Tag Archives: The Creative Mind

Where’s my muse hiding?

3 Aug

In his book On Writing Stephen King said, “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. He lives in the ground. He’s a basement kind of 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. You have to do all the grunt labor, in other words, while the muse sits and smokes cigars and admires his bowling trophies and pretends to ignore you. Do you think it’s fair? I think it’s fair. He may not be much to look at, that muse-guy, and he may not be much of a conversationalist, but he’s got inspiration. It’s right that you should do all the work and burn all the mid-night oil, because the guy with the cigar and the little wings has got a bag of magic. There’s stuff in there that can change your life. Believe me, I know.”

I’ve never been the kind of writer who relies on a muse. However, I do believe that another name for a muse is something or someone who re-lights the writing spark that you already have within you. As I just explained though, a muse doesn’t have to be a person. It can be a random object, something someone says to you in passing, or a memory that triggers your need to get the words out. If I told you that I’ve spent the last few months “stuck” in terms of my writing, I’d be lying. Not because secretly I have been cranking out pages of my memoir every night (I wish!), but because I still seem to be able to sit down and write these blog posts. That counts, right? …I definitely think so. Someone very dear to me gave me the best writing advice I’ve ever gotten: “Write every day.” It seems simple, and sometimes it is. However, at other times, it can be really hard. Either way, I’ve come to realize that writing something (anything) every day (even if it’s not part of my memoir or another writing project) is necessary. Without it, my mind feels clogged, hazy, and let’s face it, I’d probably be pretty cranky or just plain bummed. I think another piece to the puzzle though is the simple realization that writing is a creative action. It’s a way to get your creative juices flowing. A few days ago, I opened a Word Document and wrote, “I have nothing to say” at the very top, only to end up writing a paragraph about how those who say they have nothing to say are often the people who have the ability to impact people with their words. Funny how that works, huh?

Therefore, in terms of my muse, maybe it’s hiding….or maybe it’s staring me right in the face. Either way, it’s not a necessity. It’s merely a writing “aide.” The only necessity seems to be the fact that not writing every day isn’t even an option anymore. Despite the fact that I have a life outside my own writing and this blog, whether it’s one paragraph or seven, I’ve got to write something every day, muse or no muse.

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