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We talked a bit last week about ways to unblock ourselves. There are many reasons that a writer can feel blocked and a billion ways to attempt to recover from that block.
Today, we’ll talk about one of the main reasons I find that a writer is struggling to tap into their muse.
They are lying.
That’s right. Writers have a magical way of avoiding speaking the truth that calls to us. It is my opinion that when there is a story inside of us, and we run from it, our muse will sit in a corner and pout until we are ready to face facts.
We need to look deep into the recesses of our soul and figure out what we have to say that is unique to us and our experiences. And then write that.
When you write the truth, the thing that only you can write, the words will generally pour out like spilled milk. Your cup will run over.
“Wait! I write fiction. Lying, in a way, is part of the job description!” I see you there tapping your feet, irritated that I would call you names.
And yes, I agree with you. One of the greatest things about writing fiction is that we get to explore untold galaxies of make- believe. I get lost in that and I’m sure you do too. It’s a powerful force. And you should definitely keep getting lost in your imagination. But that’s not what I’m talking about.
We’ve all got something to say, some underlying theme we want to address in our work. Maybe we want to talk about the heartache of a lost love or a struggle with mental illness. Perhaps you are feeling pressed (by your inner guide) to write about social inequality. The point is that we have something to say and while we are writing fiction, we can still address those broader themes. I would argue that we should be addressing those broader themes. Using our art for a higher purpose.
And nobody determines that higher purpose but you. It could be that you are passionate about healthy eating, but you write contemporary love stories. Well, you know, there’s no reason that you can’t put your heroine in a position of dealing with food issues in her story. Or maybe you feel a desire to deal with gender equality but you write paranormal fiction. That’s okay. Make your vampire protagonist address those bigger themes head-on in her story.
The point is that we can (and should) write what is important to us. When we avoid writing what is in our soul, when we avoid bleeding on the typewriter…we silence a part of ourselves.
And we absolutely can do it at the same time we are writing genre fiction.
If you are feeling blocked, take a moment and ask yourself if you are writing what you want to write–what you feel compelled to write. If the muse calls to us, and we don’t answer…well, that’s just rude, don’t you think?
So open your mind and do a little brainstorming. Look deep into the heart of yourself and scratch out some notes about what is important to you. Education? Religion? The color purple?
Make that list and when something tugs at you, listen. Take that subject by the hand and allow it to lead you into honest writing. I promise that you won’t regret it.
In the meantime, while you are gathering the courage to be honest in your current work, don’t neglect your other books. Sign up for our FREE 5-day email course on how to double and triple your book reviews. More book reviews are always a good thing!
Auburn Seal enjoys zipping through life in the lovely Pacific Northwest where she finds herself surrounded by a great family—one super-cool husband and three awesome children—and gorgeous scenery. She is a fair-weather blogger (it’s possible she has commitment issues), and has a unique ability to weave the dead into her stories. Auburn graduated from Arizona State University with a Bachelor of Science in Student Loans. Oops, Justice Studies. Note the irony. Still, Go Sun Devils!