Kick the Muse: Keeping the Creative Juices Flowing
By Shéa MacLeod
“You can’t wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club.” – Jack London
When people hear I’ve written over 58 books in 8 years, one of the first questions they ask is, “Where do you get your ideas?” The second, inevitably is “How do you stay inspired?”
In my experience, creativity is a choice. Sitting around and waiting for a muse to hit will lead to nothing but a whole lot of wasted time and staring at a blank screen. Every successful, full-time novelist I know personally writes regardless of how they feel.
They don’t sit around waiting for inspiration to strike. Sure, some days are better than others, but there are tips and tricks for giving that muse a kick in the pants. My art journal method (Which I will be teaching in my class for FF & P. Details below) has been one of the best things for me, but there are ways to make your space feel inspirational.
Not everyone has the room for their own office and must work at the kitchen table or on the sofa. Others find that working in a public space such as a coffee shop is the only way they’re going to get anything done. Regardless of how much (or little) space you have, here are some ideas for jazzing it up and increasing creative flow (Yes, I’ve tried them all!):
Make It Visual: Humans are visual creatures. Fill up a memory board with images and small items that inspire you. Or go modern and create a collage on one of those picture editing sites like PicMonkey or Canva. You can even go really old school and do it in a Word doc.
This is my collage for my latest Lady Rample Mystery. Since the novels take place in London in the 1930s, I’ve got a lot of fun images to draw from. Everything from classic cars to vintage hats and Prohibition era cocktails. And, naturally, Idris Elba!
Using a collage template is super easy. You just pop in the images that inspire you. You can even add quotes or notes if you want.
Make It Cozy: Set aside a corner of your office as a reading haven. I like to sit in mine to plot my novels. Getting away from the desk gives me a fresh perspective. Even if you don’t have an entire office to yourself, you can probably find one small corner to make your own. If not, get thee a pair of Lucky Writing Socks (or slippers or blanket) and that can be the thing you cozy up with when you need extra juice.
Take It Outside: When I’m feeling muddled and a simple stroll through the neighborhood won’t do, I head for Astoria, Oregon. It’s one of my favorite places and the sea air always cleans out the cobwebs.
Sometimes you just have to get away from your own space and shake it up with something new. Maybe that’s just a quick walk through a park. Or maybe it’s a weekend at the beach. Change your space and change your mindset.
Make It Verbal: If you’re like me, there’s nothing quite like talking over your current Work in Progress to really stir up the old creative juices. Whenever I’m stuck on a project, I sit down with a trusted friend and brainstorm the heck out of it. I always walk away buzzing with ideas. Another option is to try a diction program. There’s something about being forced to use a different part of the brain to create that can really get things moving again.
If you’re not really the verbal type, try journaling it. Sometimes just putting your frustration on paper has a way of moving things along.
I hope you found some of these tips helpful. Here’s to keeping the creativity flowing!
More about the Author
Shéa MacLeod is a reformed(ish) pantser who developed her own method of novel plotting using an art journal in order to speed up her writing process and bring more joy into her writing. In the last 8 years she has written and published over 58 titles, including urban fantasy, post-apocalyptic, sci-fi, paranormal, and contemporary romances. And also, cozy mysteries.
She lives in Portland, Oregon where she plans to live out her days eating mushroom pizza, drinking too many caramel lattes, exploring exotic locales, and avoiding spiders.
Shéa is the author of the Dragon Wars series and the bestselling Sunwalker Saga series as well as the Viola Roberts Cozy Mystery and Lady Rample Mysteries series.
You can find her at her Website
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