- Books, Literature, and Writing
Why All Writers Need A Muse
The Forgotten Muse
What stops someone from becoming a writer? Or stops a writer from actually finishing their great masterpiece? What is the heart and soul of writer's block? Well, thank you for asking...
One of the biggest causes for writers' block, or avoidance for those who haven't even started, is fear of failure. First is the fear that they will sit down, put their fingers to the keyboard, and nothing will come. It is terrifying, that moment when this flow that has been swirling around your head, motivating your dreams, inspiring your passions, when this flow is grasped and turns into mist in your fingers and everything drops quiet. I sometimes think I can hear crickets chirping in the back of my head.
Then there is the fear that you will break through this, push yourself night and day for however long it takes, and in the end, weak and trembling, you will present your work to a loved one or an editor and they will flick through a few pages, try and read most of it if they are polite, and then look at you with that sad little shake of their head. They try to search for the right words to indicate that it is crap and will never go anywhere while still trying to be uplifting and motivational.
It is some form of these two fears of failure that plague most writers. I am not immune. All through my degrees, come essay time, or the start of an exam... ping... nothing. As such, I needed a way to ensure against this when I decided to try and write 100 first drafts in 5 years. I couldn't choke. I wouldn't let these fears stop me from ever starting.
And then I realized the answer.
It was an answer that was discovered millennia ago, used throughout the ancient world until quite recently. It has only been in the last few hundred years that we have discarded this wonderful answer, limited its power and internalized all our angst.
What the creative needs more than anything else is.... someone else to blame.
Imagine that. Imagine being able to sit down and write, knowing that if what came out was bad, you and everyone else would blame it on this other thing?
That, my friend, is the true power of a Muse. It's not just some scantily clad woman who wanders around with a lyre. What use is that to me? Or even a good looking man who just lies on a couch, that's not going to get me to sit down and write. What we need, all writers, all artists, all creatives, is to feel that the burden of creativity is not within us. It is external and somehow granted to us. However, if it is withheld, we should be praised for at least turning up and doing our part. And our part is not to be sneezed at, the ability to be in tune with such beings, a vessel of creative goodness, as well as being damn good at keeping up on a keyboard, this is enough for any man. This, and no more, will I accept as my own responsibility.
So if you are looking to become a prolific, successful writer, who is not wracked by insecurity and doubt, find a muse. Find something external to yourself that you can blame for not inspiring you. Tempt them and tease them, keep them with you, and most of all sit down to write, faithful and unafraid.