Tuesday, 17 April 2012

How to let go, and what you’ll find when you do. . .

Toby struggled to fill a page, without
hitting himself in the eye.

As any writer will tell you, there are good days and bad days; days when the writing flows and days when there are nothing but empty pages. I have been deliberating on this for a while. Picasso has been quoted as saying, “Inspiration exists, but it has to find us working.” While I would generally agree with this sentiment, there are times when you have to STOP working and let inspiration find you.

I’m a great believer in letting go, and for me, the process of letting go is all about getting in touch with my muse.

There’s no shortage of advice about the best places to find your muse, and by all means do go on a muse hunt; read books, watch films, go for walks, listen to music, commune with nature, take a break, have a shower, eat strange foods, take drugs, strap yourself to a mast, lie in a coffin, inhale the stench of rotten apples… you can do all of that, but the chances are, as long as you are consciously looking for the holy grail of inspiration, your muse might well remain in hiding.

That’s because your muse is not without you; your muse is within. And accessing your muse is more about allowing it, than forcing it.

For me, letting go is about immersing myself in the present; being conscious of this moment in time only. I forget the problem and throw myself completely into something else. It might be baking a cake, walking my dogs or listening to music; it doesn’t matter. The one thing these actions/events have in common is that they absorb me. They give me a chance to let go of the words, sentences and storylines struggling for fluidity or meaning and allow my unconscious mind to make connections and sort them out without me even trying.

Martin enjoyed a
break with routine
If I am thinking, it’s thinking outside the box. I am not tackling anything head on. I am letting my creative mind lead me off in a different direction, rather than insisting it walks the path I have laid out.

Sometimes, the stress of life makes it difficult to live in the moment; pressures are such that we have no time to turn our minds off, our computers, or the people desperate for our attention so you need to find a way of letting go, consciously. Experiencing something new and different is a great way to occupy your mind and give you better muse receptors. The novelty of new sensations will keep you in the present and allow you to be more inspired. I’ve had some of my most inspired moments when I break with routine.

Failing that, try this simple exercise.

1. Wherever you are, whatever you’re doing (although not whilst operating machinery or driving) stop for a few seconds, or minutes if you can manage. 
2. Take three deep breaths, making sure to relax your body with every out breath.
3. Notice that air is moving in and out of your body. Pay attention to your breath. Notice the space between your body and the ground. Notice your pulse, your breathing. Notice how you feel. Notice the world around you, as it is now.

That’s it. That’s all there is. You’re now present. Get in the habit of being here, and you’ll see fewer empty pages and find your Muse waiting to hold your hand. 

Me and my muse on a day out in Morecambe


  1. You're SO right!
    Our brains are so complex, sometimes they just need a breathing space!

  2. Great post, Wendy. I was just reading about inducing heart coherence this morning, and the process seems very similar to the one your describe above.

    I just love that photo of your and your mum. Priceless.

    1. I don't know what heart coherence is - will look it up. Thanks.

  3. That's a good tip. Taking a step back is useful. I find, like you, immersing myself in something else usually helps. After a good break I'm ready to sit at my computer and do lots of writing! : )

    Morgan x


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