A Fickle Playmate: My Muse

Writing, for me, has often been as natural as breathing and eating (and other unmentionable bodily activities). I have been known to sit at my computer and produce poetry and short fiction in under an hour sometimes, if I’m gripped by an idea. As a kid, I almost never experienced writer’s block–the Muse was an eager friend. Now…not so much.

My Muse is Jealous of My Real Life

These days, I have writer’s block fairly often, especially with ill health, “real life” concerns, and other obligations usurping my time and energy. There are times when I want to write, but pain blocks me from even thinking straight. Other times, I have a vague idea of where I want the story to go, but the Muse resists me because I’m tired or distracted. (Sometimes it makes me want to reach for the mental Dulcolax, LOL!) Often, when I’m stuck on a creative writing project, it almost feels like my Muse and I are engaged in tug-of-war with my outside life as the rope between us.

My Muse Hates Sad Events/Endings

I also generally have difficulty writing if the particular part of the story is disturbing or sad. I may be weird as an author, but I hate putting my characters through stressful times when there’s no “light at the end of the tunnel,” no hope for a better day at the end of it. Makes me sad to write such things, and it must make my Muse sad, too–I struggle quite a bit with writing those types of scenes. Thus, I usually try to weave in at least a little bit of hope.

But the Muse Isn’t All Bad for My Writing

You might think I have a love/hate relationship with my Muse, and sometimes it seems that way. But over the years, surprisingly, I’ve gotten one particular comment from a lot of people who have read my work–they say that while my works aren’t fairy tales and “happily ever afters” all the time, they like the bits of hope that are scattered throughout the stories. Little did they know, I put those bits in to help my sad little Muse survive the necessary downs in order to get to the ups!

Not to mention that my Muse’s random absences lead me to “strike while the iron is hot” when it does come back around. When the Muse is active, I can edit, revise, add, and delete at record speeds–almost like when I was a kid again. Hey, you gotta use it while it’s there, right? This quickened pace makes me more ruthless with my edits, which usually means a better, more polished finished project.

I can pretty much tell what my particular Muse likes–lots of humor and banter between characters, contemplative scenes of domesticity, and a bit of action and adventure sprinkled like pepper on the top. But I’m trying to stretch my writing muscles, so I’m experimenting with darker miniature dramas included in the middle of contemplation, and shadowy undertones to humorous banter. I guess it’s like hiding a pill in ice cream so a kid will take his or her medicine; I have to wrap the more difficult bits in easier-to-digest plotlines that my Muse enjoys. Either way, if my Muse cooperates, it makes me a MUCH better writer!

Do You Have a Fickle Muse?

What are your thoughts on this tongue-in-cheek post about the “Muse?” Is yours as capricious as mine? Let me know in the comments!

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