Wednesday, 7 August 2013

Finding your Elusive Muse

Finishing a book.

On the one hand it gives you a great feeling of satisfaction but on the other it can make you feel quite lost. After the rewritten MS has been submitted and you're facing a long, agonising wait for feedback from an agent, what should you do? Start the next book is the cry from those 'in the know'. But it's not that simple. You have vague ideas forming in your mind about the sequel, but what if an editor demands big changes to the first book? So, a new story perhaps? Not easy when you've spent years steeped in a particular world with the same set of characters. Ideas keep popping into your head so you scribble them down one after another. You even start writing a few pieces but these get abandoned soon after and filed in under 'work in progress' or 'story ideas'.

Perhaps it's time to take a break? So you read lots and try to occupy yourself with other activities, although in your heart of hearts you know you should be writing. And you beat yourself up about it. So, what should feel like a good place to be is actually quite unsettling. However, this is might be just me – I'm sure there are plenty of writers out there at this stage who don't feel like this at all. They're probably battling on with the next project and/or basking in their achievements so far. But for those with a restless nature the 'in between' bit can be a frustrating time.

Since finishing my book I've had some great ideas but as yet I've not been compelled to go very far with any of them. Perhaps the answer is to take a complete break from writing? Or should I try writing somewhere else for a change? What do you do when your focus is gone? Where is that pesky Muse when you need her? If you have any suggestions please share them, I'd love to know!


  1. Have suffered with a wandering muse myself! I have heard advice such as, take a break, read a lot, go on long walks or try something else creative for a while. In between bigger projects I have taken time to write some short stores or even a little poetry. I'm still being creative and writing but without thinking I was diving into a new WIP before I was ready. Good luck.

  2. Thanks Suzanne it's good to know I'm not the only one! I might try and work on something shorter. The long walks would definitely help but are rarely an option with a 3-year-old in tow. I might also try something else creative. I'm currently looking for a creative writing course, which I should be able to claim back through work. I was doing a CW course when I got the idea for my last book, so am convinced it will help!

  3. Like Suzanne mentioned: writing a short story based on your novel can be fulfilling. You keep your hand in the game. You get a short story to submit to an cyber magazine. You perhaps get a first chapter in your sequel. You might even tell the story from the perspective of the antagonist, giving you a larger perspective of the story. Thanks for visiting my blog today. :-)

  4. Hi Roland, thanks for your suggestions! I might give that a try, although I find that whenever I attempt a short piece it always grows and grows until it is something much much bigger! I like your suggestion of telling the story from the antagonist POV, always a good one - I might even start the sequel that way... :)

  5. ...funny but true, whenever this happens, I walk away from the computer, hop on the rider, and mow the back yard. Never fails, the muse always comes rushing back ;) Strange, huh?


  6. Hi Elliot thanks for the comment :) Funny you should say that - I'm not a fan of mowing the lawn but I do like gardening - I was planning on starting a herb garden soon so maybe I should get on with it! Thanks for the tip and for following :)