Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Stroking the Muse

Someone recently asked me whether I thought "The Muse" was fact or fiction. Being a writer, other writers consistently ask what my muse is, where it comes from, how I react to it; at the same time, non-writers ask me what I think it is. Quite plainly - after years of frustration, story after story written, and time spent supporting other writers - I think The Muse is an excuse.

What are you talking about? you say.

Too often, the muse is a good thing when you produce and a bad thing when you can't. Thus, to me, it's a "Fair weather Johnson" kind of effect. It's like writer's block. The best way to get rid of either is to just write. Sit down; get your thoughts out; eventually, you will produce something. Waiting for the Muse to hit or claiming that you have writer's block is a way to say "I don't really have time for this."

Granted, even the most prolific, dedicated writer needs a break from writing, and it's OK to admit that. To use the muse as an excuse as to why you haven't written anything, though, isn't productive. When you've written something truly great, that's precisely what it is: don't give credit to some unseen entity; take pride in your hard work that's paid off. And when you can't get something out, just say so. You'll be able to produce something soon enough when you sit down and get your thoughts out of your head.

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