Ever feel like your Muse has gone fishin’ without telling you? You sit down to write but the characters aren’t cooperating, the words aren’t flowing, and (as if that weren’t enough) something else is nagging at the back of your mind. There are several reasons why you could feel like your muse is ignoring you.
You could possibly be suffering from non-writing issues that need to be attended to and your writing is suffering because you’re ignoring it. Instead of continuing to ignore the issues, get up and attend to them. Take care of the dishes. Go food shopping. Cook a healthy dinner for the family. Speak to your family (make them wear nametags if you can’t remember their names because your muse had you chained to your keyboard for a week straight). Do something other than writing because your muse is poking someone else with a sharp stick right now and you’re being given well deserved break.
Your character is in a pickle and you have no idea how to get them out. You’ve painted yourself into a corner. There was an issue of Writer’s Digest not too long ago about getting trapped in corners. You need to learn to love the corner. Don’t fight the corner, learn how to draw a door or crawl out a window. As the infamous THEY say: There’s more than one way to skin a cat*. So you need to think differently about that corner. How did you get there and why is it a trap? Is there something earlier in the story that needs to be changed? If you haven’t finished your first draft, most people would frown upon going back to fix things. However, this is your story and if you can’t figure out whether or not you made a mistake, go back to the beginning. If you have an outline, look and see if you missed something or changed something. If you’re a pantser, this would be the time to write out a quick, vague outline to help you find the error.
Maybe you burned yourself out. It happens. You’re so deep into a story, whether it’s a first draft or second revision, and all of a sudden you would rather burn the house down than sit at that keyboard one more moment. This is when you need to take a physical break. Go to the beach or the hiking trail. Enjoy the outdoors. If you don’t like the outdoors, then perhaps schedule a spa day. You don’t have to go crazy and spend a ton of money (especially if you’re low on funds) but sometimes a little pampering of the self can go a long way.
Other Creative Pursuits
If your writing is the only creative thing you have going for you, then it’s easy to get sick and tired of writing. Blog posts, stories, tweets. There’s only so much you can put your fingers through. If I find myself getting a blank when I’m writing and outlining or switching up projects doesn’t peak my Muse’s interest, then it means I need to change something. Usually that is when I pick up whatever crocheting project I’m working on. Sometimes I will delve into video games for a couple of hours. I’m not very good at sketching or painting, so I don’t tend to go that way. I’ll go to the park and walk while listening to music or podcasts. Basically, if writing is your job and your creative hobby, perhaps you need another non-working creative hobby when your Muse has decided to take a hike. (In other words, maybe you should take a page out of your Muse’s book and also take a hike in the woods….)