- Books, Literature, and Writing
Listen to Your Writer's Muse
First, a Definition
“The muse is not an angelic voice that sits on your shoulder and sings sweetly. The muse is the most annoying whine. The muse isn't hard to find, just hard to like - she follows you everywhere, tapping you on the shoulder, demanding that you stop doing whatever else you might be doing and pay attention to her.”
In Greek mythology, muses were the goddesses of the inspiration of literature, science and the arts. If you are a writer, painter, musician, or some other practitioner of the arts, you understand the beauty and wonder associated with having your muse sit on your shoulder and whisper encouragement into your ear.
You also, most likely, understand Coben’s quote at the beginning of this section.
I have had days when I couldn’t find my muse with a GPS unit and a seeing-eye dog. There are other days, however, when I can’t stop that annoying wench from driving me crazy with her incessant chatter.
What I want to discuss today is the inspirational aspect of the muse, and not just random ideas for articles.
What’s Wrong with Article Ideas?
If you are an article writer, then your living is made from writing articles. Whether you are a writer of recipes, travel articles or DIY articles, you need ideas, or the money will dry up and some other enterprising writer out there will earn an income while you pull your hair out from frustration. Writer’s block is a killer of article writers, so I wish all of you freelancers a bounty of ideas from this day forward.
The concept of a writer’s muse, however, originated long before the concept of writing articles for passive income on HubPages or Bubblews, and that is what I’d like to explore today.
Finally Listening to My Muse
I have tried. Truly, I gave it the good old college try. I originally had visions of writing articles for online sites and magazines, and thereby making a decent income. And I wrote those articles….I’m guessing I have written over two thousand general interest articles, from tips on frugal living, to how to stage your home for a quick sale….but my heart wasn’t in it. I had no problem with finding ideas. My head figuratively swims with ideas daily, so writer’s block has never been a problem. No, the problem was that my writer’s soul was undernourished while writing those articles. I found that the more I wrote about pallet furniture, the more my love of writing disappeared.
I have several customers who pay me decent money to write for their business blogs. I have written hundreds of articles about DIY car repair, and although it certainly helps pay the bills, it also serves as Valium for my psyche. It is mind-numbing, and it is light years removed from satisfying.
So I must listen to my inspirational muse.
What Is She Saying?
Can you hear her? I’ll bet you can if you listen closely enough.
Mine is telling me to write novels. I can feel her breath upon my neck, the gentle whisper of encouragement, a lover’s brush of lips to skin as she tempts me, cajoles me, and urges me on. She says things like “you aren’t getting any younger, my dear,” and “it’s now or never, lover.” She fills my head with creative ideas, holy-shit ideas, and lays with me at night in the dark, caressing me, holding me gently, and promising me eternal happiness if I will only listen to her, and do her bidding.
She knows I cannot deny her. She counts on that fact when I rebel and write one more mindless 1,250-word article for the online masses. She knows I will come back to her, because to deny her desires is to deny my own.
You see, for this writer, it is all about passion. I began my affair with the muse because she could give me something no one else could give me….unbridled passion. My muse does not kiss me politely on the cheek; rather, hers is a full-lipped, mouth-open, exploration-and-explosion-of-the-senses kiss, and it is intoxicating and addictive and God help me, I want more of it.
And I can only find it in writing novels.
So write novels I must.
My muse has spoken and I must do her bidding.
And What Does Your Muse Say to You?
Well, what is she saying?
Do you even hear her?
If not, might I suggest you listen a bit more closely?
I will go to my grave believing that writers must write with passion. Passion is what makes words become reality. Passion brings to life letters, and makes them shared experiences. Without passion, a writer is just a typist, and you can quote me on that.
What kind of writer do you want to be? What floats your personal boat? What sings to you in the night, and what shouts at you in the morning? You all became writers for a reason, and most of you will tell us right here, right now, that you write because it is your passion….but….does that passion shine through in your writing?
In other words, is your writing a reflection of your self-expression? It can only be so if you listen to your true muse.
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Here Is What I Want for All of You
I want you to finish a day breathless from writing. I want your sheets to be stained by perspiration, and I want your heartbeat so loud as to be heard by your neighbors. I want you to embrace your muse, and feel her tender caress, and I want you tied down, by her, and tortured by the whip of her exhortations.
Wherever you go I want her vision in your mind’s eye, and I want her taste to be with you morning, noon, and night. I want you eager to please her, and I want you feeling empty when she does not come to call. I want you breathless with anticipation, and I want you longing for more when she quietly slips from your room.
I want you passionate about writing!
A recent study found some rather disturbing news about American teenagers.
In 2013, a full twenty-seven percent of 17-year olds read once or twice a year for pleasure. Once or twice a year!
I would submit to you that it is our job, as writers, to reverse that trend. Of course parents share in the responsibility, as do teens themselves, but if our writing does not exhibit our passion for writing, how can we expect our readers to be enthused about it?
Stop what you are doing right now. Pick up your cell phone and dial 1-800-LUVMUSE and see if she will answer. If she does, beg her to come over. Tell her you need her. Promise her anything if she will only once again sit on your shoulder and whisper the words you so desperately need to hear.
Do it now before she finds another lover.
2014 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)
“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”