You know that feeling of flow when the burden of time lifts from your shoulders and something comes not from you, but through you? This flying-flow-feeling is as close as I’ve ever gotten to understanding why I’m here and who I am. I will do whatever it takes to get back into that flow and into the good graces of my muse.
Too often lately, I’ve been having a hard time sitting down to write. While I was plotting this article, my daughter rushed into the room to tell me the toilet wasn’t flushing again. Talk about putting a damper on the muse. My muse shouldn’t have to hang around while I unclog a toilet.
Chasing My Muse While Chasing My Kids
I don’t have hours to spend polishing and perfecting a stanza. I’ve got five minutes here, ten minutes there, and that’s all right. That’s my reality right now and being a mom was also a dream I have had for a long time. I write when I can, in snatches of time that are precious for their rarity. In between, I love being a mom to these two young kids who make me laugh at least a eighteen times a day. They make my life more complex, my poetry richer.
It is also true the two most important factors one needs to catch that elusive muse and staple her wings to the chair are solitude and time. And a stapler, of course.
I have found consistency to be the answer to chasing my muse while I’m chasing my kids. A routine where I write every day or every week at a specific time. I find that true for everything from meditating to sleeping well to writing to healthy habits like yoga and cardio exercise. I’ve recently read Tiny Habits by BJ Fogg and I do recommend this book for anyone looking to be encouraged about the power of tiny changes to our routines.
Priming My Writing Wings
When I have time to write, I need to do everything I can beforehand to make sure my “writing wings” are primed to fly. Sometimes that means meditating first or lighting a candle. It always means turning off my phone.
I need to have good organizational skills to keep track of all our schedules from school to playdates to activities. These needed life skills have to be set outside my “door” to my writing space along with any anxiety about what I’m writing and why.
I look at these skills and life hacks as a bookbag. I need this handy bookbag full of tools to function well. But if I want to be productive as a creative I need to take that off and set it down while I write.
My Muse Does Not Do Schedules
My muse is irritated by schedules and responsibilities and have-to’s. She wants to write about the scales on that flying dragon and how they sparkle in the morning sun. She wants to write stanzas and stanzas about the ocean and the nighttime sky and how if I hold my breath I might float into eternity. I need to connect quickly to this wild part of myself and keep that connection until I can create something I can be proud of.
Good luck—and let me know if you have any tiny habits that drop you quickly into the flow and catch that muse—I’d love to hear yours!
Lastly, if it makes you feel better—even Shakespeare had to chase the muse:
Where are thou, Muse, that thou forget’st so long
To speak of that which gives thee all thy might?
Spend’st thou thy fury on some worthless song,
Darkening thy power to lend base subjects light?
*No muses were hurt in this article either by stapling their wings or otherwise*
Angela Yeh hails from Atlantic Canada but lives and writes in Texas – after her liberal arts degree she wandered into Corporate America but managed to escape. She is a staunch advocate for writers and literacy/learning with her online writing community at DIYMFA.com. She lives with her husband, two lovely human children, and two cranky fur babies. You can check her out on Twitter and Instagram or on her website.