By: Marilyn L. Davis
Can Your Muse Find You?
“Instead of discussing with myself every morning whether I feel inspired or not, I step into my office every day at nine sharp, open the window and politely ask the muse to enter and kiss me. Sometimes she comes in; more often, she does not. But she can never claim that she hasn’t found me waiting in the right place.” ― Peter Prange
It’s Not Just the Muse that Inspires
Writers are people with thoughts that end up on scraps of paper, notebooks, or random files on their computers. Some keep a daily episodic journal. Many of us travel everywhere with laptops, other devices, or the old-fashioned pen and paper, where we jot down a couple of paragraphs, vowing to finish it later.
We’ll get inspired by a look, a conversation, the scenery – just about anything, and we jot a few words down. What usually happens is there are multiple unfinished pieces scattered in notebooks or files on our computers.
Then we have a catastrophic computer crash and lose all of those files, or an injury and our children and grandchildren read our private thoughts while looking for insurance information.
But good writers take the time to review those snippets or seemingly unimportant and inconsequential groups of words until they can create a piece from them.
It’s those mundane, insignificant words that, when combined, turn into a sentence, then a paragraph, then a short piece, then a book. That finished product is what keeps us writing. Then we put it out there for public scrutiny.
That’s what it means to be a Working Writer.
What Inspires the Working Writer?
Although we’ve got our random thoughts to inspire us, we find inspiration for our pieces, whether a letter, email, blog, or book from multiple sources like:
- Random conversations
Inspiration from Others Besides the Muse
However, there is another source of inspiration that you might not have realized. How many writers’ forums did you join on Facebook or LinkedIn?
Do you use FB for inspiration, or just posting family photos? When you take the time to read other people’s blogs, articles, comments, or responses, it can prompt a piece.
Wish I’d Said It Inspiration
Some of my favorite inspirations are from quotes by accomplished individuals. Some of the quotes are from authors about writing; others are from people who understand life, including its ups and downs.
While all of these quotes were inspirational, they might not have worked in a current post, so they languished in an orphaned file called writing quotes or inspirational quotes.
So much for the sudden inspiration. When I didn’t take the time to review the quotes, invariably, I forgot what quotes I had already copied or couldn’t remember where I’d filed just the absolutely-correct-quote.
Last week, I committed to review those orphaned files once a week. It’s been eye-opening to see how many of them worked together to reinforce and highlight a particular aspect of one of my posts.
Inspiration is Within
But there’s another inspirational aspect to those of us who write. It’s our muse. People often refer to the inspiration of “The Muse”, as an external reference for prompts in the arts.
But like anything else in life, we need to position ourselves to take advantage of help or an opportunity.
I tend to be a visual person, and when I found this description of a muse, I knew that my initial idea that the inspiration was within us was correct.
“If I ever saw my muse, she would be an old woman with a tight bun and spectacles poking me in the middle of the back and growling, “Wake up and write the book!”― Kerry Greenwood, author of the Phryne Fisher Historical Mysteries
There She Is!
Showing you an image of myself isn’t really about vanity, but then again, reflect on this: You have a great deal of yourself on the line, writing— your vanity is at stake. ― David Foster Wallace, Both Flesh and Not: Essays
If you view my avatar/photo, you will notice that I have a bun. That’s because:
- I do not do hairstyles.
- I do not understand hair as an accessory
- My hair just sits on top of my head, as evidenced by the photo.
- The glasses usually stay perched on top of my head.
- My ears are a perfect spot for the red pencil that I use for editing.
I justify this lack of attention to my hair as having all my writer’s tools easily accessible.
Committed to Waking Up and Writing with the Muse
So, although I can’t claim to have inspired Kerry Greenwood in any way, her description sounds suspiciously like me. Therefore, I’m making a faulty logic leap here, but I have decided that my inner muse will take inspiration from outside sources, but she and I will daily, “Wake up and write.”
I’ll position myself each day to move from inspired to a finished piece. There’s another self-serving reason for this. If I don’t compile those random thoughts and opinions and finish a piece, who knows what my grandchildren will think of my musings when they find my writer’s notebooks?
Two Drops of Ink: The Literary Home for Collaborative Writing
When your muse suggests you submit to Two Drops of Ink, don’t ignore it. I’ll read it.
Marilyn L. Davis is the author of Finding North: A Journey from Addict to Advocate and Memories into Memoir: The Mindsets and Mechanics Workbook available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Indie Books, and Books A Million.