The Muse Doesn’t Nag.

By David Joel Miller, MS, Writer.

You must grab the ideas while they fly past.

I don’t understand the term writer’s block.

Man writing.

Writing.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

I’ve read many blog posts, even some passages in books on writing, where the author describes sitting at the keyboard waiting for the Muse to say something. My problem is not that the Muse refuses to talk to me. My problem is she never shuts up. Sometimes she whispers in my ear, and sometimes she shouts. My biggest challenge in learning to write has been learning to listen to her carefully.

I have pages of notes about the things the Muse says.

Every time I sit quietly for a few minutes, the Muse starts talking. You should write a blog post about loneliness, jealousy or anger. She goes on and on about the posts I should write. Sometimes the Muse starts to tell me a story about a character who went to this city and got this kind of job and then something else happened. Then she hints that this would be an excellent topic for a novel. If I let these words of wisdom sit too long, they evaporate faster than a light rain on the parking lot during a desert summer.

Most times I hear the Muse speak, not every time, but most of the time, I open a word document, type in the title of this great work, and save it to my projects-to-work-on file. The problem comes the next time I open the file. There’s the title or the idea, but I don’t remember what it was the Muse was talking about.

I studied what others have said about communicating with their Muse.

One source reported they didn’t believe in writer’s block. The rationale was that writing is a profession and professions don’t get blocked. You don’t hear about truckers complaining about trucker’s block or doctors having doctor’s block. I get that idea, but sometimes when I get behind the keyboard and take off for a trip, I end up going down the wrong highway and getting lost.

Another source said the Muse once told her a story.

This writer, I have forgotten who it was, maybe one of you can fill in the source here. Anyway, this writer told the story of the Muse presenting her with an idea, but she never got around to writing the book. Years later, at a conference, this writer ended up on a panel and, lo and behold, someone else on that panel had written that book.

I have this experience a lot. I open a partially done article but can’t remember what the Muse told me to write here. I close that piece up and work on a different one. Frequently what happens is in the next day’s email I find a post written by someone else about precisely that topic.

My muse doesn’t like to repeat herself.

What I’ve learned from this is that when the idea enters my brain, however, you conceptualize the origin of that idea, I had better act. Once the idea is upon me if I don’t get to writing that article or book in a speedy time frame, that idea begins to fade. Eventually, the idea becomes so faint that even my partially completed document won’t bring it back.

Sometimes the Muse babbles.

Occasionally I’m sitting in my chair trying to relax, perhaps trying to finish one of those half-read books, and then out of nowhere the Muse suddenly starts yakking, and she won’t stop. Occasionally I try to ignore her, but as most men my age will tell you, ignore a woman at the risk of imperiling your life.

I hastily try to scribble down as many of the things as I can from the Muses to do list, knowing I will never be able to write all her directives down and even if I did she was talking so fast I wouldn’t be sure what she meant by some of the things she said.

I suppose if you must have a problem with your Muse is better to have one who talks constantly than one who gives you the cold shoulder.

Thanks for listening to me yet one more time.

You’ll find more posts on this topic under – Writing.

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

Three David Joel Miller Books are available now!

Bumps on the Road of Life. Whether you struggle with anxiety, depression, low motivation, or addiction, you can recover. Bumps on the Road of Life is the story of how people get off track and how to get your life out of the ditch.

Casino Robbery is a novel about a man with PTSD who must cope with his symptoms to solve a mystery and create a new life.

SasquatchWandering through a hole in time, they encounter Sasquatch. Can they survive? The guests had come to Meditation Mountain to find themselves. Trapped in the Menhirs during a sudden desert storm, two guests move through a porthole in time and encounter long extinct monsters. They want to get back to their own time, but the Sasquatch intends to kill them.

For these and my upcoming books; please visit my Author Page – David Joel Miller

Books are now available on Amazon, Kobo, iBooks, Barnes & Noble, Google Play, and many other online stores.

Want the latest blog posts as they publish? Subscribe to this blog.

Want the latest on news from recoveryland, the field of counseling, my writing projects, speaking and teaching? Please sign up for my newsletter at – Newsletter. I promise not to share your email or to send you spam, and you can unsubscribe at any time.

For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse, and Co-occurring disorders see my Facebook author’s page, davidjoelmillerwriter. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com.

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6 Ways Fear of Failure prevents success

By David Joel Miller.

Fear of Failure wears disguises.

Some fear of failure may be protective; it gets us to do things we need to do and to avoid other dangerous things. But excessive fear of failure likes to wear disguises, that way it doesn’t get blamed for all the ways it prevents our successes.

1. Fear of failure is a primary cause of procrastination.

Success and Failure

Thoughts for success.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

The longer you put off doing anything the more last-minute it is, the less responsibility you need to take for the results.

You can avoid some fear and anxiety by not doing the paper, project or work-related task. Then when you do it last-minute you can say that this is not your best work. The procrastination has given you an out for why this project is not done well.

The result – you are not a failure when your task fails.

2. Fear of failure makes us missing in action.

Lots of people are so afraid that they will not do something perfectly that they do nothing. Similar to procrastination this method keeps us from feeling that it is our fault when we do not succeed. We didn’t do anything so there was nothing to fail at.

This is a large cause of writer’s block. If you are afraid that what you write today will not be any good, that is a good reason to not write anything today. Let’s face it, not all posts turn out to be great ones. Some don’t even make it to the so-so category.

String a row of days of non-writing together and you become a non-writer. No more negative comments or reviews.

3. We do the minimum to get by to avoid the fear of failure.

Fear of failure can also prevent us from sticking our necks out. If you do too much you get noticed. Do only the easy things, never aim too high and you can avoid a lot of failure in life.

Never volunteer an idea and you won’t get stuck doing the work. You won’t get the credit if it goes well but you also will not get the blame when it fails. It is a lot easier and safer to criticize others for why things went wrong than to risk yourself on trying to make things better.

Do the minimum and you also avoid any possibility of success.

4. We begin to look lazy and apathetic to avoid the fear of failure.

A similar strategy to doing the minimum is to pretend you do not care. If you do not care if you are inherently lazy and unconcerned, then how can anyone fault you for doing poorly at things you never cared about doing in the first place?

We expect nothing from lazy people and they customarily live down to our expectations. Stay lazy my friends and avoid any risk of failure or success.

5. We avoid any situation where others might judge us.

Don’t go for a job interview and you avoid being turned down. Drop out of school and you do not have to take tests. Avoid being around others and they will never judge you.

This strategy will help you avoid failure. It will also keep you unemployed, under-educated and living off the system, in poverty, for the rest of your life. You will have avoided being judged but at what price?

6. We become perfectionists and set impossible goals to avert failure.

This may well be the sneakiest way of all to avoid failure. Set impossibly high goals. Always do too much work constantly and then when one of your many tasks does not turn out up to the standard you have a ready-made excuse. Who could blame you for failing at a few things what with all the things you have to do?

More tomorrow on those perfectionists and how they avoid both success and failure.

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

Two David Joel Miller Books are available now!

Bumps on the Road of Life. Whether you struggle with anxiety, depression, low motivation, or addiction, you can recover. Bumps on the Road of Life is the story of how people get off track and how to get your life out of the ditch.

Casino Robbery is a novel about a man with PTSD who must cope with his symptoms to solve a mystery and create a new life.

For these and my upcoming books; please visit my Amazon Author Page – David Joel Miller

Want the latest blog posts as they publish? Subscribe to this blog.

Want the latest on news from recoveryland, the field of counseling, my writing projects, speaking and teaching? Please sign up for my newsletter at – Newsletter. I promise not to share your email or to send you spam, and you can unsubscribe at any time.

For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse, and Co-occurring disorders see my Facebook author’s page, davidjoelmillerwriter. A list of books I have read and can recommend is over at Recommended Books. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com.