When Your Muse Takes a Spring Break

See if you can track with the following situation…
Your week is slammed—chock full of appointments and meetings
and pulling together tax documents that you don’t want to pull together in the
first place. But, dutiful writer that you are, you realize you must take time to write or it’s not
going to happen. So you whip out a crowbar and pry open a block of precious
hours to work on your bestseller. It’s hopeful. It’s a handhold on your rockslide
of a schedule and you’re looking forward to it.
Fast forward. The blessed time has arrived for you to lose
yourself in the muse and surge ahead in your WIP. Java in one hand, laptop in
the other, you cozy up in your favorite chair, ready to write and…
Nothing flows. Not one word. Apparently your muse didn’t get
the memo. Your mind is blank and you are exhausted. Panic sets in. This is your
only chance to write for the week and you don’t want to blow it. So you sit
there with a crazed look on your face, whimpering.
Any of this sounding familiar? It happens to me. Frequently.
Take a few deep breaths and read on, because after all my experience, I’ve got
a few tricks in my bag that are often helpful.

Shut Up & Listen
Close your eyes for a moment and listen to your characters.
Just listen. Then open your eyes and write down what they’re saying. That’s
right…I’m giving you permission to simply write dialogue. Don’t worry about the
attributes or setting. You can go back and do that later. Simply start typing
in a conversation between two of your characters (any two) and something cool
will happen. You’ll get lost in the dialogue and pretty soon your word count
will sky rocket.
Show & Tell
Open up to your collection of pictures that inspire your
particular story. And if you don’t have any, then use this time to get some.
What am I talking about? HERE’s a sample of one of mine on Pinterest. If you
want to go old school, then cut out some magazine pictures and slap them on
some cardboard. Sometimes all it takes to get you writing is to physically look
into your hero or heroine’s eyes.
Slash & Burn
Go back to a previous chapter and edit. Even if your muse
doesn’t happen to show up during your entire block of scheduled time, at least
you’ll be making some kind of headway on your WIP, and you’ll feel a lot better
about it.
Bend & Stretch
Release the pressure by telling yourself it’s quality not
quantity that matters. Focus on writing a single paragraph of description,
either describing a character, a setting, and object, whatever. Make it a game
by throwing out convention and using prose that’s crazy. One of two things will
happen. This exercise will either spur you into a creative new bent for the
scene and you’ll move on in your story…or you’ll wonder what kind of drugs you’re
on and snap out of it.
Chocolate &
Honestly, is there any situation that chocolate doesn’t make
better? Go for the biggest brownie in the batch and see if that doesn’t put you
in a different frame of mind.
There you have it. Try one. Try them all. Or go ahead and
share in the comment section other surefire ways you’ve pled with your muse to
pack up the suntan lotion and get home.

Michelle Griep’s been writing since she first discovered blank wall space and Crayolas…professionally, however, for the past 10 years. Her latest release, UNDERCURRENT, is available by Risen Books. You can find her at: Writer Off the Leashwww.mmgriep.com or on TwitterFacebook, or