Just about any time you feel something strongly is a good time to write.
That time you don’t feel like writing? That’s a great time to write.
Think about it.
What is inspiration
But a feeling?
Feeling blocked is a great feeling if by “great” you mean “really strong.”
For someone who wants to write there is hardly a stronger feeling than the haunting sense of not being up to the task.
So step up to that feeling.
What does it feel like?
Write in the face of that feeling.
I’m feeling it this morning.
I wasted most of my morning time by not writing.
I wrote nothing until I opened this page and started at it.
I had nothing to show until I noticed why I wasn’t writing.
I didn’t feel like writing.
But I was feeling something.
Tired. Worn. Sleepy.
I had feelings and they were right there in front of me.
Things to write about.
Why isn’t that inspiration?
A little wind for the sails.
Most of the time when you sit down to write, you are not going to have gusts of inspiration. Instead, you will get, if anything, little breezes that you will not notice if you aren’t paying attention.
And wouldn’t that just be a crime?
Not to notice?
When it comes?
You say you want the muse to visit?
What would the muse look like?
Would you recognize her?
And what would you do with her?
Here’s the thing about inspiration: I think the muse looks a lot like my character, Mother, who doesn’t really care much about how you feel.
She’s a bit harsh that way.
Mother runs a musty old diner in my brain called “Not Your Mother’s Diner.”
Get your own damn coffee, she says.
Wipe your feet, dammit, she says.
She’s there for me every day whether I like it or not.
She’s up before me, smoking cigarettes and making bad coffee and wisecracking.
And she’s still up when I’m ready to turn in.
You need to talk? Fine. Talk.
Just don’t waste her time complaining about your life.
Mother has had a life, a long one, and there’s been enough pain to cover the whole length of it pretty thick. But she’s not going to complain about it. No siree.
Except that’s all she does.
Mother is my muse.
She smokes and swears and complains about everybody. She smells like bacon and old people and regret and anger and also love and empathy.
But she is there for me if I care to notice.
She might be there for you as well if you care to look past the smoke and stale ashtrays and gawdawful coffee.
And the swearing.
Oh, the swearing.
What is the muse supposed to do?
I don’t think the muse is there to serve you.
I think the muse is there to do a job whether you notice or not.
Your job, though, is to notice.
You don’t notice and the muse doesn’t care.
The muse is going to do what she does.
She’s not going to come over and try to pick you up or cheer you up or get you more excited about you or your work than either of you currently deserves.
The muse is going to leave you alone if you want to be left alone.
But I think you can sidle up next to the muse any time you want if you are paying attention.
Just like this morning.
I didn’t feel like writing. Not at all.
I felt sorry for myself.
And then I noticed that at the very least I was feeling that.