Five Tips for Taming Your Muse
One question frequently asked of authors is “Where do you get your inspiration?” For me, that spark of “what if?” can come at any time and from anywhere: an overheard conversation in a café, a news headline, an image on a billboard, a line in a book. Getting inspiration is the easy part. The hard part is kicking your muse into gear to do something with that initial kernel of inspiration, and if your muse is anything like mine, you’re tearing your—and possibly her—hair out almost every day to get her to cooperate.
My muse is called Mildred. Don’t let the mild mannered name fool you; she is an obstinate, fickle, and self-serving creature who, more often than not, deserts me at the drop of a hat. So I’ve come up with five strategies to keep her in line.
Our characters might be rushing around in their story worlds, fighting monsters, slaying demons, or just running for a cab, but a writer’s job involves a lot of bums on seats. Well, at least your own bum on your own seat. Our work is very sedentary and Mildred is one of those twitchy, flighty, can’t sit still kind of muses. Taking her for a walk, jog, or a gym session, is a good way to help her regain focus. Even a twenty-minute stroll around the block can be enough to help her sit still and focus on the story.
Once you’ve got your muse in her chair, a good way to channel her thoughts into a creative direction is to play her some music. Choosing something that reflects the mood of the scene you’re writing is best, otherwise you might end up with a too soppy fight scene or too aggressive dialogue during what was meant to be a romantic exchange. I listened to Two Steps From Hell—a movie trailer music production duo—while writing my debut YA paranormal romance, as it gave me a nice mix between epic, fast paced pieces and reflective, romantic tracks. Check out their music here: https://www.youtube.com/user/TwoStepsFromTheMusic
This is a crucial point. To keep your muse at the top of her game, she needs to see what other muses are helping their authors create. An innately proud animal, this will have her sitting up straight and pointing to the keyboard, urging you to put words on the page, so that she can show off the awesome stories she’s helped create.
- Time with other muses
Just like it’s crucial to read other writing that inspires, it’s also good to get together with other like-minded authors. This way your muses can hang out together at the bar and bounce ideas off one another while sipping away at something bubbly. Mildred would never admit it, but she has my critique partners’ muses to thank for many of the ideas she claims as her own.
Chocolate is an excellent muse incentive! Mildred will happily help me dig myself out of a plot hole or provide an idea for a story twist if I dangle the prospect of some chocolate in front of her. Note: it’s a good idea to combine point five with point one, for obvious reasons.
If none of the above work and your muse still refuses to cooperate, tie the little blighter to a chair and force her to inspire words onto the page. After all, she lives in your head—so no one will hear her furious complaining but you!
Love curses don’t exist. At least that’s what Jonas, master of the meaningless hookup, tells himself when a letter warns him he’s an Eros Guardian cursed to endure a test of true love or forever be alone. His levelheaded longtime friend Cora figures it’s a revenge prank by an ex. The way Jonas stamps each girlfriend with a weeklong use-by date, it serves him right.
But when an impulsive kiss between the two friends reveals potential for more, Cora becomes the target of the Groth Maar: demons sent to wipe out the Eros Guardian line. And suddenly the curse becomes dangerously real.
Breaking the curse means Jonas’s biggest challenge yet. Failure guarantees Cora’s death. But success may cost him his own life…and the loss of his carefully guarded heart to the one girl far too sensible to fall for him.
Kat Colmer is a Sydney-based Young and New Adult author who writes coming-of-age stories with humor and heart. The recipient of several writing awards, she has won the Romance Writers of Australia First Kiss contest, as well as the Romance Writers of America On the Far Side contest for her debut Young Adult Paranormal Romance.
Kat has a Master of Education in Teacher Librarianship and loves working with teens and young adults. When not writing, teaching, or reading the latest in YA fiction, Kat spends time with her husband and two children.