Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Training Your Muse to Work on Demand #NaNoWriMo #Amwriting #WritingTips

Over the years of being a professional writer both as a journalist and as a prolific author I've trained my mind to snap into writing mode whenever I sit down at the computer. This is common among most professional creatives who make their living full-time with their chosen art. However, whenever I meet aspiring authors, the same question comes up time and time again: where do you find your inspiration?

I don't.

Some days I'm not inspired at all--maybe my kids have been fighting or the car has broken down. Maybe I'm worn out or pissed off. But guess what? If I don't write or edit or market--if I don't work--then I can't support myself or my family. I am a professional author and editor--a career that I worked hard for, paid dues for, and love with all my heart. I treat it like a business because that's exactly what it is.

What I have discovered over twenty years as a full-time writer is that aspiring authors balk at the word work when it is paired with their art as if marrying the two words equals prostitution. They yearn for the illusion of Hemingway drunk in Key West all afternoon or the romance of Fitzgerald's life in Paris. Well, both of those authors woke up every day and wrote their hearts out. Hemingway used to write standing up so that he would finish early in the day...then and only then would he play. He got up and went to a all of us do who make a living in this chosen profession.

If I sat around and stared at clouds all day--and, don't get me wrong, I stare at plenty of clouds--I would accomplish nothing. Instead, I have a routine that I fiercely protect. My writing is work, the fact that I love it is a bonus.

Perhaps there in lies the rub, eh?

People have this idea that if they love what they do this much, it has to be thrust into hobby status. To make money from it is somehow sacrilegious to the infamous Muse we all claim to serve. To admit to making money from it is selling out. Hmm...I wonder if Mark Zuckerberg feels he sold out after his idea of Facebook made him a billionaire? I doubt it. I wonder if Nicholas Sparks cries himself to sleep after every movie premiere that was born from one of his novels? I don't think so.

Professional writing is a real job. Get over yourself if you think it's some divine mission of your soul and you must suffer and struggle to be authentic. If you believe this to be true, then why are you writing a manuscript at all? Why are you reading writing blogs or attending workshops to hone your craft? Why are you sending out query letters or checking out successful Indie authors? Why are you putting in the hours to revise and dream? The ultimate goal of most aspiring authors is to one day be published--but that seems to be as far as they get. They don't ask themselves the important question of "then what?"

Once you get an agent who wants multiple revisions, then what? Are you going to tell him/her that you can't get them done until you feel inspired?

Once you get a publisher who throws firm deadlines at you, then what? Are you going to fail to deliver because the Muse eluded you?

Once the book is published and you suddenly have readers wanting more of your work, then what? Are you going to tell them you can't deliver because all the pressure is destroying your inspiration?

One reason I love National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) is because it teaches writers to produce on demand. Perhaps the unsuspecting novice doesn't realize they are being trained, but that's what is happening. They see their writing buddies producing massive word counts a day. They see their own progress and a clear goal ahead. They sit down during one month and write without doubt stopping them. All they know is they want to reach that goal, to be part of a community pursuing a dream.

Why not do that every month? Why not do that every day? It's possible. There are many of us doing it--journalists, television writers, novelists, essayists, bloggers--so why can't you?

The Muse is ours to play with as we choose. We call Her forth when we need her. We have the power of creativity at our fingertips. The Muse wants to play with us, she is not a bitch. She is waiting simply for an invitation. If you tell her, "when I sit down at my desk today, meet me and be ready to play" she'll be there. Not only will she come prepared to kick ass, she'll take you away from those every day troubles that you were using as an excuse to avoid her.

Inspiration is a nice idea but a foolish one. Save it for your time day-drinking (of which I am a fan) or star gazing...after you've gotten your word count in for the day. Write--even if you don't think it's worth crap--write. Every. Day.

The Muse is waiting for you, all you need to do is show up.

Write on!
Amber Lea Easton
Prolific Author and Professional Editor/Creativity Coach

Amber Lea Easton is a multi-published author of nonfiction, thrillers, and romantic suspense. A professional editor and freelance journalist for nearly two decades, she created Mountain Moxie Creative Services to assist authors in mastering the writing craft. As a creativity coach, her mission is to work with authors from the idea phase all the way to completion, working one-on-one to make dreams come true. Her memoir, Free Fall, is dedicated to spreading suicide awareness, has topped international best selling charts, and has been named by Dr. Prem as fourth on the "Ten Most Inspiring True Stories Everyone Must Read" list. Easton is also a speaker regarding parenting through trauma and suicide awareness. To discover more about Mountain Moxie Publishing Services, please go to

Email Amber for editing or creativity coaching at

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