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Three ways to feed your muse: writing away procrastination, Part 3

Throughout history, artists have called their sources of inspiration many things: ego, God, muse, daemon, genius, angel, their higher-self, or as Edwin Land, American scientist and inventor once said, creativity is simply, “a brief cessation in stupidity.”

Most days I feel about as creative as a slug on a morphine drip.

I have to fight for my creativity. I have to force myself to stay in my chair and to stay writing. Some writers call it “bum glue”—writing something without getting up twenty times to stare longingly at the chocolate pudding inside the fridge.

Why is it so hard to stay focused? Usually there’s a reason.

Yes, I run my own business and I have a zillion busy things to do each day. And, trust me, I’ve used that excuse a zillion and a half times to avoid my writing. But why do I find so many excuses to avoid what I love to do most in the world? Mostly, I think, it comes down to fear.

What am I afraid of? That my writing will be crap? Yes, that happens. But I know from experience that the more I write, the better I get. And yet, still, I find myself cleaning the toilet or the fish tank or brushing one of my longhaired cats. Am I afraid of failure? Nope. Been there, done that. Success? Ah, getting closer.

Breaking through my stuff and going outside my comfort zone? Bingo. (Buzzer going off in head).

Sometimes, it’s just that simple—I’m comfortable in my little procrastination bubble; it feels safe and cozy in there. I don’t have to change. But maybe I don’t have to burst my bubble all at once—maybe I can hire a feng shui consultant (cheaper than a psychoanalyst) and do a little interior redecorating…one room, one page, or one wild word at a time.

Sometimes, when I get ants in my pants it’s best to get up and do something else for a bit. Maybe I’m stuck on a scene and need time to let it simmer, to let something work its way out.

But if my avoidance becomes a long-term endeavor, then I better find out what’s really going on and quick. The best way I’ve found to do this is to write about it. I set my timer for five minutes and write about why I’m avoiding my writing. By doing this, I will usually find out what’s wrong, then I can devise a plan to fix the problem. I’ve had this happen to me several times over the last few years and each time I do a timed write around it, I always find the problem. Only then can I work on the solution.

Exercise:  The next time you can’t sit still and write—do the exercise I did above:  set your timer and write about why you can’t write, why you can’t sit still. Dig deep. Be honest with yourself. The truth may just set your words free.

To read more about finding inspiration, read Part I and Part II of this post.

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