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:~: Monday, October 16, 2006 :~:

That Wild and Crazy Girl

When I first started writing, I was green. Very green. I'd hear other writers in person and online chatting about their muse, and I'd think, what the heck are they talking about? What was a muse? Did I have one? If so, why didn't I know about her? Where had she gone? What was she doing? Eating cheetos in the basement with three hunky guys? Wow. That sounded like someplace I wanted to be. Forget getting myself a muse...how the heck did I just become her?

Now, before you go thinking I'm a complete idiot (which sometimes even I admit to being), I'll have you know I'm a big Greek Mythology buff. So yeah, I knew - even back in my neon green days - that the word muse most likely referred to the nine daughters of Zeus and Mnemosyne who presided over various arts: Calliope (epic poetry), Clio (history), Erato (lyric poetry), Euterpe (music), Melpomene (tragedy), Polyhymnia (religious music), Terpsichore (dance), Thalia (comedy), and Urania (astronomy). But the concept of giving a name (ie, Muse) to the inner part of me that writes and creates characters and plots and other worlds was new to me. I always figured I was the writer, hence, I wrote.

However, the more engrossed in the writing world I became, the more enticing it was to blame my writing woes on this mysterious creature whom - according to other writers - could come and go as she pleased without warning or explanation. Not able to write a single page for weeks at a time? It must be The Muse's fault. You're definitely not doing anything wrong. Writing fifty pages in two days and unable to stop even when the baby's screaming for his bottle and dinner's burning on the stove? Oh, it's not you...it's your Muse. She's really going.


There are mysteries in this world that cannot be explained. And I will never understand how the human mind works. I do know there are days when I can't bleed out a single sentence, others where writing five pages is as painful as pulling my fingernails out one by one. And then there are days - like this past weekend - where I write like a wild and crazy girl. Fifteen pages one day. Ten the next. Is it the mysterious Muse finally gracing me with her presence? Or is it simply me, at last cooking and excited about a certain scene or chapter? I don't know. And frankly, I don't care.

Good days and bad days will always follow me in this business. I could blame a lot of my non-productive days on the Muse and call it good, or I could take responsibility for them, reevaluate what I do the next day, and put my butt in the chair and write. One is passive, one is active, but only one will get me where I want to go. The one thing I have control over - the only thing I'm ever sure of in this business - is the writing. The more I write, the more I will write - with or without a muse.

So tell me...who's to blame when you just can't write, you or your muse? And how the heck do you get (her) back to work?


Blogger Lisa Pulliam said...

I'm to blame! I don't believe in a muse either. It allows me to procrastinate by putting blame elsewhere and I can't let myself do that anymore. As far as how do I get back to work? That's easy! Look in a mirror, you slave driver you :-) I love it when you talk Greek mythology.

4:29 PM  
Blogger Theresa said...


That's so funny that anyone would blame a mythical entity when the writing hits a snag. I don't blame my muse (as though I have one) when the writing grinds to a standstill. I blame exactly who deserves to be blamed.

My friends, or my co-workers, or my work, or my family, or the dog, or cat. And if none of these are the problem then obviously its my dirty house, dirty car, or the dirty T.V--which needs to be dusted while its on (so I can watch it).

Or the internet-- oh yeah, the internet. That's almost always to blame.. .

Jeez-- there are hundreds of real things to blame. Who needs to blame it on a non-existent mythical muse!!!

The One person who is never to blame (of course) is ME.


couldn't possibly be me.

8:17 PM  
Blogger Elisabeth Naughton said...

Me? A slave driver? Gah!

(Okay, maybe a little.)

I knew you'd like the Greek mythology reference there, Lisa. ;)

10:38 AM  
Blogger Elisabeth Naughton said...

ROFL, Theresa. I like your blame list.

10:40 AM  
Blogger wavybrains said...

Definetely me! I'm way to good at internal guilt to blame some external source. BUT, I do think that if the "muse" desserts a writer for long period of time, she should be willing to look at possible external reasons: job situations, health, relationships, enviroment. Blaming a "muse" is easier than sussing out the true causes of writing lags. Having recently been through this myself, I wished I could just snap my fingers and start writing again. Writing is like dieting though---sometimes it really isn't about willpower, but working through each roadblock internal or external to success is way more satisfying than simply waiting for the muse to reappear.

10:57 AM  

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