Sunday, April 10, 2011 | By: Karen Bishop

Frustration: How Not to Strangle Your Muse or Other People

Letter F, ba1969,
Oh how our muse's love to play with us. They have the ability to make the words flow smoothly, or throw us into the world of chaos for days on end. Sometimes those days make us walk around groaning and ripping our hair out over the lack of work being done, while others happily take a play day knowing tomorrow will be better.

No matter your reaction, I've had both, you can overcome the urgent need to strangle your muse or other people who may wander into your path as you have a righteous, writerly meltdown.

#1: Take a deep breath and just breathe. That's right,, repeat until your blood pressure falls below immediate heart attack status due to frustration. Stop that! No counting while breathing allowed. For some reason counting can have the opposite effect and make you more ticked off rather than less. It does for me, try it sometime and see if you calm down faster.

#2: Don't make eye contact with anyone. This is imperative if you don't want to find your hands wrapped around the throat of your muse or other non-writerly types dwelling in your household. The muse sometimes likes to hang around to see our reactions as he, or she, takes back the magical writing dust they sprinkle around.

#3: Take your own mini vacation. It doesn't have to be anything big, like taking an impromptu trip to Hawaii or the farthest reaches of Timbuktu where you'll find yourself on a snowy mountain top. Think smaller, but relaxing. Put on some music and dance around the room like a crazy person. Take a bubble bath, slather yourself in lotion and body spray for a "spa" day. Go beat up some stuffed animals.

For the more manly among us, bubble baths and stuffed animals and dancing might not be your thing, so go do some manly activities. Retreat to your workshop and build an ark, happily sawing wood and banging nails galore. Ok, so maybe nothing so grand, how about a toy boat then? Tackle the highest tree and build that treehouse you always wanted.

We can also do non-genderly things too. Exercise is good for burning calories and frustration at the same time. Hiking, biking, walking, eating..healthy eating, not junk food. Tell yourself it's 5 o'clock somewhere in the world and grab a bottle! Don't drink till tipsy or drunk though, because your writing will suffer if your muse decides to give back the wordage you need.

Keep focused, keep calm, go forth and write your fingers off!


Theresa Wiza said...

I've had to learn how to deal with incessant interruptions. I watch my grandchildren all day, every day, Monday through Friday, and even some Saturdays and Sundays. I honestly never get a break, so I have to devise clever ways to write around them. My muse, on the other hand, though she interrupts at times when I really don't want to jump out of the shower to accommodate her, is relentless in her pursuit of me. I generally follow her and just keep assuring myself that what she says could result in a really good blog, article, or screenplay.

Langley said...

Hahaha. I learned something here. I didn't know about the "Don't make eye contact with anyone" rule but it's a very good one!

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