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This installment of my ingenious blog series deals less with the question of how to make writing time and more with the issue of how to make the most of the writing time you have.

If you’re anything like the rest of us, a.k.a. human, you’ll sometimes have trouble getting into the writing mode. Unfortunately, our respective muses are not always as available as we’d like them to be. They taunt, chuckle and call us names—slacker, poser, no-talent *#!-clown—that is, if they bother to show up at all.

According to creative mastermind Stephen King as expressed in his delicious memoir On Writing, “There is a muse, but he’s not going to come fluttering down into your writing room and scatter creative fairy-dust all over your typewriter or computer station. He lives in the ground. He’s a basement guy. You have to descend to his level, and once you get down there you have to furnish an apartment for him to live in.”

Well, that’s swell, Stephen. That’s just great, Justine. (See how I can align myself with Stephen King simply by mentioning our names in close proximity? Ah, the power of words! Kind of makes me want to give language a big old hug.) But how do I “descend to [my muse’s] level”? How do I “furnish an apartment for him to live in”?

Answer: The Reading Method. The Reading Method is so simple and so perfect, you’ll wonder why you hadn’t thought of it before. Ready? Here it is.

Every time you read, write immediately afterward. Seriously. That’s the whole kit-and-kaboodle.

Reading is like a homing device for muses. It tells them that your imagination is primed and creative juices flowing; that you’re absorbing invaluable craft lessons and priceless inspiration from your predecessors and contemporaries; that you’re on the verge of some fabulous idea which needs only a push in the right direction to become realized. Basically, it tells them that you mean business.

You’re reading already, right? Right?! So post-reading, write. Mid-reading, scribble. You might even read for a portion of your writing block. Read, read, read. Then write, write, write. I can’t say it enough. ‘Cause why not borrow some mojo from the masters? Believe me, they won’t mind and your muse will keep on coming back for more.

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