Everyone has a Muse. Developing a relationship with your Muse is important if you are a creative person. You could simply answer her every time she calls — at work, at 3am, in the shower, during sex. But I don’t recommend this approach.
Every Muse is unique, so this is not a one-ritual-fits-all approach. It’s also not about chasing her down — she’ll just run faster and laugh louder. It’s about drawing her near, getting her to take your calls, setting a mood she can’t resist peeking in on.
And one of the best ways to do this is to create a writing ritual.
What’s a writing ritual?
A writing ritual is a summoning spell for your Muse. It’s no different from Pavlov’s dog. Bell rings, dog anticipates food, cue drooly mess. In this case, it’s about setting up the right set of sensory and habitual triggers that put you in sync with your creative voice. Matter of fact, the more sensory triggers you can incorporate the better!
My writing ritual includes retreating to my writing nook, queuing up a film score playlist, making some hot tea (second flush darjeeling is my favorite, but I like spiced and herbal varieties, too). I turn on the heater or the fan, depending on the season. Then, I light some incense. I read a page of what I was working on aloud to get back in my voice, which is especially fun with an epic film soundtrack playing in the background. And then I write.
Sometimes it goes easily and sometimes it doesn’t. But I don’t think I’ve had a day when it didn’t go at all.
My writing nook is pretty sweet. It’s a little side room just off my bedroom, facing the woods. All my essentials are here: leather journal, fountain pen, a bowl of pretty stones to fidget with and a lucky coin, computer with Scrivener loaded, all my notes, bottled ink, a skull… Why don’t I just show you?
There! That’s my work space (I should do a wee video tour later, show you the whole thing… that would be fun). Having a dedicated space to write is wonderful. All you need is a corner. But if you can’t create that, having the other sensory cues will fill in nicely.
Does it work?
For me, it does — quite wonderfully!
Your Muse can be trained. Do a little research on writers who get up at 5am to write. Their consistency — repeating the same pattern, making a “standing date with their Muse” — eventually trains their creativity to show up on demand. Writing rituals are a way to create a pattern for you to say to your Muse, “Hey, wanna hook up?” You can even create separate rituals for writing, for editing, for blogging. You know, feed the part of your mind that needs to be in play.
I’m not saying you should make the Muse your bitch. But a little proper care and feeding of your Muse goes a long way to preventing writer’s block and keeping your blood pressure down.