Let’s face it. Not always (okay, rarely) is the muse at our beck and call. How often do we sit at the keyboard, or before a blank piece of paper or an apathetic journal, just trying to find words?
I hope we do this a lot. So often, that seemingly simple task of just showing up is half the battle.
I don’t know why that muse, that complete and exciting inspiration to write, is so elusive. I don’t know why it seems to be so shy. I don’t know why summoning the muse doesn’t work.
But here is what I do know. When that muse comes knocking, you had better drop everything and answer the door.
Her timing is terrible sometimes, isn’t it? But let me ask you: Have you ever regretted tapping into her when she’s there? Even if it means not getting dinner on the table in time, picking up your kids five minutes late from soccer practice, or missing out on your favorite weekly tv show?
Lately, my muse has been showing up in brief five-minute pockets. Maybe I’m folding laundry or taking a shower or even editing a section of my book (doing this very work of writing). All of a sudden, a bud of an idea is there in the forefront of my mind, waiting to be plucked and tended to. If I don’t snatch it up, it will disappear, back into the grainy dirt of the imagination likely never to be seen again.
When she strikes at these inopportune times, believe me, I don’t drop everything and write for the next two hours, fully developing this one particle of an idea. It would be nice to do that sometimes, but yes, reality and life get in the way. Don’t feel like you have to create a whole new world or write an entire book as soon as she shows up.
The point is to acknowledge that she’s there and, as best you can given your present circumstance, take action. Responding to the muse is all about being proactive. But being proactive doesn’t always look like a two-hour marathon writing session when other responsibilities await.
Mystery and thriller writer Kerry Greenwood said, “If I ever saw my muse she would be an old woman with a tight bun and spectacles poking me in the middle of the back and growling, ‘Wake up and write the book!’”
Oh, that muse. She is tricky.
How do you define your relationship with her?