Thursday, January 29, 2009

Motivate the Muse

This past Monday night, I hosted a free workshop called Jumpstart the Muse. It was a lot of fun, and I think the attendees got something out of it. I figured what the heck, might as well tell you all what happened.

First, I had them give me a list of why they were there to take the workshop, and most all of them had some reasons that we all face. They were: absent inspiration, boredom, creative dementia, and detail under-load. In other words, they didn’t have the inspiration to make the perspiration.

I really think this is a common problem with us writers today. We work at so many things, and we desperately want to write, but when we sit down to get to it, we either get another interruption, or we just stare at the white screen and get depressed.

My workshop was designed to give writers the GOOD NEWS that they are not helpless in this situation. We are the motivation BEHIND the inspiration! We, literally speaking, are the MUSE.

So, some of you will not believe me, right? You’ll say, oh no, without my creative side working, I cannot write a word. Well, try this exercise and see if you still think so.

1. Get yourself some index cards, of differing colors.
2. On each color, write a word at the top, whatever you so desire, I did this and I wrote “Sounds” “Smells” “Touches” “Sights” “Tastes”—now that means I had five colors, and each color would represent each of these items. Now you try it, but you do not have to do what I did. Try for other stuff, like, “Romance” “Mystery” “Suspense” “Anger” “Sadness” or any other you would like. You can cut out pictures of things and glue them on there and write about that picture if you would like. I posted a good one to start with on this post.
3. Now, that you have your collection of cards by color, start with one. Let’s assume you wrote “Anger” – now go out and think of a situation that made you so angry you could kill someone. Write that story on that card under ANGER. Did you feel the anger resurface? Reread what you wrote and be sure and make me, the reader, feel that anger just like you felt it. Did your face turn red? Did you cry? Make me mad!
4. Okay, now, do something like that for each of those cards. If you wrote “Mystery” at the top, you might just simply say “The day my car died was a mystery to everyone”. It doesn’t have to be elaborate, it just has to tweak your thoughts for writing something,
5. Once you have your cards, and your “muse tweaker” titles, go for it! Keep a card file for all your little thoughts and big thoughts. You never know when this will turn out to be something to use in a book, or as an article piece.

Here's the thing... when you look at the snippets you have written, they make great first lines, don't they??

Oh yeah, and when you finish this exercise, try telling me you didn’t have anything to write!


s.w. vaughn said...

Well, this sounds like fun! Even if it's just the idea of working in a different medium - index cards and scribbling, instead of staring at this stupid computer screen. :-)

What a great little trick. I'll have to try this!

Joylene Nowell Butler said...

It worked! Only problem is my one-hand typing can't keep up with my inspirations. How'd you get so smart!

Kim Smith said...

Oh you girls! Y'all are the best :) I cannot wait to see what comes from you now!

Suko said...

Yet another creative use for index cards! Thanks for the inspiration!