As a writer I have many techniques that I apply to and for my writing. When I am over-inspired, one thing I try to do to slow the onslaught of ideas, words, dialogues and scenes is to sit in a dark room with my headphones on and listen only to instrumental music. It could be Bach or Tchaikovsky, harp or flute music, or even the soundtrack to Lord of the Rings.
Now for some that may increase your creativity further, and to some extent it can, but its purpose for me pulls my thoughts into focus. There are some scenarios that are simply not conducive to instrumental music, and others that are highly reflected. By listening to this music, I tend to focus on only those few scenarios, or even just one, and it pulls one idea into a scene, into a dialogue into a story.
You could use any music for this method, but you have to be aware of how different types of music affect your writing. For me, 70-80’s music is what fuels my writing- because it is what I grew up writing to, so that type of music would not help me focus at all. For you it could be country, hard rock, or violin music. Everyone is different.
Another way I have to focus, and this one works in the opposite way too, in instances of Writer’s Block (or as I call it Writer’s Bane) is to create a Muse. A Muse can be anyone and anything, from an animal, to a real person, to a pretend person or mythical creature, as long as you give it sustenance. One of my Muses is called Nigel, because I love the name and he is loosely based on the character played by Christian Anholt in Relic Hunter. There is no harm in creating a Muse that favors your favorite movie star or singer, as long as you remember that the Muse is only the voice of your imagination, and not a real thing. (Stalking is in no-way condoned or accepted by the Association of Muses and they will stop assisting you if you start harassing their real life counterpart.)
When I am having a rough time with ideas or am too full with ideas, I sit down and ‘talk’ to Nigel in a written or verbal dialogue that helps me center or helps me imagine through the dry spell. I answer myself in the dialogue, or imagine what he would answer. Now, this may seem a little strange, but it really works very well; for me anyway.
As a muse, Nigel is a very real to me (in my imagination) and my version of him cannot be portrayed in any story I write. Once I do that, he is no longer a muse but a character, and thus becomes useless. I believe all the great writers, artists and poets had some sort of Muse, either created completely from their imagination, or based on someone or something they knew and they built on that basis. This is why I use them. This is why Gene Kelly used Olivia Newton John in Xanadu. Muses have been around for centuries.
Nigel helps me, but sometimes he argues with me. Sometimes my story isn’t going in the direction I want and he laughs and sticks his tongue at me, taking the blame, and sometimes…when I am frustrated and low because I lack the confidence to continue, he says just the right thing, gives me a hug and helps me press forward.
Now, you’re probably thinking…this woman is so far in the woods she has to come out to hunt, but hey people have always thought me strange; I’m a writer- what does reality have to do with anything? But in essence, having an imaginary friend, but really- if you’re a writer, people already think your odd, so why not run with it? What do you have to be afraid of? Besides, the BEST material come from people who have no imagination- they make great defense or offense characters!
It would be interesting to hear what helps other authors through the many stages of writing, so feel free to leave a comment below and share with everyone!
And of course, thanks to Savannah Mae, for letting me post here!
About Aryea: I was born and raised in Newfoundland, Canada; the youngest of five girls. I currently reside in Ontario, but get home as often as I can. I have been writing stories since I was seven, published my first novel Mary’s Tears in 2006. I write poetry, stories, novels, and sometimes fan fiction when I have no other projects. I enjoy reading, painting and of course writing and truly believe that the power of words can change the world.