Shaking things up: writing prompt #2


In my post “ …writing prompt #1” I introduced my first writing prompt challenge as a way to stretch my creative muscles. For those who journal or begin your days with quiet times of reflection, meditation or prayer, this “challenge” might lend insight into a problem gnawing on your psyche. Or it may simply prove an enjoyable way to tap into your right brain. For me, it’s that time when I need an extra dose of inspired muse as I embark on another new writing venture. (More about that in an upcoming post.) Here are a few tips to help get you started: 1) remove distractions; 2) decide on and/or adhere to a word count, 3) set a timer for 10-15 minutes; 4) write without judgment and 5) have fun. I encourage readers to play along and share responses in the comments section; I will too.

In 25 words or less, break up your life—up to this point—into 3-6 chapters, and give each chapter a title.

What is muse and where do you find it?

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As the weather cools in the Southwest, the mountains beckon me with their rugged magnetism, the twists and turns in their craggy landscape. Yet sometimes it’s different, not the terrain—although, each time I’m there, it feels like new territory to explore—but the escape. Instead of finding respite, the noise in my mind might be matched by the noise on the trails. Hyper aware of my surroundings, this prohibits me from receiving solace, from settling into my muse—or source of inspiration—and picking up where I left off the last time I set foot in the desert. My time there is never wasted, however.
Oftentimes, it’s there I feel closest to my creator as I marvel at the splendor of my surroundings. And then I realize that it’s life, in all its glorious imperfections and unpredictability, that serves as my real muse. The mountains simply function as a catalyst to fan the dormant embers of passion into a burning flame.

What and/or where is your muse?

A soul-weary, dried-up muse


Soul-weary_dried up muse


[Image credit: digitalart]

My muse is dried up and I feel soul weary. I want to write, I need to write … I have to write. But I don’t know what to write. So what is the remedy? Do I force myself to stare at a blank computer screen/piece of paper until inspiration strikes? Do I chalk off my dreams as silly whims? Do I give myself a break and identify that what I’m going through is a season and all seasons eventually change? Each of us processes setbacks differently. Reading, for me, is a perfect escape from reality. I think I’m going to read until I can’t read anymore—or until my muse is unstopped and I can fill up that one void only writing can satisfy. And just like anything else I’m going through—whether an emotional, mental or physical challenge—I need to remember to be gentle with myself. It could be that my soul is simply preparing for a much-needed breakthrough.

How do you recover from setbacks?

The brightest heaven of invention

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[Image credit: Pixomar]

O! for a muse of fire, that would ascend the brightest heaven of invention.
~ William Shakespeare

When I was younger, a crushed boy-girl relationship yielded my most inspired and impassioned writing.  Now that I’m older and have outgrown the childhood drama, I still require some sort of muse to fuel the creative juices.  Oftentimes I find it while curled up on my chaise lounge, staring at the leaves on the trees filtering late afternoon sunlight and dappling the pavers.  But other times, it runs dry like parched grass or riverbeds in the Southwest summer heat, and I need something more.  Perhaps that change of scenery I’ve mentioned.  If I had my way, I’d travel across country and settle in a beachfront cabin, the Gulf in front of me and laptop at my fingertips.  For now, however, I must continue searching for that muse of fire where I currently reside.  And if I’m lucky, it’ll always burn from within.

Who or what gets your muse motor revved up?

Where did you come up with that?

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[Image credit: jscreationzs ]

My ideas usually come not at my desk writing but in the midst of living. ~ Anais Nin

As a writer, the question of where I (we) get my (our) ideas is frequently raised.  At the end of 2011, when I decided I wanted to go from a weekly to a daily blog in 2012, I didn’t think ahead to the fact that I’d actually have to come up with something new to write about every day.  While some days are definitely more of a challenge than others, more often than not, something happens or I hear something that strikes a chord, makes me think or feel a certain way, and voila, a blog is born.  I also find myself jotting down notes for the idea coffer when the muse strikes, so when it’s lacking (which will and does occur frequently), I either use one of those future topics or whip up a grammar lesson.  Considering there are 24 hours in a day, it’s really not too hard to stumble across at least one thing to ramble about.  So the next time you’re wondering where an idea came from, look around you.  It may have been right under your nose the whole time.

Is there a story hiding somewhere under your nose that begs to be told?