Let’s face it: whether you’re trying to write a poem, a screenplay, or a novel, sometimes you’re just not feeling it. It can be easy to give up on whatever project you’re working on when your muse seems to be off on vacation – take it from someone who knows! Here are 5 tried and true tips from yours truly on how to bring that muse back:
1. Take a break
Now you have to be careful with this one, as it might backfire on you if you’re not strict with yourself. Take a day or two off from your project to let yourself relax. If you’re writing every day or working on a deadline, what was once fun might become a chore, and writing should never feel that way. Your brain is a muscle, and all muscles need a rest every once in a while. Taking a day off to breathe might just be what your creative mind needs.
2. Talk out ideas with friends
When you’re in a rut, it can be easy to get frustrated and scrap ideas entirely. But sometimes what you need is a new perspective. There’s nothing like a fresh pair of eyes! And besides, a little critique never hurt anybody. Talk it out with a friend you trust, have them read over the story, and ask where they think you should go from there. Sometimes, they may see things you didn’t, and give you ideas on scenes, dialogue, or whatever you may need. You’d be surprised at the insight they have.
3. Make a mixtape.
This might sound silly, but this is my favorite way to find my muse. Make an 8tracks playlist for your novel, the main character, the main romantic relationship, anything. Thinking about music that reminds you of your characters is a great way to find inspiration for your stories. For an extra little challenge: make a mix of the top 15 songs that are most played on your protagonist’s iPod. You’ll be amazed by the stuff that comes to you.
4. Make art
Mood boards, aesthetic posts, doodles, what have you. Art is a great way to find and make connections with your characters and story on a deeper level. I find that mood boards help me understand the inner workings of even my most complex characters. Aesthetic posts can help you get a handle on the things your characters find the most beautiful and nice to look at, which can give you a better sense of their personality. What does your antagonist doodle absentmindedly in their notebook? Doodles are a window into the soul, and though it might sound like a strange question, it’d help you more than you think.
5. Make character bios.
In-depth character biographies can help you understand all the nuances of your characters. I like to use the website charahub, which lets you group your characters by story. It asks you questions you’d never think even matter, like what animal they would most want to be. It seems silly, but having this understanding of your character makes writing come much easier to you, and helps you write more realistic characters. After making a bio for one of my protagonists, I figured out his motive to solve the problem at hand, and words flew out of my hands like magic! It can be time consuming, but it’s fun, and so worth it.
Best of luck on your writing endeavors! Now, go forth, and tell great stories!