Feeding the Muse

I don’t actually believe I have a “muse,” but it makes a catchy title. The reason I don’t like to say “my muse” is that it implies the impetus for my writing comes from a mysterious outside source. If that were true, it would be out of my control. I don’t think that’s a good thing.

So for me, “muse” is code for “my brain.” So-called “inspiration” also means, to me, “my brain.” As a writer, I’m pretty self-centered. I spend a lot of time thinking about how my brain works and how my writing process works, and I use that to help me when it’s not going so well.

On to feeding my brain. (Braaaaaaiiiiiiiiinnnnnnzzzzzzzz!!!!!!!)

So far, I’ve always been able to write something when I sit down to write. The hard part for me is usually the sitting down part. However, some days are better than others. Some days, I feel like I have more to give the story than others.

What do I do when I don’t have as much to give? (When The Muse turns her back on me, oh woe?!)

Stories, like brains (and zombies!), need food. That food is made up of snips and snaps of facts and opinions and images and emotions. Sometimes, if I feel like my brain is hungry, I decide there’s nothing for it but to feed it. I start reading a new fiction book, or a new research book, or I take a night off and watch a DVD, or I exercise, or I go for a walk or go shopping, to fill up my brain with new Things. After a little while, like magic, I can sit down and the writing flows better.

What do you do when your brain is empty?

About Victoria Janssen

Victoria Janssen’s first erotic novel, The Duchess, Her Maid, The Groom and Their Lover (Harlequin Spice, December 2008), was translated into French and German. Her second Spice novel, The Moonlight Mistress (December 2009), was translated into Italian and nominated for a RT Reviews Reviewers’ Choice Award. Her third novel is The Duke & The Pirate Queen (December 2010). She has also published erotic short stories as Elspeth Potter. Her blog features professional writing and marketing tips, genre discussion, book reviews, and occasional author interviews.
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