Let’s Talk with Nancy J Cohen


Rediscovering Your Muse
By Nancy J Cohen

pubpinkRecently I’ve begun sorting my recipe clippings into categories. This will make things easier when I want to find a meal to make. For example, instead of hunting through my pile of papers for a poultry main dish, I can pick the envelope labeled “Chicken” and search through those directly. Right now, my recipes are scattered among two binders, a recipe box, and a folding file. No, I’m not ready to dump them all in the trash and use Pinterest like my daughter. I am old-school, preferring recipes from my cookbook collection or from the myriad of clippings I’ve gleaned from cooking magazines.

Along the way, I’m discarding recipes I’ll never make, finding some favorites I’d forgotten, and rediscovering some of my mother’s recipes. It’s like uncovering hidden treasure to find these gems. And it made me think about my writing. Hidden away in my files are early poems and stories, plot ideas, and research notes.

Is it possible to rekindle the muse by pouring through this old material? Could I get excited about an article I’d filed that might provide fodder for a book? Could an earlier short story prompt an idea for a novel? As authors, we have these treasures buried among our volumes of notes and files. Maybe we should make time to look through them. We could discard the detritus that should never see the light of day or that no longer inspires us. But we might also find a jewel that sparks a new idea and reignites our enthusiasm. This is especially important if you’re approaching burn-out from too many years of riding the promotional train and steady productivity. It might be time to step back, review what came before, and become reinspired. We began writing stories because we’re dreamers. Can we restart the process as a seasoned author?

So let’s all take a day off and look through our dusty manuscripts, notes and clippings. If you wish, sort through old photographs, recipes and diaries. Get rid of those items that serve no current value. Set aside the ones that make you lift your eyebrows in surprise and joy. Think about the “what if” possibilities with your discoveries. Seek to rekindle the inner storyteller and to regain meaning in your work.

Is there a particular collection of items calling for your attention?

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