Writing Muse – Therapy

Problems that can affect writing muse

There are a lot of different opinions on the value of writing muse. It’s my view that although relying exclusively on writing muse and when it decides to pop up is a bad thing because it means your writing commitment is sporadic, equally problematic is the reverse: pressuring yourself with targets or sticking to models of writing that are what works best for other authors.

Some of the problems that can affect writing muse:

  • Feeling pressured to write all the time, for the sake of it.
  • Feeling pressured to meet word count targets, deadlines, and publishing schedules.
  • Applying other professional authors’ writing approaches because you believe they will work for you instead of relying on your own instincts and how you write well.
  • Over-planning and overthinking writing instead of getting down to it.
  • Relying on ‘good excuses’ for why you can’t get down to writing instead of doing it.
Writing therapy

There is no compelling reason to write all the time

Beyond enjoyment, if you’re not a career author who earns a living then there is less pressure on you to deliver a number of words by a specific time. It’s probably at this time you need to ask yourself why it is you’re writing: for the deadline, for the income, or for the enjoyment. Perhaps it’s all three, but if it’s only for enjoyment and time is on your side, why pressure yourself to write all the time, no matter what?

Regular breaks from writing can put things in perspective more and you can be more in tune with the feeling rather than the pressure you may be imposing on yourself.

Not every writer is on a publishing schedule

Not all writers are at the stage where they must publish a book. If they believe they should feel forced to churn out maybe 1,000–5,000 words at least three or four days a week, then it’s a big commitment to writing: a toe dip in the deep end of the pool for the writer who is struggling with muse and whose writing is negatively affected by pressure and demands on time. That example was a bit ambitious, yet I’m of the mind that many writers are ambitious in wanting to make regular substantial progress and be published authors, and this system may not be conducive to their growth as writers.

Writers who advise you to write all the time have to write all the time

A lot of writers who are career authors and are on publishing schedules and deadlines will advise you to ditch your writing muse and to stick to a schedule for the completion of your story. It works for them; they can complete stories using this method. They ‘have’ to complete stories using this method to meet deadlines, and many are sick of listening to new authors speaking about how special their writing muse is when they have a job to do.

If it works for you or you want to complete your stories to a deadline, using a schedule like this can help. Its advantage is in making regular progress on the word count, in a first draft, and not relying on any perceived excuses that prevent you from getting down to the business of writing.

The disadvantage of this method is that sometimes you find yourself automating the writing process, as you would a job, to meet a schedule or deadline, and this can detract from the enjoyment if you feel ‘compelled’ to write rather than you ‘wanting’ to write.

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