Befriend your Muse

“The muse whispers to you when she chooses, and you can’t tell her to come back later, because you quickly learn in this business that she might not come back at all.

– Terry Brooks

Funny how this is so true! Been there, done that, and still a salve to it, the muse. I mean, how often have you had Her visit you at the least opportune moments? Has she come to you while you are in mid conversation with another person, making you half listen to the speech at hand while quickly trying to catalogue the idea rudely thrown your way? Or how many times has the visit been when you’ve simply got no means of jotting it down anywhere, and when you sit down later to do so that you find the magic is gone and you’re left thinking “What was that?”Or you’ve just crawled into bed well past midnight and she knocks you right awake? Or there are moments of boredom when her visits are most exhilaratingly welcomed?

Have I had these happen? Definitely. All in fact. The worst is when I get an idea and I have no paper, or my hands are tied in some daily routine like cooking, and I think “I’ll just try and remember it later”, but that later never comes – she will chuck a tantrum for having been ignored and will take it out on me for hours, or weeks on end. Cruel!

My way of forcing her to come back to me with the idea is that, like a stubborn child I’ll sit down and write as close a jibberish to what I think the idea had been. Of course, I’ll get it wrong or miss something important quite often, then she meanders by, all huffy and goes “That’s not how it goes, silly. Here, move over, let me tell you again.”

Of course by this time she is not in an indulgent mood and leaves out some crucial details you are later left to discover all on your own.

Yes, I force her to come back again, but these visits aren’t as intense in idea as the first musing, and she usually doesn’t stay long. I write one word, or a phrase as a bait and she mostly gives me credit for trying and comes back. How else do you think I’ve been able to get at least one or two poems out every day for quite some days now? I tell you what, you’ll obviously have some good days and some bad. So the point is, your muse won’t come back willingly, but nothing in life is really that easy. Sometimes we have to show we mean it and are willing to work for it.

So go on, and try and write at least one word everyday, or a phrase. I won’t promise the result will be good, but you might get some great days in between. It doesn’t matter how much you write. The mark of a writer is that he/she writes every day, even if it is just one word purely for the joy of it.

Go befriend your muse!

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