Saturday, March 26, 2011

Where DID That Muse Go?

~~The short answer it nowhere. ; )

~~The long answer is a bit more complicated and challenging. When I sit down to write and string a few words together then get up in disgust, I've stopped myself. My muse, that spark of creativity, hasn't gone anywhere. I've just ceased listening to her nagging, whining, annoying self. I'll confess to a very low productivity in February and March. I've got a thousand excuses for it, too. But the muse hasn't left me. When I least expect it, I hear this question from deep inside--What are you doing? The point of creativity is simply to do it. Tell the story. Sing the song. Start something. We have to stop denying what we are supposed to be doing. It may sound totally simplistic, but for me it's profound.

~~The idea of a muse for creativity is a long standing one. Artists and writers have characterized the force behind their creativity as their Muse referring to the nine daughters of Zeus and Mnemosyne (Memory) from mythology. Each of the sisters guided a separate facet of art, music, writing, dance. According to Steven Pressfield's book, The War of Art, that drive or muse is built into everyone. Whether or not we open ourselves to expressing it is our choice. To deny it is Resistance to use Pressfield's term. Resistance can take many forms--denial that we can create anything, excuses for why we can't do it today or next year, or being more concerned about what others think than expressing what is inside. Whatever makes us afraid to go on is a block or Resistance. My biggest fear is that I'm not able to do it right, so why try? We need to just do it. Maybe Nike ads have a bigger point than just getting us to buy shoes.

~~So what's stopping you from putting pen to paper or fingers to keyboard? What's you favorite excuse?


  1. My favourite excuse? Oh my, I have a thousand different excuses! No time, work, catching up on friends, blogging, reading, knitting, family, sleep - a million other things, in short, except putting ye olde butt in ye olde chair.
    We shall see - the plan is to go to bed soon, tonight, get up, and go to the coffee shop a la Jo. And edit for the entire day...

  2. Time is a biggie, though as a retired person (ugh) I have time if I use it and don't make excuses about how I feel, etc. It's really very simple--do you want to write? So I'm trying to answer that question with a yes more often than not.

  3. My only excuse for not writing is to be too afraid to do so, for whatever reason. When I don't write I play until I do :)

  4. Blogging and internet takes too much time! But I enjoy doing both!

  5. Sylvia,
    I know that fear all too well! The Pressfield book was an eye opener for me.

    You, too? I find those two eating so much time! But everyone's blogs have the neatest posts and I have to see what's up. I'll just have to move that to after I write. I've told myself that for a while...Hasn't worked yet. ; )

  6. I enjoyed your previous post too Zan. What stops me from writing? Mainly blogging. I swing between my blogs and my mss all the time. Guess that's why they say to turn off the Internet for NaNoWrMo.


  7. What stops me from writing? Emotional stress. You are right though, we think we are broken, but deep inside the voice still speaks.

  8. L'Aussie,
    Yes the internet is the great temptation. But without it I wouldn't have found your blog and all the fests and the crusade and all the new writing buddies I have now. ; )

    Emotional stress is a big sponge of time for me, too. I can find more ways to dither and whine about what's going on when I could escape with my characters for a while. Hmm, Maybe a plan is taking shape here...I'll have to think about that. ; )

  9. My favorite excuse is that I have do work for clients. Since I'm a writer, that involves writing, too, and its very easy to convince myself that's enough. When its not. Because when I do, the novel goes unwritten and I get frustrated and cranky.

  10. Charlotte, you have the best excuse ever! I do understand. When I was writing A Christmas Walk, I spent precious little time with the novel. I'm not one of those writers who can do multiple projects actively. Sometimes a stray scene or snip of another wip will come up and I'll jot it down, but I need one focus at a time. Good luck!

  11. Inertia. My forward momentum ground to a halt and it's been a huge challenge to get the writing train going again. I can hear the wheels squeaking and any day now, I might see some movement. {bg}

  12. My muse comes and goes in spurts and sometimes hangs around long enough that I need to sedate her. I know what you mean about the voice going quiet and not getting much done. I let that happen to me before and it is hard to open yourself back up to the muse and let the words pour out.


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