How To Write When You Don’t Feel Like Writing

Okay.

So, by now, you’ve noticed that the title of this blog is about writing without a muse. Sitting at your computer, laptop, etc., you are looking at these words and thinking, ‘now what?’

Yes, there are days when you just don’t feel like writing. You’re tired, you’re sick, you’ve been up all night playing on your PS4 or whatever, or watching a Game of Thrones marathon. But now you’ve got to write. You MUST.

What do you do?

You have three options:

  • Be crushed under the weight of your silent muse.
  • Play games or waste some time on your favored social media.
  • Throw your muse out the window, put your fingers to the keyboard, and start typing.
Well, you actually have more than three options, but for the sake of brevity, let’s stick to these three.
Ah, your ‘muse’ isn’t speaking. Oh, well, I guess you’re just a mindless drone who doesn’t actually have any talent for your craft, then, because ‘real’ writers WRITE. Write or die. Writing is a habit. (More on this later.) So, accept the fact that you’re just a hack and can’t write unless you’re inspired. Is that really what you want?
Playing games and fooling around with social media is good…for a break. But if you haven’t written today, you need to put it the hell away and open your writing tool (I use Scrivener, personally, because it does everything I want and probably things I don’t want but like a lot), sit your bum down, and get to work. 
Of course, as you’ve likely predicted, the third option is best.
Okay, Anne, GOT IT — but what do I WRITE?

This is the hard part. When you’re first developing the habit of writing, you might find you’re staring at that blank screen and feeling overwhelmed. Well, I have a few exercises for you that might help.
  1. What’s your favorite fruit? Write a day in the life of your favorite fruit. Include its death as your nourishment.
  2. Write a memory. Start with any memory you have from any age. It could be recalling learning to ride a bike, eating at your favorite restaurant, playing a sport — anything positive or negative that you recall.
  3. Write a sentence. No matter what it is. Keep going. Even if you start off with ‘nothing comes to mind,’ write that down, then keep going.
Do this every day, and a story will begin to form. You can use these three to get you started, or check out Language Is A Virus or Seventh Sanctum for more prompts (and some complex ones, too).
If you find you’re still stuck, use a prompt and make an outline. Create a character and write out their background. Do anything you can to just get writing. That’s what matters. That’s the craft of writing. You will add the art as you go along with your prose.
Ready? Go!
Advertisements

Nobody’s Perfect

Hi. This is my introductory post. I’m going to use this space for my writing, musings, rants, raves, and general commentary on…well, everything.

Mostly, my interest is writing, philosopy, and psychology. But those of you who know me know this to be true.

Naturally, in a blog, the aim is to present the best aspects of the self, or even the worst. To project a personality, to rant aimlessly or almost aimlessly, and other such things. I think I’d like to write about writing, most of all (hence one reason for the name of the blog; the other reasons are forthcoming). 

The written word has been with me as a friend and companion since I first laid eyes on ABC’s and 123’s and the writings of Dr. Seuss. I have since been enamored with Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Edgar Allan Poe, H. P. Lovecraft, Steven King, Clive Barker, Chuck Palahniuk, Charles Bukowski, J.K. Rowling, and so on. That’s just to name a few. 

I named this blog ‘Writing Without A Muse’ because I hate the idea that if your muse isn’t talking, then you aren’t writing. Screw your muse. Writing is a grisly, mind-breaking habit that will suck out your soul until you tell your damn story. I am a writer for a living. A freelance writer. If I don’t write every day, it’s a day I go without paying the bills. So the ‘muse’ can go shove it, because if she shuts her yap, then I don’t get to eat. I’m of French-Canadian heritage (along with several other things, but I am closest to my FC heritage). I love to eat.

I don’t care to allow comments on my blog. I appreciate the opinions of others and enjoy learning from them, but honestly, if something I say sways you so much that you feel the need to comment on it, WRITE IT IN YOUR OWN BLOG AND POST IT. Do it! It’ll at least get you writing. Besides, this stuff is just my opinion. You’re entitled to your own as well.

Other things I’m hopeful you’ll find in this blog include profound wisdom, amazing things I’ve discovered and love so much that I just have to share them, and the occasional except from an upcoming book or announcements on what’s being published and when.

Why do I write if writing is such a ‘grisly, mind-breaking habit,’ you ask? (You didn’t? Well, I’m telling you anyway.) Because it’s a must. I get images and stories in my head that just won’t go away until I write them out. Sometimes, it’s laborious. Sometimes, liberating. Other times? It’s just a hell of a lot of fun! Plus, I’ll let you in on a little secret: the ones I’ve had the most fun writing are the ones that get attention. The ones that people enjoy reading.

This blog will attempt to be organized, because I’m not, so the blog will have to do it itself. Above all, I hope you’ll have as much fun reading this as I will writing it. I hope to post frequently (every Friday if I can, every other Friday if I remember, monthly if I’m a jackass and keep forgetting…etc.) and amuse you with my macabre sense of humor, my occasional Anglophile angst (I wish I were British), and everything else that’s going to go in this blog.

Is your muse calling? Tell her to cram it. You can do it on your own. I’ll get into that in a later post.

Have fun. Life is short and you’re the one who has to make it sweet.

With love,
Anne L. Hogue-Boucher
The Silly Yet Macabre Writer