Friday, September 28, 2012

Tracking Down the Elusive Muse

Inspiration is one of the greatest con's of creativity, especially for writers.

What's the number one question writers are asked at a reading- "Where do you get your ideas?" The idea being that one of the elusive goddesses appears out of the mist of creativity endowing a fortunate few with an elixir that keeps them prolific masters.

New writers often get caught up attempting to lure the Muse and it's no wonder when you read interviews with writers who treat writing as though it is a religion only entered into by those with  faith. For these writers words are supplied by the Muse and they are nothing but passive vessels. These are the writers who chant, burn incense, pray, meditate and treat writing as an ineffable act/

All of these rituals might work for the privileged few but for the rest of us the Muse is found in rolling up our proverbial sleeves and getting to work.

My Muse doesn't care that today I was writing on the damp chilly porch while the rain fell and I was buried under my daughter's electric blanket. My Muse doesn't care that I don't have a dedicated writing space anymore. I write wherever the mood and time hits me. If that means I'm typing out a paragraph or two during half-time at a soccer game then that's where she'll find me. The only thing my Muse cares about is whether I'm writing or not.

We've a simple relationship. If I don't write, she doesn't particularly give a damn about me. If I'm writing then she's there like my dedicated corner team in a boxing match or pit crew at the Indy 500.

The relationship between the idea and creativity only occurs from action. Not just any kind of action but consistent daily grinding away until art is created. It won't happen if you're plan is to wait for some fickle god of inspiration to sprinkle fairy dust on you to get you going. It won't happen tomorrow or even the day after tomorrow. It only happens in the now.

So I write, my Muse shows up. Tonight she's brought a glass of Pinot Grigio with her and has turned on the soccer game for me knowing the words flow with a good game in the background. If I'm lucky she'll send me off to sleep dreaming about the story and wake me up first thing in the morning with the first sentence of the day. But this can only happen if I keep my part of the bargain- keep writing.

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