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WHEN YOU DON’T HAVE THE MUSE

January 9, 2019

I talked recently about the muse, and how one friend believes the muse is just a made up term, an excuse for not writing. It’s an excuse for writer’s block.

Whatever term you want to use, your inspiration has to come from somewhere.

The other day, I was on one of my forums and someone posted the question asking everyone for ideas on what to write about. They ran out of ideas, couldn’t think of where to start, or just wanted a fresh idea other than their own.

My answer was (in a nutshell) that if you had to ask, you either needed to give up for a while, or find another genre to write in.

Why?

If you’re so uninspired that you can’t think of a thing to write about, you shouldn’t be writing.

Period.

There’s no point struggling. Whatever you DO write will just be forced, and it will show.

FOR BETTER OR WORSE

The whole point of writing for pleasure is to write for pleasure. Unless you’re a professional, in which you’re given assignments and have goals and subjects, you’re doing this on your own.

By doing it on your own, it’s supposed to be fun, to be inspired, to be something you WANT to do.

If you have to ask others for ideas, it’s not you. You’re now writing for everyone else, not yourself. Your inspiration isn’t you anymore.

For better or worse, you’re no longer doing it for pleasure, you’re doing it because you think you have to. Or, you’re taking the mercenary approach.

HOW DID WE ALL START?

Some of us started with a specific goal in mind. Granted, this goal might not have been the most inspired of intentions. Say, to write a memoir.

Rather than dictate it to someone else, say…a stranger, you decided to take up writing and do it yourself. It’s like a one-time project. One-and-done.

Then there are those of us who love to read and are inspired to tell our own stories. We take up the task of learning to write so we can get our stories out there.

There are every variety of extremes in-between as well.

When we take up writing, go through the trouble/work/hassle of learning to write, then don’t have any more ideas, what then?

Why bother?

NEVER OUT OF IDEAS

While this individual asking the question the other day is far from alone, I cringe every time I hear questions like that. I actually hear that type of question more than you might imagine. Since I participate in several writing forums, questions on “what should I write about?” pop up all the time.

Most of the time I don’t respond, but once in a while I feel compelled to say something. I don’t mean it in a malicious way, but if you’re a writer, why?

I’ve been at this for twenty plus years, and there’s no way in my lifetime I’m ever going to be able to complete the novels and/or short stories for all the ideas I have, all the plot lines I’ve mapped out in my head, all the inspirations (muses) I’ve bounced around. It’s all a matter of harnessing the best ones and the ones I can recall when it’s time to sit down and commit to one.

I sincerely feel for those writers that have to get on line and ask the writing community to give them ideas of what to write about. If they’re that uninspired or that lacking in ideas, they need to seriously re-think why they’re a writer at all. Maybe they just need a mental kick in the pants. Maybe they’re brimming with ideas but they’re so disorganized, it’ll take something to bring them to the surface. Maybe there’s stress in their life that’s blocking those ideas.

Or, maybe they just picked the wrong passion to pursue. Maybe they need to take up woodworking, sewing, bike riding, or tennis?

SUMMARY

Writing isn’t for everyone. To be a writer, you have to have something to write. If you’re just a blank slate and have to ask everyone else what to write about, maybe you could succeed as a technical writer, albeit, an uninspired one. As a fiction writer, you probably need to find another passion.

Happy “inspired” writing!

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