kickstarting the muse

I’m finally thinking about writing again. Still no clue what *about*, but it’s comforting nonetheless.

As I slashed and burned through Silent Chances last summer (a.k.a. HTRYN* Lessons 14-17), I really struggled with my plot and figuring out the motivations and timelines of three major characters. Finally, I’d had enough. By that point I was so frustrated by my own inability to break through my block that I had to try something new.

It was time for old-school tactics.***

Bring out your Dead Paper-and-Peeeeennn!

I scrawled the three character names across the top of a blank page in my spiral notebook, circled them… and then I flow-charted. Mind-mapped. Whatever you want to call it.

All their actions/reactions (on- or off-stage) that drove the story forward were laid down first. Backstory and murders were woven through next. Other minor characters causing a ripple effect were zigzagged across the page as well.

The injection of fresh ideas was stunning.

My current block

I need a major boost of motivation and creativity right now to push me out of this rut. So. I’ve decided to re-start Holly Lisle’s course on creative thinking called “How to Think Sideways[affiliate link] or HTTS.

Lesson Two addresses Holly’s proven method for kick-starting the Muse. She calls it “Clustering”. You can call it brainstorming, or whatever you want… but it’s a way to jot ideas and allow the creative side of your brain to guide the hand (should I *be* so lucky to experience “automatic writing” with my Muse!). When I first started HTTS in July 2010, I refused to do this exercise with paper and pen because… well, that’s how I roll. I’d just gotten my iPad and purchased iThought for it (which, by the way, is awesome!)

But, those dreamy gadgets just don’t work well for the more flowing, creative HTTS exercises.

And, I petered out.

I’m looking forward this time around to Trusting Holly’s Method. My canvas is ready. I have three lovely gel pens that scratch most pleasingly across unblemished white paper. The pages themselves are waiting, already taped together securely and precisely and squarely and OCD-ly.

I have a 4 a.m. date tomorrow morning with the coffee maker and living room fire.

I’m ready.

How do you kick start your Muse when she’s on hiatus?

[And no, the fire isn’t to *burn* the pages. Let’s think positive, shall we?]

I shunned using a spiral notebook at first — they’re so messy! paper shreds!! eww!!! — but began relying heavily on it as the course progressed. As it stands now, I don’t imagine I’ll ever plot a novel again without reserving one especially to collect such novel-related brain dumps.

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