Sometimes when we sit down to write, the muse is in full effect and the words pour forth effortlessly. Other times we sit there staring at a blank screen, waiting for creativity to manifest. We wait and we wait.
Then we wait some more.
Writer’s block is the state of being uninspired. It’s just a state of mind, so it can be changed at will, which is a good thing, because when it comes to creative writing, state of mind is pretty important.
Years ago, when I used to draw and paint, I often listened to a particular mix of music. It was ideal background audio for making art, very inspiring. As a result, every time I hear that music, I get an urge to pull out my watercolor pencils and sketchbook because I have built a psychological association between a certain kind of music and a creative activity.
Can you see where I’m going with this? Just imagine how this concept can be applied to creative writing.
Creative Writing with a Talisman
“Talisman: anything whose presence exercises a remarkable or powerful influence on human feelings or actions.” (Dictionary.com)
In a sense, a talisman can be used to program your muse to come out and get to work — on cue. Imagine having the ability to command your own creativity, to sit down and engage in your writerly work and automatically trigger inspiration.
Here’s how it works:
- Choose your creative writing talisman: It could be a hat or a piece of jewelry. It might be something that sits on your desk, like a picture or a statuette. It can even be a CD or playlist (classical and jazz are great for writing). Choose a talisman that you won’t use in any other capacity except for your creative writing sessions, and make sure it’s not something that will distract you from the task at hand. Also, pick something you can store easily, but which is also accessible. Things that fit in your desk drawer or pocket are ideal. Also, try to find something that already makes you feel inspired.
- Charge your talisman: Don’t start using your talisman until your muse is in high gear. You should have it ready for when creativity strikes and when it does, pull out your talisman and focus on it for a few minutes as ideas bounce around in your head. Leave it out as you work on your creative writing during those times when you’re feeling extremely inspired.
- Believe in your talisman: If you believe in magic, you might say that you’re infusing the talisman with your creative writing energy. A more scientific explanation would be that you’re training your mind to associate the object with creativity, so whenever you engage the talisman, that creative energy is triggered again. You’re programming yourself.
- Use your talisman: Once your talisman starts putting out an inspirational vibe, use it whenever you’re stuck with your creative writing. You’ll know it’s ready because you’ll get the urge to write every time you look at your talisman.
- Keep your talisman charged: Even if months down the road, you’re feeling giddy with creativity and you don’t feel like you need it, take out the talisman. This will help keep it charged and maintain the psychological association between the talisman and your creative writing.
Do you have a creative writing talisman or some other ritual that you perform before, during, or after your writing sessions? Do you have any tips for how to get inspired? Tell us about it in the comments, and keep writing!