by: Samuel Connelly

The Writer's Life:

Sam's QUESTION of the Week

Nov. 21, 2015

When We Have To Fight: Freeing The NOW To Save TOMORROW. 

It happens. Actually it happens to some artists more often than not: Their Muse has left them and they sit looking at their black monitor or white canvas waiting for her/him/it to jump out and say, “Surprise!” But, in most cases, that’s not going to happen.

So what then? Are you done? Is there no more to be said -- time to unplug the computer, toss the pencils, pens, or paint brushes in the trash?

If that’s all it takes to cause you to call it quits, well, my friend, I think that maybe it should have happened much sooner, because you clearly never should have started in the first place. You’re not made for it. You don’t have what it takes to live the life. Go do something else; maybe something that will afford you a weekly paycheck. You’ll be happier.

However, if you’re a real writer or artists you know that you’d rather stop breathing than cease ‘being’ what you were born to be. So now that emotional creativity and you have had a falling out, from where will you draw inspiration until your Muse comes back to you or a new one introduces itself?

One of the places I love to peruse for a constant flow of creative ideas is ‘odd’ or ‘interesting’ lists. You’ll usually see them as a ‘Top 10…’ type list. YouTube is a treasure trove of these kinds of lists.  

A few of my personal favorite lists Channels from YouTube:

Danger Dolan

Dark 5

All Time 10s




Here’s a few great content sites as well.




I browse the articles or watch the YouTube videos—which are really quite entertaining—the ones that really speak to me, I email to myself and put ‘Add To Idea File’ in the subject line. Many times one or two will get my brain spinning right then and won’t let go until I’ve done something about it. For those, I grab a handy-dandy index card and on one side I write down the idea, and where I got it from. The other side I write a quick list of ideas or questions that pop in my head. Most of the time these questions are in the form of ‘What If’.

Idea Box:

I’ll write more about the importance of the ‘idea box’ later, but the important thing to mention here is that there are many times—for the best and most creative of us—when our ‘Muse’ is not speaking, but we still need to produce. The reason I look through the ‘list videos’ and ‘Top 10’ sites isn’t usually ever for a present need; it’s more of a good habit for future needs and editorial ‘calls for submissions’ concerning specific genre needs. However, many of my short stories have come from either dreams or ideas in my ‘Ideas File Box’.

Hopefully you’ve found something here that was helpful or just resonates.

- Cheers to you Writer,


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When was the first time you remember getting that feeling deep inside 'A writer, that's what I am. That's what I was born to be.'  - Can you remember the moment.  Take some time to write about it. Please feel free to share it with me. 

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