I’ve been writing articles for my weekly newsletter for a long time, almost 250 articles.
After I’ve searched in the usual places for her like my dreams and journals, I call in Sherlock Holmes because only that wily, observant detective is able to find the clues that lead to my missing Muse.
After checking for notes or chocolate in my studio or near my laptop, Holmes goes searching using these tricks of the detective trade:
- Look. Then really see. Did you know that the Greek poet, Homer, never used the word for blue in any of his work and, in fact, may not have perceived that color? Apparently, our brains are pattern-recognizing machines that function to identify what is useful to us while discarding the rest. But even though this function is necessary to prevent sensory overload minimally and insanity at the extreme, you can probably recognize how this might keep you from finding where inspiration and your Muse might hide. So, if you’ve lost your Muse, one way to find her is to slow down and ask yourself the question, “What am I not seeing?” Then look, really look…patiently.
- Try a disguise. Often, when Holmes was hot on the trail of a villain, he would disguise himself so as to not give himself away to the person he was chasing, or to fit into a place where he could pick up additional information. When you are searching for your Muse, try a disguise. Instead of being the writer, disguise yourself as a person out for a walk or visiting a book store. I often disguise myself as a gardener or someone relaxing on our patio. That disguise may be just the thing for sneaking up on your Muse.
- Get help. Yeah, yeah. It’s your work. No one has quite your perspective on what you are trying to create. But that’s the whole idea. Holmes seldom set out on a case without his trusty sidekick, Dr. Watson. Why? Because Watson gave him a different perspective, helped him understand things in a different, slightly less logical, way. Your Watson may be a critique partner, a mentor, a friend, or even your significant other. Whoever it is, don’t hesitate to ask for help when your Muse goes missing.
- Follow the clues. While this may seem obvious, what needs to be pointed out is that the first clue leads to the second clue which leads to the third clue and so on. That is, if Holmes could have gone straight to that third clue, he would have, but he couldn’t. He had to start where he was with what he knew. Each time I sit down to write an article, I have to start where I am with what I know. Sometimes that is a whole article, but often it is one word or image or feeling. And I follow it from there. Often I find my Muse far from where I expected her to be.
Whenever and wherever She may be hiding, follow Sherlock Holmes’ approach for solving the Case of the Missing Muse, and you and she will be back to working together in no time.