Don’t Wait for the Muse

Q. Writing is easy when I’m depressed. Any other time, I just hit a wall. Is this fixable?

A. A car salesman goes to work every day and tries to sell cars. Some days he sells none, some days he sells a lot. Same thing with doctors. They spend every day healing people. Some days more people are healed, some days less. Sometimes the patient dies. One more example: a Broadway actor works every day, either auditioning for roles, in rehearsals or performing. These people all have a job to do and they do it to the best of their ability day in and day out, regardless of their moods. Why should writers be any different?


I used to think I could only write songs when the mood was right, when the muse was present. Words and music seemed to flow easily in times of desperation or if I was ‘in love.’ Otherwise it was a struggle, so I would quit and wait for the ‘right’ time. But that didn’t come around very often.

So eventually, I tried to write more often, despite my belief that it was easier when the mood was right. It took me awhile to realize that the more I wrote, regardless of my mood, the easier it got.

Writing is like sports. You have to get in shape and stay in shape. If you stop writing for 3 months, it’s not going to be easy to start writing again.

Just like the car salesman, if you do it day in and day out, your skills will gradually improve. What’s more, if you set aside some time every day for writing and stick to it, regardless of your mood, your ability to tap into the muse will grow. You won’t need to wait for it.

If you write every day, then I consider you a writer. If you wait for the mood to strike, you are a hobbyist, in my opinion. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with being a hobbyist. I’m just saying you will improve faster with practice.

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3 Responses to “Don’t Wait for the Muse”

  1. Melana Says:

    Thank you for this great reminder! Not only because it’s very true and practical information for all writers to know, but also because it reaffirms that the writer inside of me is alive and kicking.

    Having recently accepted the truth of my creative nature, I warmly embrace all evidence that supports my new found awareness. It just feels good to know that, yes, I am a writer!

  2. Joel Says:

    That’s a very good point. I definitely need to start writing every day, even if it’s just for 15 minutes. I tend to think, “I should write something… but there’s nothing to write about.” So I procrastinate writing for a time when inspiration strikes. It’s no wonder why I have almost no material!

    Do you have any useful tips on how to start writing every day? What about what to write about when inspiration is dry?

  3. Dan Says:

    Joel,

    I will be following up with a post with tips for writing every day, things to get you started. If you write a journal, that’s a good start. Also, I’ll be posting about what to do when you want to write every day, but can’t think of a topic. Short answer, any topic will work. Remember, this doesn’t have to be a masterpiece, just the fact that you’re writing will prime the pump.

    What was the last thing that made you really angry or frustrated? Write about that. What was the last time you had a reason to celebrate? Write about what that felt like. You can even resort to writing a song about a random article in the newspaper, or something you overheard in a crowded bus. You get the idea.

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