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Ladies and gentlemen, I have an imaginary friend. Those of you who regularly read my Insecure Writer’s Support Group posts have already met her. She’s my muse. Here’s her picture:
And here’s her picture sitting in my writing zone, next to my coffee mug full of pens. I always have a picture of my muse with me when I’m writing.
But not all writers believe in muses. In fact, not all writers even approve of the belief in muses. I was recently listening to a writing podcast where the host went off on a tirade against the very concept of muses.
You can’t sit around waiting for your muse, this podcast host said. You’ll never get any writing done that way. Writing is work. You have to do it every day, whether you feel inspired or not!
Of course my muse and I have heard all this before. Perhaps you have too. But I think all this anti-muse stuff is based on a fundamental misunderstanding about how muses do their jobs. You see, my muse and I have something like a contractual relationship.
I do have to do my writing every day. That’s the promise I made to my muse, and in exchange she has promised to keep bringing me the shiniest of shiny new ideas. If I don’t fulfill my side of the bargain, why should my muse fulfill hers?
So writers, you can’t sit around being lazy and expect your muse to do all the work for you. Show some initiative. Go write. It might feel like a struggle, but the muse will reward you in the end.
P.S.: And muses, remember you have an obligation to your writer too. If your writer is making a real effort, do not be stingy with the good ideas!