Monday, June 5, 2017

Musing on the Muse

Writers talk about their muse.  Is that a fancy term for the current inspiration, a tongue in cheek answer to where the ideas are found or a pocket of the unconscious that a writer must learn to be receptive to? 

I have recently said that my muse has led me to writing a larger work (perhaps even a novel).  That may be but it turns out the muse isn’t a powerful engine pulling at me with a tow rope.  The writing has slowed to a crawl with more than a few vacations.  I have a sneaking suspicion that counting on the muse is a new way to be lazy.  I’m disappointed.  My personal fiction of being so inspired that my writing would be easy is just that.  Fiction.  

I think I knew that.  I think I hoped I wouldn’t drift through my days because I had this big project to go to.  Instead I have found myself stargazing.

I have to forgo the sleepy habits. I have to self-monitor my progress.  I have to work at this; I cannot expect any help from the muse unless I’m writing.  Commitment is necessary.  The spark has to meet the right conditions in order to burst into flames.  It’s up to me to figure out the right conditions for my writing.  Then the sparks will fly and the writing heat will warm me. 

I will share a little list of the conditions that I have found to be right in the past.

1.      Blogging, journals and emails.  The condition of warming up to words.

2.      Making notes towards a project.  The capture of the fleeting.

3.      Clustering on the page.  Exploration without expectation.

4.      Actual writing.  Good or bad, putting the words on the page. 

I forget sometimes how exceptional it is when the words flow onto the page almost as fast as I can type.  This might even be fiction as I do forget the effort that actually went into a piece.  The words might flow onto the page but there was brain time involved.  It seems to me that my muse doles things out in tiny increments and expects me to work for them. The muse may well be the offspring of inspiration and sweat.