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Finding Your Muse As A Writer, by Jenn J McLeod

No matter what your dream – aspiring writer, budding musician or perhaps you have your sights set on winning an Oscar – you’ll need persistence and you’ll need to motivate yourself. Maybe your endeavour is not a creative one but a practical one: that dream job, that much-needed scholarship or that wish that your son would please move out before his 30th birthday!

QUESTION: How do you find the inspiration to keep going when everything starts looking too hard?

ANSWER: Find a muse (inspiration that motivates a writer, artist or thinker).

Some people don’t have to try. They naturally ooze muse, never experience flat spots and can be really annoying when they start jumping around singing: “I’ve got the muse-ic in me!”

For those muse-oozing authors it’s a state of mind thing. If you’re like me, there’s no room for a muse within. Our heads are full-to-overflowing with self-doubt and procrastination. Rather than a state-of-mind I am busy losing my mind most of the time. So I needed a material muse as an intervention to inspire me when I need motivating.

I can’t tell you where or how to find a muse. I can only suggest you try what worked for me.

If you know my House for all Seasons you’ll know both nature and the seasons inspired the plot and characters. Both are wonderful analogies for growth and change. So, it’s no surprise that my muse is a tree. My never-give-up tree.

Jenn J McLeod's Never-Give-Up Tree

I suggest it’s been around a while in both its existences. The bottom half is a sawn-off trunk of a very old tree, obviously chopped down in its prime. If you look closely, you’ll see another tree is growing out the top. It’s hard to tell if it’s the same tree re-sprouting or a new tree that has taken hold, rooted itself around the truck and grown. To be honest, I don’t care. It’s what the tree represents that is important to me. My stories are about family relationships and friendships with roots that run deep.

On a more sombre note, if faced with getting into the mood to write an emotional scene, I might get out a perfume that anchors me to memories of my mum. It does it every time.

You could choose a photo or a quote written on a piece of paper but they are pretty obvious choices, and easy to ignore, screw up and hurl with frustration at a wall. Maybe a visit to your local bookshop to smell and touch and imagine is all you need. Maybe you’ll find your muse in the lapping of water over your toes at the beach, the sound of thunderous hooves in a paddock, a good DVD or a soundtrack. It’s up to you.

A final word: you are unlikely to find your muse on Facebook or Twitter. In fact, to give your muse your full attention, I recommend getting away from your computer. Neither Microsoft nor Macs are muse material.


Jenn J McLeod’s author website:

Jenn J McLeod’s bio page


House for all Seasons by Jenn J McLeod     Stillwater CreekAll This Could EndBurning LiesSavage TideThe Fragment of Dreams

Writing Novels in Australia

4 Comments Post a comment
  1. I don’t know what/who my muse is, but time away from the computer that’s linked to all the good stuff, and time on my laptop that isn’t linked to anything but Microsoft Word – sure helps.

    October 8, 2013
  2. Jenn J McLeod | House for all Seasons #

    Lily, a merlot makes an exceptional muse also. 😉

    October 8, 2013
  3. kerriepaterson #

    Hmm, I’ll have to think about finding my muse. It disappears a lot so having something material would help 🙂 Great post Jenn – but very disappointing to learn it’s not on FB!

    October 8, 2013

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