Inspiration is a fleeting thing. A passing entity, a ghost at large. Once it passes through your mind, you must reach out and grab it instantly. Otherwise, it may be lost forever.

This inspiration is often-times referred to as a Muse, a spirit that enters your creative thought process and guides your writing to its utmost success. Some people find that a Muse is easier to capture than other people; after all, some lucky writers are just natural Muse hunters. However, like myself, most are not. If you’re like me and happen to find inspiration once in a blue moon, there’s no reason to fret; below is the broken-down version of the Muse-hunting process for you to refer to as you trek farther into your writing adventure.

Step 1: The Ideal Location 

If you are planning on capturing your Muse, you must first lure it to an ideal location. Create an environment for yourself that will seem both inviting and peaceful. Areas of nature are typical places where Muses have most often been spotted; travel to a beach, get your toes in the sand; rest for an afternoon by an open lake; wake up early and gaze at a newborn sunrise. I can guarantee that, if you surround yourself with nature and its art, your Muse will most likely surround you as well.

Step 2: Communication

Muses do not like to be ignored. Once you have secured the best environment for your Muse, coax it closer to you by asking it to help you. You have to want this Muse to guide you through your next project, and, therefore, you have to convince it. Look inside yourself, through your heartbeats, through your breaths; recognize what you want, and how you want your inspiration to mold your creation. Do you want your Muse to guide you through a dense jungle of writer’s block? Are you wishing for a new map to outline your next story? Allow yourself to understand what you need, and, soon enough, your Muse will understand too.

Step 3: The Snare

Now comes the most difficult step in hunting down your Muse: you must open your mind and heart completely. Lay your emotions bare, raw, and unchanging. Invite the Muse in with genuine emotions and passion; Muses cannot resist the aura of unfettered feelings. Although this step may be painful and reopen old wounds, it is especially crucial to the process of trapping a Muse. Sacrifices must be made.

Step 4: The Capture

Once you feel the tail of that Muse slither into your mind, snap it shut. Trap it inside and don’t let it go. Run to the nearest paper and pen, keyboard and mouse. Jot down all of your ideas, your thoughts, your feelings. Don’t worry about grammatical errors, spellcheck, or logic. At this point in the process, the key to using your Muse to your advantage is speed. You need to make the most of the moments your Muse allots to you, and make them count.

Step 5: The Release

Once you feel satisfied that your Muse has given you what you’ve needed, murmur a quiet thank you and open your mind once again. Breathe a sigh of relief as you release it into the world so it can find a new writer to inspire.

Happy hunting!