch her before she fades away, it may be just that—fading.
Muses live in the magical dimension of what if and what could be. When we’re young, so do we. But as we age, we live more in the practical world of what is rather than what could be. It’s hard to find each other when you live in two different places.
The hard fact is that muses don’t leave their dimension—we do.
Do You Need a Writing Muse?
Yes. To start the journey of writing with vim, you need a healthy dose of inspiration.
But before you begin to panic about not having the inspiration to write, keep the following in mind: Inspiration doesn’t have to be your constant shadow. All you need is one meaningful encounter with inspiration to set off an entire series of stories.
Fortunately, finding inspiration is something entirely within our power to do. Since we’re the ones who left, we’re the ones who can find our way back. In the next section, we’ll discuss how to return to the magical space where inspiration lives.
How To Regularly Find Inspiration
Are you ready to find your writing muse? The following tips will help you get out of your own way and find the spark to write.
Read a New Book
The best writers are the best readers. Make it a practice to read regularly. Don’t go a week without being immersed in the fictional world of a fellow writer. One of the best ways to find inspiration is seeing how other writers have used it to jumpstart their work.
Immerse Yourself in Something New
Learn something new. Your new thing can be practical or fun. It can be pottery or poetry, calculus, or calligraphy. It doesn’t matter what it is; the process is the same: You’re stretching your thinking, allowing yourself to be vulnerable, and taking a hard look into how something works. This process exercises your brain and makes you more likely to question how other things work. And questioning is the doorway to inspiration.
Whenever you hear a story, ask yourself, “Why?” and “What if the opposite happened?” As mentioned above, it’s the question that opens your mind to the possibilities of a new story. You must be curious to be a compelling storyteller. You must wonder what makes people tick and why things happen as they do. Don’t quelch your natural tendency to wonder. That’s why children are always so inspired.
Write Every Single Day
If you subscribe to this blog, you’ve heard this one before: Writers write. They don’t wait for inspiration before they sit down to write.
And I stand by that. You don’t need to find inspiration to write every day. Inspiration by itself isn’t enough, anyway. If you don’t know how to write, you’ll have a great idea but no way to express it when inspiration comes.
Daily writing will sharpen your mind so that you’ll be ready to react when inspiration does hit. And often, you’ll find inspiration while you’re in the process of writing. Writing exercises allow your mind to wonder, “What if I introduced this?” or “What if that happened?”
The more you write, the more opportunities you’ll create to find inspiration.
By the way, journals also count as legitimate writing exercises. Consider unloading your thoughts into written form if you don’t want to bother with prompts. But also keep yourself open to the possibilities. And chase any idea that comes to you.
Go In a Different Direction
Chances are high that you already have an idea or two that may work, but you’re unsure of it turning into a full-blown story. Instead of trying to fit it into a specific plan, consider going the opposite way. Ask yourself what would happen in the story if it took a different path. What if your protagonist went down path B instead? It will sound crazy and even blasphemous at first, but the tension can squeeze out a riveting story that keeps you and your reader on your toes.
Carry A Notebook Everywhere
It's an old-school habit but one that works even in this age of smartphones and smartwatches. Keep a notebook and pen with you to write when you feel inspired. Your muse won’t always reveal itself as a full-blown story. Sometimes, it’s a snippet of dialogue between two strangers you’ve observed while you people watch. Other times, a cafe’s sweet aroma swirls up ideas for a scene at a specific moment. At those times, having a handy notebook to jot down your thought is the best gift you can give yourself.
Don't Do Anything
Do nothing in a world where there’s always something happening. As adults, we’re in constant motion, moving from one task to the next. But when you’re a writer, you must practice the art of stillness. It’s hard to see inspiration when you’re constantly on the move. Dedicate time daily to be quiet and allow yourself to be still without forcing something.
Stillness doesn’t necessarily look like sitting silently in a room with your eyes closed. For me, that wouldn’t last longer than five minutes. I’d fall asleep or start thinking random thoughts. Sometimes, the best way to be still is to go for a walk. Hiking through nature can force you to be in the moment because your focus is on an entirely different environment than your usual writing space. Being in the moment allows you to be both intentional and still.
It’s not that you’ll find inspiration in those moments; instead, you’ll be more open to finding inspiration at any moment.
The above list includes just a few ways to open yourself up to finding inspiration. Remember, you don’t need constant hits of inspiration. Just one glance can carry you for years.