Clio, Thalia, Erato, Euterpe, Polyhymnia, Calliope, Terpsichore, Urania and Melpomene. Recognise their names? They are the eight muses from Greek mythology. Unfortunately for us, they are just an awesome ancient story and will not come and sit beside you guiding your work.
Finding inspiration is part of the writers craft. It’s something that may suddenly occur to you and other times you have to go looking for it. Writing prompts help me, so do awesome artwork on the internet. Other forms of inspiration might come from sitting in a café and watching the people. Listening to conversations had by children. You could watch cloud formations or think about events in your own life.
While doing Camp NanoWriMo earlier this year, I heard a lot of chatter like “I just can’t write anything today, my muse has left me”, or “My muse keeps taking my story in an odd direction and I’m struggling to pull it back where I want it to go.”
To the first person I would have to say, you are your own worst enemy today and you’re simply procrastinating, just write. If you can’t write more on the chapter you’re working on, start on another one. Write a short story or piece of flash fiction about one of your characters instead, flesh out the person’s life. Just write and stop waiting for something that doesn’t exist to suddenly fill your mind with the perfect scene.
To the later I say, go with the change and see where it takes you, but stop complaining about, or forcing something that it’s working for you, go with what is. Words aren’t carved in stone, and even if they are, get a new piece of stone and carve anew. You can always edit out what you have written later, especially in a first draft.
The important thing is that you are writing. Bum down, pen down, write!
Here are a bunch of links you might find useful for getting the creative juices flowing, I know they’ve been working for me:
- Flickr CC images (these images are Creative Commons Licensed)
- Random word generator (I like this one because I can choose how many words I want it to create but there are others out there)
- Random prompt generator (again, dozens of others out there, this is just one I’ve used)
- Kindle prompt books I like