Stop Chasing The Muse
Yesterday I was reading an article about writing and the subject of the muse came up.
1 capitalised : any of the nine sister goddesses in Greek mythology presiding over song and poetry and the arts and sciences
2: a source of inspiration; especially : a guiding genius
I have a muse, actually I have several. At least, I think that’s the case. Perhaps it’s just one entity and it just wears different hats.
I don’t call it that, though.
I’m not sure I believe in the muse itself.
And there are so many excuses not to write.
Lots of artist complain that they have lost their muse, or that it doesn’t want to come out and play. If you believe it, then it will come true.
If you rely on an outside force, then you are undermining your own inner abilities.
I believe, and trust, that everything is inside me. The battle is always a private one, no one person or thing is to blame except myself if I don’t be creative.
For a long time I only wrote lyrics.
Often, the idea for a song would come from a story someone told me. Then I would crawl inside their skin and try and imagine what it really must have been like for them.
Other times, it would be something which was more personal, an event which moved me.
That was harder because it was more like baring the soul.
On other occasions, I would read or hear a phrase, sometimes even a single word, and that would be the spark which drove the lyric.
When writing lyrics, I would have to be quick and write it down immediately.
If I wrote down an idea and came back to it later then it would be gone. I would have lost what I intended to say.
The whole thing was time dependent.
I suppose in those moments, you could say I was actually trying to catch and hold the muse. In truth, it was more a case of following the idea to its ultimate conclusion in the moment that it came.
That is not particularly strange.
When it comes to writing a book this approach doesn’t work.
You are no longer leveraging a single moment for inspiration. You need lots of moments and they all need to connect. If you wait for ideas to drop out of thin air you will never get there.
Of course, there is always a core idea or theme.
Most stories aren’t constructed around loose unconnected events. There needs to be a flow, a beginning, a middle and an end.
In order to facilitate this you need to dig deep. And believe me, the story is down there somewhere, you just need to be good with a shovel.
Unfortunately, sometimes you may require an excavator.
Often it’s a case of writing your way out of it.
Surprising things happen when you put in the effort.
Sometimes they result in entire books containing thousands of words.
In my experience, it all boils down to trust.
Trust that everything you need to create is within yourself.
You can still believe in outside forces, but be aware you are the one controlling them. It’s up to you to feed them.
The forces are one and the same.
They are you.
You are the muse.
Are you struggling to control your creativity?
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