(Issue #615) Have You Run Out Of Songs?

Like my hunt for an agent, if I stop listening and creating,
I doubt the muse will start typing the next manuscript for me.


Ever feel like your creativity well has gone dry? It could be creativity for dinner menus at home. Or TV shows to watch after dinner. Or planning impactful community programs. Or your workout regimen.

I run into it from time to time with my writing. When I’m on, the words and images flow. At other times, crickets.

Case in point.  For more than a year, I have been shopping the manuscript for my first novel. Sent out more than sixty queries to agents across the nation. To date, I am 0 for 60+. Not a nibble. In fact, other than one response, the others have been either passive rejections (that is, their websites say something like, “If you don’t hear from us in 6-12 weeks consider that we have passed on your submission.”) or they have been robotic email rejections.

Photo by Steve Piscitelli

While I have expected that kind of response/lack of response, the constant flow of rejection has had an adverse impact on my creativity. I still get my blog post out every week, yet, at times, I struggle with larger projects. Has the muse left me? Or have I left the muse?

I wonder how the prolific writers do it. Luck, talent, discipline, a combination of all?

Last week, I re-visited Lodi. Not the actual California town but, rather, the lyrics by John Fogarty and Creedence Clearwater Revival. Specifically, the third verse.

The man from the magazine said I was on my way.
Somewhere I lost connections, ran out of songs to play.
I came into town, a one-night stand. Looks like my plans fell through.

Oh Lord. Stuck in Lodi again.

Have I run out of songs to play? Has my creativity dried up? Should I just close the laptop and move on to some other venture? No muse, no words, no product.

While that might be the easy thing to do for some, quitting on my creativity does not work for me. Perhaps the challenge resides with the discipline required to create, write, and produce. In a quote attributed to Chilean author Isabel Allende, I was reminded that if I stop showing up, the muse might never show itself.

“Show up, show up, show up, and after a while the muse shows up, too.”

In his book On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft, Stephen King said something similar,

“Don’t wait for the muse. As I’ve said, he’s a hardheaded guy who’s not susceptible to a lot of creative fluttering. This isn’t the Ouija board or the spirit-world we’re talking about here, but just another job like laying pipe or driving long-haul trucks. Your job is to make sure the muse knows where you’re going to be every day from nine ’til noon. Or seven ’til three. If he does know, I assure you that sooner or later he’ll start showing up.”

Like my hunt for an agent, if I stop listening and creating, I doubt the muse will start typing the next manuscript for me.

Photo by Steve Piscitelli

If we face the blank page, we could draw the conclusion that we lack the skill or passion for what we are doing. We could wait for a miracle to intervene. We, also, could be more proactive and seek out mentors to guide us. Perhaps, as needed, take a well-deserved break, and regroup our cognitive, emotional, and writing skills. And we can keep showing up.

One thing I have found for certain, if I stop showing up—if I am not ready to listen to the muse and dedicate effort—I will lose connection and run out songs to play. To have songs to play—my songs, my creativity—I must do the work of writing.

I. Must. Do. The. Work.


Video recommendation for the week.

Creedence Clearwater Revival sings Lodi.


Make it a wonderful week and HTRB has needed.

You will find my latest book, Roxie Looks for Purpose Beyond the Biscuit, in
eBook ($2.99) and paperback ($9.99) format. Click 

My dog Roxie gets top billing on the author page for this work. Without her, there would be no story. Please, check out her blog.

And you can still order:

  • Community as a Safe Place to Land (2019print and e-book). Available on Amazon. More information (including seven free podcast episodes that spotlight the seven core values highlighted in the book) at the above link.
  • Stories about Teaching: No Need to be an Island (2017, print and e-book)Available on Amazon. One college’s new faculty onboarding program uses the scenarios in this book. Contact me if you and your team are interested in doing the same. The accompanying videos (see the link above) would serve to stimulate community-building conversations at the beginning of a meeting.

You can find my podcasts (all fifty episodes) here.

You will find more about me at www.stevepiscitelli.com.

©2022. Steve Piscitelli
The Growth and Resilience Network®
Atlantic Beach, Florida

About stevepiscitelli

Community Advocate-Author-Pet Therapy Team Member
This entry was posted in perseverance, resilience and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to (Issue #615) Have You Run Out Of Songs?

  1. marianbeaman says:

    You say, “When I’m on, the words and images flow. At other times, crickets.”
    I, too, understand crickets. But, like you, I persevere. As a wise man once said, HTRB!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: (Issue #627) Beginning-Ending-Beginning | The Growth and Resilience Network®

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