A chief complaint among loved ones is that we take them for granted. We walk in the door, world-weary, throw our woes at their feet and wonder why the blank stare. Is it too much to ask for unconditional love in exchange for an earful of problems? Our muse reacts much the same. Constantly pressing her to produce magic out of thin air against tight deadline and suddenly she stops speaking to you and you’re faced with a blank page or an empty canvas.
While deadlines are important, just like other necessities of daily life like laundry and paying bills they can put a strain on relationships. A few years ago at a writer’s conference held at the Silver Spur Guest Ranch, some of my colleagues agonized over how to spend their free time. Should they devote the time to their latest WIP or go horseback riding? “Sometimes you have to prime the pump,” my cabin mate remarked as she slid on her cowboy hat and headed out into the Texas sunshine. While there were a few anxious souls intent on their laptops in the dining hall, I’m happy to report most of the writers hit the trail.
This Valentine’s Day, make a date with your muse to do something, not tied to a specific project or deadline. Doing stuff kids like to do is usually a good start, coloring, blowing soap bubbles or losing yourself in a book you loved as a child. Better yet, you can include your loved-ones.