Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Cynthia Eden - Controlling the Muse

Hello, everyone! It’s a pleasure to be chatting with you today (a big thanks to Lee for inviting me over!). Today, I want to talk about one of the most important aspects of the writing life—managing the “muse”.  By muse…well, I’m talking about that powerful burst of inspiration that is supposed to strike while you write. The source of your ideas. The driving power behind those written words. 

Inspiration…creativity…the muse.

I’m going to be very blunt now…in order to be a successful writer, I cannot wait for inspiration to strike. I can’t just go about my daily life, hoping the muse will be friendly and perky and give me good ideas.

I have to make my muse work. Every single day, I have to sit in front of my computer and type.  I have deadlines to meet. Stories waiting. I can’t indulge a muse who wants to be temperamental. I have to control my inspiration. I have to control my own stories.

So how do I handle a fickle muse? How do I beat writer’s block so that I can get down to the fun business of writing? Well, here are a few tips that have helped me over the years:

1.       Switching POV. If I’m writing a scene, and that scene just is NOT working, then something is wrong (obviously!). But often, the “wrong” part is that I’m trying to show the story from the wrong character’s POV. By switching to a different character, I’m able to open up a whole new writing aspect—and I can get my muse moving.

2.       Store up ideas! Okay, I often think of this as my “Saving for a Rainy Day” plan.  Sometimes, story ideas come to me—one right after the other. But I can’t always stop what I’m doing and launch into a new story. So I write down bare-bones outlines of those story plans. I save them in a Word file, and, when I am stumped for a new story…I just open up that file and get to work. Instant ideas. 

3.       Different scenes, different times.  I’ve found that my muse can be particularly stubborn when I first begin a new book. It’s as if she is uncertain…(okay, I’m uncertain!). To deal with this situation, I often write a few alternative scenes—different openings as I test the waters. When I get an opening scene that flows—I mean those words are coming like crazy!—then I stick with that story.  I write until I have a smoking keyboard. ;)

I’m sure we all have ways of dealing with a stubborn muse, and if you want to share your tips, I’d love to hear them!  I’ll giveaway one autographed copy of BURN FOR ME to a random commenter.    For the non-writers who might be checking out this post…you can enter the giveaway, too!!  Just leave a comment or a question, and you’ll be entered in the giveaway. 

In the end, I think it comes down to this…if you want to write, then you HAVE to sit down, start typing, and you must take control of your muse.  Good luck with your stories!

Cynthia Eden

BURN FOR ME – Available now from Kensington Publishing 


Alina P said...

Hmmm maybe you can try writing another book or listen to music for inspiration.

My question: do you like writing series or stand alones more?

Lil said...

I would get so stumped just writing essays in days long past, while I was in college. Truth be told, the best way for me to get past a tough spot was to just write anything that came to mind and somehow I would begin to make sense of my topic and something wonderfully cohesive would come out. Editing was needed, though.

Barbara E. said...

I really enjoyed the post, even though I'm not a writer, it's a wonderful glimpse into the writer's process.

Mary Preston said...

All very interesting thank you. Great strategies.

Eli Yanti said...

I'm not a writer too. My question is what your other passion beside writing? Why you write pnr?

erin said...

I'm very impressed by the dedication and determine you display with managing "the muse" :) I'm not a writer but I'm a dedicated reader! It's very interesting to read about the "behind the scenes" to bring us such awesome books :) Thanks for sharing!

AprilR said... your books!! Hearing your thoughts is awesome. You guys give more than some of us see or understand. Thanks for sharing. Please enter me. :)
tarenn98 at yahoo dot com

Laurie G said...


I imagine it's very frustrating when you reach a road block. Do you have a writing partner to review your work as you go along?

Do you reward yourself when you reach your writing goal for the day? halfway point etc?

Have you ever had to step away from a book and write something else because it just wasn't coming together the way you envisioned it?

johnslake at usa dot com