My writer’s muse is the epitome of “doing the most.” Stilettos are her shoes of choice and fuchsia is her favorite color. She never fails to be blinged up from head to toe and her feather boa is no stranger to several of her outfits. Her sunglasses are winged at their top corners, sprinkled with rhinestones to match her diamond-encrusted bracelet. She walks with a confident strut and I am sure that heads turn whenever she crosses the street. This is only speculation though. I have never witnessed her in public.
If it is not clear enough, my muse is a diva. Her motto is “rhinestones on everything” and I respectfully disagree. We could not be anymore different personality-wise. But my goodness is she a genius.
She is the reason a lot of my posts exist. And when my writer’s muse invites herself over, she makes herself comfortable without my permission and we become an invincible writing duo. With pen in hand or keyboard keys beneath my fingers, I cannot help but write as she whispers intriguing ideas in my ear. The longer she stays, the faster the writing session zips by. And I feel confident. I feel like a writing master.
And then my writer’s muse leaves right in the middle of our writing session.
I could be halfway done and she leaves. I could be a quarter of the way done and she leaves. I could have written half a line let alone one sentence and poof! She vanishes. And I sit there, powerless and lacking the inspiration to keep going with this writing task. Whatever business my writer’s muse has to attend to is obviously more important than finishing what she started. And more often than not, her assistance does not start at the beginning of my writing pieces. Instead, she decides to help me from the middle. Or even the end. Logical sequence does not matter to her and neither does my time, apparently.
See, my writer’s muse does not care about me. 9.749 times out of 10, she is the one who determines when and how long we will spend time together. In the past, she has kept me up at night when she knew I should be sleeping. She has whispered some brilliant ideas in my ear while I would lie down, knowing that REM sleep would make an appearance in a few minutes. Because I have feared forgetting her ideas, I have groggily reached for my notebook and pen, briefly inscribing them to keep my mind at peace. But there are also moments where I have been too drained to get up and she would be kind enough to remind me in the morning. And literally just a couple weeks ago, she made me relive the fact that there are some ideas I will never remember again. Not only that, but she has interrupted conversations. She has made me zone out while I am trying to listen to someone’s presentation. She has made me pause entertaining videos and TV shows because whatever it is has to be written right this second. Like I said, she makes herself comfortable without my permission.
On the flip side, in the moments when I need her most, she fails to show up. I play ambient music, her favorite kind, and maybe even light a candle or two only to find that she has temporarily blocked me out of her life. She never gives me a warning or a kind word saying, “Hey, I’m not going to be around for the next few hours/days/weeks, but I will make sure to pick up with you when I come back!” She leaves me hanging time and time again. And not once has she ever told me sorry.
I hear a lot of writers’ muses are like this, leaving us alone when we feel like we need them the most. And we are put in a position when we must trust ourselves more than our muses.
And we are put in a position where we must trust ourselves more than our muses.
See where I am going with this?
Our muses are a gift to us writers, no doubt. Even with their erratic behavior, we have come to appreciate and love them for the inspiration they give us in order to produce quality work. But even with their genius, we must not forget that our muses and who we are as writers are two separate entities. And as such, we cannot always be dependent on their presence in our writing journeys to produce good work. We must dwell in that weird place, feeling uncertain about where a particular piece is going and continuing to write anyway. We must deal with that title that sounded fantastic the first time it popped into our mind and, because life happens, revisit it sometime in the future only to find that its charm is no longer present. We must stare at that title and take it another direction. Or maybe move on to a different title and work with it while the first one is in our back pocket. We must deal with our muses’ assistance only at end of our work while we are tasked with the labor of constructing a beginning portion that makes sense. We have to experience the difficult undertaking of taking the fragments of our written work and piecing it together in a way that we did not expect without compromising the fact that it makes sense. Whatever the case may be, after we trudge through and find ourselves on the other side of our written piece’s fruition, we are totally allowed to exhale. By becoming less dependent on our muses, we truly realize how we can make beauty out of the mess that writing can be.
I would never trade my muse for anything and I am thankful that she is in my life. But, more and more, I see the benefits of her abrupt departures and even her complete absences during my writing sessions. It is harder, yes. In those moments where she is doing nothing for me, she is definitely making the writing process more challenging for me. But I am better for it. It seems like by doing nothing, she was strengthening me as a writer.