In fact, she's always late...or just shows up whenever she feels like it.
If you've ever sat down to write something, you know what I'm talking about: The Muse.
She's inspired everyone from Mozart to Da Vinci and now, you're waiting for her to grace your keyboard. But, she's a tough broad with a busy schedule. Maybe she stopped off to help someone make a film. Or maybe she just got a burger. Whatever she's doing, she's not with you right now - and you can't wait for her to show up either.
Not the First Date
Waiting for The Muse isn't the best strategy to pursue when there's something to be written. Sure, you want your words to flow freely and for the copy to be solid, but you can't trust inspiration to strike when it's convenient.
If you want to become better at writing marketing copy, SEO articles, taglines, or even a novel, you have to get used to the idea that The Muse has her own schedule - and so do you. Bottom line: do not wait for her to come. Instead, make your writing happen on your own schedule as well as your own terms. In the long run, it'll make you a better writer.
Being Stood Up
The Muse doesn't like to show up on time and when she stands you up, just take a deep breath...and start sketching out ideas. Diving right into writing after being stood up by the Muse can be pretty darn difficult (can't you feel the heartache?), but if you at least take the time to start outlining or brainstorming what you'd like to convey in your messaging, you may find that awesome zone that you get into when the writing starts to get good (or get going).
Plus, you may start developing those little nuggets that will blossom into a blog post or a compelling product description. Granted, this isn't the date you had in mind with The Muse, but you're still sitting down and getting something done, which will save you a whole lot of frustration in the long run.
The Long Ride Home
Writing when feeling uninspired can be laboring. It's tough and you probably feel like everything that's coming out is crap, but the fact that you're still going is what really helps you become a better writer. Even Hemingway pushed through the crap to make masterpieces.
You have to push through it. Push through all of the second thoughts and thedoubts. Push through feeling like a hack and struggling over how to fit in keywords naturally. Practice makes perfect and now is the perfect time to start practicing. Even when you've been stood up by The Muse and feel like a failure, I assure you, you are most certainly not.
The simple act of pushing through and starting to write - even when not in tune with creative genius - shows that you have the tenacity to actually make progress on a project. You're proving to yourself that you can get the writing done and after some revision, done well.
Why Didn't You Call?
Ask yourself what is causing the creative block and then take steps to solving it. Change the venue. Listen to music. Eat something if you're hungry. See if you can call The Muse back by creating your own inspiration. If you can't find the answer, push forward through all of the muck and the mess of your frustrated mind and find peace in knowing that you're still getting something done. It WILL make you feel better.
Once you've got some writing in front of you, stop and take a look at what you've accomplished. How did it come out? Does it have potential? Can it be tweaked or modified to bring it closer to the core message? Will some rephrasing make it better?
By evaluating your progress during an uninspired writing session, you might be able to unlock some truths about your own creativity. Even just a few sentences or scribbled ideas on a piece of paper can reveal a lot about how you think and how you're conveying your message. Maybe you'll see how your writing style is when you're in a specific mood. Maybe you'll notice a pattern in your phrasing. Maybe you'll just stumble upon a word you really like and can't wait to use more. Either way, this is progress - and one step closer to making amends with The Muse.
Like all good girlfriends, you usually end up giving The Muse a second chance. When she shows up, things are really good and the words flow beautifully. When she doesn't, you feel frustrated and alone. But that feeling of hope and accomplishment is what keeps you coming back. You love it when she showers her attentions on you.
When she does decide to show up, indulge her. Sit down and write. It may be good, bad, or indifferent. The point is that you're actually giving yourself the time to explore your writing so that it may improve. If she doesn't show up, know that you're going to be OK because you still have that opportunity to push through, get something done, and evaluate your writing from another perspective. You'll survive - and you may even write some of your best work.
Remember - the writing you produce is your own; you are responsible for where it comes from, what it grows into, and what message it sends. Don't let The Muse control what inspires you to achieve greatness.
Whats your process for breaking through and getting your writing done?
Mandy Boyle is the Director of Internet Marketing at Net Driven. She is also a published freelance writer and co-founder of NEPA BlogCon. She enjoys theater, not taking herself seriously, and adventurous eating.