“I write only when inspiration strikes. Fortunately, it strikes every morning at nine o’clock sharp.”

You can find this quote attributed to many different writers if you search online. But The War of Art by Steven Pressfield attributes it to Somerset Maugham.

How to Whip Your Muse into Shape

 

How Can You Get Control Of Your Muse

The Muse has gotten a bad rap for being temperamental and ruling Her artists by cruel whims. One day She’ll bless the writer with a flood of words that keeps him or her up until dawn. Then She’ll disappear for weeks.

But I’m here to tell you it doesn’t have to be like that. Eight years in the creative industry has taught me that you can absolutely summon your creative energy almost whenever you want to.

It’s just a matter of knowing how to get start. Here are some of my favorite tricks:

1. Set a habit

You think it’s any coincidence Somerset Maugham’s muse showed up every morning? It’s because he showed up, ready to write.

The brain responds well to routine. When you show up at the keyboard every day, you tell your mind, Hello in there, we’re writing now, it’s time to get creative.

Your brain won’t take too long to catch on.

Will there be better writing days than others? Sure. Always. But you’ll always get words on the page.

2. Reward good behavior

Much like a puppy, your muse responds to positive reinforcement. How do you reinforce “good behavior” from your Muse though?

Keep a pen on you.

If you want those great story ideas to come to you in flashes of inspiration, it helps to be ready for them.

Be ready for those moments—look for them everywhere you go—and you’ll find them. Once they’re written down, they’ll be at the ready for your next full-bore writing session.

3. Use creativity exercises

Brainstorms. Mindmaps. Writing prompts. When you have those days where it feels like the words just won’t come, try out different kinds of exercises and learn what works for you.

No matter what, stay consistent

Despite the myths of elusive inspiration, you can gain control over your muse and get it to show up when you want it.

There will still be days that are harder than others. But over time, if you keep on showing up, they’ll become fewer and farther between.

How about you? Do you ever have trouble getting your Muse to show up when you need Her? Let me know in the comments section.

PRACTICE

Today, take control of your Muse. Either use a writing prompt here or write on your work in progress or free write. However, whatever you choose to do, make sure you write, if only to show your Muse you’re showing up and therefore expect Her to show up too.

Write for fifteen minutes. When your time is up, post your practice in the comments section. And if you post, please be sure to give feedback to your fellow writers.

Happy writing!

Emily Wenstrom
Emily Wenstrom
By day, Emily Wenstrom, is the editor of short story website wordhaus, author social media coach, and freelance content marketing specialist. By early-early morning, she is E. J. Wenstrom, a sci-fi and fantasy author whose first novel Mud will release in March 2016.