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 [she, her] currently writes cozy space opera for Kalikoi. The novella series A Place of Refuge begins with Finding Refuge: Telepathic warrior Talia Avi, genius engineer Miki Boudreaux, and augmented soldier Faigin Balfour fought the fascist Federated Colonies for ten years, following the charismatic dissenter Jon Churchill. Then Jon disappeared, Talia was thought dead, and Miki and Faigin struggled to take Jon’s place and stay alive. When the FC is unexpectedly upended, Talia is reunited with her friends and they are given sanctuary on the enigmatic planet Refuge. The trio of former guerillas strive to recover from lifetimes of trauma, build new lives on a planet with endless horizons, and forge tender new connections with each other.
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