Hi. I'm Jenna McGuiggan.
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Letters to My Muse

Tucked in a cubby on my desk, I keep a small envelope, just big enough to hold index cards. Inside that envelope are handwritten letters to my muse.

A few years ago, I heard Elizabeth Gilbert on this Radio Lab show explaining how she talks to her muse as though it's a real, live entity. I latched on to this idea and have been writing little pleas, prayers, and thank-you notes to my muse ever since.

Whenever I hit a rough patch in a piece of writing, I write a short letter asking for help. I remember to mention with gratitude any special creative moments or favors the muse has recently bestowed upon me.

Even as I write these little letters, I feel strange and silly.

And every single time, I almost immediately find a way through my creative roadblock.

In grad school, I struggled to write a certain paper for months. When I finally wrote to my muse for help, I saw the way forward a few days later. What had been a blind, jumbled mess of half-assed ideas came together into a beautiful whole.

I wrote my most recent letter a few days ago when I had a contest deadline and  had almost no idea what I was going to write just a few hours beforehand. Not the most ideal way to enter a contest, I know, but something clicked and I eeked out an essay that I like just before the entry window closed.

Call it coincidence. Call it a personal mind game. Call it voodoo. I don't care what you call it. For me, it works. Every time. And every time, I'm amazed by it. Amazed, and so thankful.

I really should remember to do it more often.

Learn & Write: Online Classes

I share more tips for tapping into your creativity in The Writing Life: Rituals, Rhythms, & Processes. The next session of this online class runs March 15 - April 11. When you understand your unique creative process, you'll be more relaxed, more prolific, and more consistent in your writing practice. Join me for this 4-week experience of fun and experimentation to create a writing life you love.


Before The Writing Life, join me for Write into the Heart of the Story (Feb. 1-28). This class gives you a treasure trove of writing techniques and skills to improve your writing, enrich your stories, and connect with readers. Writing the stories of your life is about more than recording what happened. Join me to learn how to create meaning and connection with words.

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