I totally subscribe to the Elizabeth Gilbert theory that it is much healthier to act as the Roman and Greeks did and imagine that genius and inspiration are seperate to yourself. Obviously we know that this isn’t true in reality. We know that when we sit down to a piece of work we sit down on our own. But it’s hard to deal with what happens when things don’t really flow. Who’s fault is it? Well it’s obviously some internal thing. This is the same mind that was able to produce ten pages yesterday. But is it helpful to go down that avenue? You may have had a glass too many of wine last night, you may have just got some bad news on e-mail this morning. You are out of the zone.
I’ve always felt that it’s better to just pretend that it’s nothing to do with you. I’m not saying that it’s okay to have that extra glass of wine. No there are some things that are in your control. Try and have the same breakfast, the same order of things before you start writing. You create little rituals which can get you in the zone. But be careful with these. You want to be able to write standing on your head if the inspiration hits. Remember these things are to help the inspiration hit. Once it has hit you are supposed to drop everything and go for it. Don’t get these things mixed up. If you start saying that you can’t write without your 2B pencil you’re going to miss things – and have very hard to read writing.
I’ve always felt that my muse was like Sharon Stone in the pretty poor Albert Brooks film – The Muse. She goes off and runs around the world picking up inspirational things. She’s that part of your mind that daydreams the fantastical. That part of your mind that hates the practicalities, the harsh realities of drudgery.
You have to entertain your muse. You have to take it out and experience things you don’t normally experience. You have to allow it its flights of fancy. But there are two reasons your muse will leave you, if you’re too serious, or if you’re not serious enough. Remember your muse is here for you to do your creative thing. You can’t just daydream you have to start.
I am a rational person and the muse is of course a part of your own mind. But just like Feng Shui works in some regards because imagining how a dragon would flow through your living room will stop you making the design mistake of parking something in the middle of your living room. This is the same, imagining your muse like a person who needs entertaining but wants results will give you what you need without feeling like the formal drag of a system. It might feel a but silly, but a willingness to embrace a feeling of silliness is a big part of being creative.
Last thing – for reasons I don’t fully understand my actual muse might be like Sharon Stone in the Muse but she looks like Jenna Elfman.