The muse is a fickle creature. A few authors I know claim their muse guides their creative energy, breaking through self-imposed writer’s blocks, and delivering them safely to the land of a finished pristine manuscript. To them, I proudly give back a big fat jealous raspberry.
I don’t have that relationship with my muse. Sure I have that creative voice inside my head pushing me on, but when muses were handed out, mine must have been playing hooky on the day they covered “How to Support Your Author” in muse basic training. My designated muse believes their job is to point out all the new projects I could take up, commit to every short story request, and stoke the fires of my anxiety.
My muse is not some graceful ethereal creature. Mine takes the form of a crack-addicted, A.D.D. suffering, mean-spirited fruit bat, flitting from one new idea to the next shiny object.
Now, in fairness, the muse has led the charge into new projects, short stories, and screenplays. But, the creature doesn’t stick around to see the project through. There’s a point in the last third of a manuscript when everything has to come together–subplots resolved, characters revealed for what they are, and where did the muse run off to? He, or she, is off building a signal fire for the next new project–like a junkie looking for the next score.
Some say we get the muse we deserve. I’ve come up with a muse management strategy to make use of their strength, which seems to be chasing the big new project. I’ve decided to turn up the volume and let the muse throw all the new ideas at me–paranormal thriller, sure why not? After that is the hard part, tuning the noise out and work on those projects that I want to explore. It’s like lashing Odysseus to the mast–he could hear the siren’s call but, couldn’t act on it.
Instead of suffering from fear of missing out on the next new thing, I need to learn to be happy with the projects I’ve chosen to work on and see them through. The happiness part is the difficult one when your muse makes you doubt the work, or sprinkles the seeds self-doubt on the keyboard. Writing is hard enough without the muse working against you.
My muse and I have come to a temporary truce. Be there when I need that spark of creative direction, then it’s get behind me Satan.
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