Writer muses are believed to be guiding spirits or mystical creatures that whisper creative and inspirational new ideas to writers whilst they work.
The term “muse” originally came from Greek mythology— it was one of the nine goddesses, daughters of Zeus and Mnemosyne, who presided over the arts and sciences.
If you have a writer muse – how do you treat it?
If you are like me then you might be a little tough with your muse, sometimes scare it away, expect too much from it and perhaps blame it for everything when things don’t go right.
Any of these situations sound familiar?
- Demanding that your writer muse gives you a first draft with ‘bestseller’ stamped all over it.
- Having a hissy fit when your muse doesn’t immediately show up after you have clicked your fingers.
- When your writer muse does show up you nip on Facebook / Twitter / Instagram / Pinterest / StumbleUpon and leave them hanging around.
- You never say thanks, you just say ‘NEXT!’
- You criticise your muse at every opportunity.
Some famous authors talk about how they treat their muse:
In ‘The War of Art’, Steven Pressfield explains that before he writes he invokes his muse through prayer, to do this he recites the ‘Invocation of the Muse from Homer’s Odyssey, translation by T.E. Lawrence, Lawrence of Arabia’ and after he has written he expresses his gratitude to his muse.
Stephen King talks of tipping his hat to his muse in his book ‘On Writing’.
In this fabulous TED Talks video ‘Your Elusive Creative Genius’ Elizabeth Gilbert, author of ‘Eat, Pray, Love’ talks about creative spirits and the creative process. It is about 20 mins long so you need to set aside some time to watch it but it really is great to watch (and I have such a huge author crush on her).
My writer muse is a funny creature….sigh! If I had to sum up my muse in two words I would say a crazy and unpredictable. Obviously very different to me! I haven’t worked out what gender it is yet. It blows hot and cold when it comes to writing. Sometimes it doesn’t even bother to show up and I get frustrated. Sometimes it whispers the most amazing ideas to me that I have to stop what I am doing and race towards a notebook with a ridiculous goofy happy expression on my face.
I don’t think I appreciate my muse enough. Our relationship is fraught, passionate and frustrating. We do fall out regularly and I do wish I could understand it a bit more.
I quite like the idea of showing my muse some appreciation and being grateful for having a mystical creative spirit, who feeds my mind with wonderful ideas and stories.
Perhaps being nice to my writer muse will help reduce the stress of writing a book?
Or reduce the number of tantrums one has at their writing desk?
It might even help make those bad writing days a little easier.
Can you imagine if being nice to your creative muse meant you got more? Gasp!
So, I have started being nice to my little muse and I am trying to get the best out of them.
Here are the things I am doing:
- Being polite. When I require its assistance I am using both ‘please’ and ‘thank you’
- Agree Roles & Responsibilities. I do the hard graft whilst my writer muse occasionally sprinkles ‘literary fairy dust’ over my head. It’s important to confirm roles and responsibilities because I have been known to not do any writing as I strongly believed a magical creature would show up and do it for me.
- No Naughty Words Policy. When I am busy interacting with my mystical creative spirit I am not going to use any naughty words to describe the quality of the idea or lack of ideas it has presented to me.
- Trust it. I am going to trust it for a bit. I am not going to argue with it or make fun of it. Just go with it!
- Give it some strength. I am trying to go to bed at a sensible hour, making an effort not to eat rubbish and I am (finally) doing some regular exercise.
- Stay positive. My creative spirit has not let me down so far so when I hit a bad spell or a writing issue I just need to stay positive / not have a tantrum and ask them nicely to help me out.
- Give it your full attention. I am practicing removing all distractions (phones, internet, apps etc) before I write so that I can give my muse my full attention.
- Gratitude. I am practicing being grateful for all the work my muse does. Bless its little cotton socks!
Please share with me your thoughts on writer muses. D
o you believe in them? If so – how do you treat your muse?
Have a fabulous day all those writers and muses out there!