The other night, I engaged in a back-and-forth on Twitter with a longtime Twitter/writer buddy. During the course of the conversation, we touched on putting off essentials (like showers) when The Muse was with us.
I can’t speak for all writers, but when my muse is present and firing ideas, I don’t want to stop typing for a second. For some reason, I’ve convinced myself over the years that if I stop writing during a streak of inspiration, I’ll lose it. Even in the twenty minutes it takes to shower.
Even getting up for a drink of water or to do other bathroom duties feels risky during those moments of inspiration.
So, if you want to use your imagination, I’m often dry-mouthed, stinky, and destroying my bladder sometimes when I write.
That’s not healthy.
Self-care is so important for all people. Not the recent interest in faux self-care (i.e. going out for brunch when there are dishes piled in your sink and your floors are covered in a layer of pet hair), but real self-care. Us writers can be the absolute worst at making sure our essential needs are being met.
It’s not healthy to skip showers or standard hygienic duties, or not drink enough water (especially when you’re thirsty), skip meals, lose sleep, or hold your bladder.
Of course, I’m only talking about writers without mental or physical disabilities. Sometimes things we have no control over keep us from completing certain tasks.
We all need to make sure we’re getting enough fluids, eating properly, getting adequate exercise and sleep, getting a little sunshine and fresh air, and using the bathroom and bathing as needed. It’s essential to a healthy lifestyle and health in general. A balanced life is generally a healthy, happy life. Also, if you can find someone to love who loves you back, life is even sweeter.
So, what does a writer do to keep their creative juices flowing when one of their needs has to be tended to but the muse is screaming at them?
A trick I’ve tried recently is to play a game with myself. When I’m in the middle of furiously writing a scene, but I know I need to use the restroom, get something to eat or drink, take a shower–whatever–I take my characters with me.
When I get a drink of water, I think about what my character would enjoy drinking. Would they choose the same thing I am getting? Why? Why not? Would they get a big cup of water? Small cup?
What snack would my character choose when they went into the kitchen? Plate or bowl? Straight from the bag/box?
What scent is their shampoo? Do they wash their body or hair first? What type of soap would they use? Loofah, sponge, washcloth? Do they have a brush to get their back or do they have a partner who would scrub their back for them? Do they do the “crotch floss” with the towel?
By thinking about all of these things while I’m performing every day tasks, I’m able to keep the creativity flowing in my mind. I don’t lose the passion and excitement I had while I am attending other matters.
WWMMCD? What Would My Main Character Do?
It’s a simple thing really, just filling my head with questions about my characters and figuring out the answers, but it works nine times out of ten. Sometimes, no matter what I do, I lose The Muse. However, using this trick, I find that I win more often than I lose.
Tremendous Love & Thanks,